Tag Archive | Romance

বুঝি না, বুঝতে পারি না, চাইও না/We do not understand, we are incapable of comprehending and we do not wish to either: http://www.anandabazar.com/editorial/bengalis-do-not-want-to-understand-rabindranath-never-understood-him-1.151521#

Regardless of whether Bengalis read Rabindranath Tagore’s work with attention or not, lately curiosity in Rabindranath as a person has flared up. This eagerness has recently found a new focus. This is what might be described as Tagore’s ‘love life.’ One notices a lot of discussion, writing, serialized accounts and films that deal with this. There is no point rueing this eagerness. Rabindranath never labelled himself an ascetic of any sort. But one must look into the recent phenomenon affecting Bengalis, namely their overwhelming interest in Tagore’s ‘love life.’ It is worth considering what Tagore has been reduced to in this cyclical waxing and waning.

One might describe this current uproar over Tagore’s loves as an ‘opposing reaction.’ He was the founder of the school at Santiniketan and his robed and bearded appearance as Gurudev is the image most Bengalis think of. Many adore him, almost as an otherworldly presence. They feel that it is utter sacrilege to even think about his love life. They keep their Tagore safe by judging his love poems through abstract comparisons and in the guise of philosophical discussions of the infinite. Perhaps this hysteria regarding the purity of Tagore was once so great in Bengali society that we are now seeing an opposing reaction to it. Marketability plays a big role here. The personal life of the poet is now a top billed item in the market. During his life he was not bereft of female company. Many people from near and far were keen to be in the company of the talented, good humoured and handsome poet and there were women among this devoted following. Neither was he averse to life. The life of a man who once wished to experience life in all its diversity has today become a subject of stories of mere physical attraction at the hands of contemporary purveyors of Bengali culture; this is hardly surprising seeing that today’s Bengali culture has blossomed as a opposing reaction to the past. The names of Kadambari, Ocampo and Ranu are heard again and again. Especially that of Kadambari owing to her suicide. Bengalis do not have the mental fortitude to take part in a great tragedy but on the whole they have a great inclination and interest in light melodrama. That need has been fulfilled by the relationship between Tagore and Kadambari. This is a sign of two complementary traits seen in Bengalis. Firstly, Bengalis are not aware of appropriateness and hence secondly, they have no empathy. Empathy is the ability to feel the same feelings as someone else. One must have empathy to understand and know another person and this is helped by having some idea about the person we need to understand. One has to study deeply and learn much for that. In the West a lot of work has been done on the personal lives of famous thinkers but at present Bengal lacks even the smallest part of the effort, intelligence and imagination that is at work in those ventures. Tagore had wished to make imagination a partner to empathy. This imagination is characterised by the ability to be as another or the desire to do so. One must first understand the other. If one studies Tagore’s life and reads his work with attention to detail, one can see how he attempted all through his life to especially honour the equation between men and women. Tagore never denied that physical attraction is ever present in the relationships between men and women and within the human heart. He singled out his predecessor Vidyasagar for special praise because Vidyasagar recognised that a widow’s body did not turn to stone simply because her husband passed away. Tagore was thus different from the ‘path of selfless sacrifice’ adherents of the nineteenth and twentieth century who declared that this natural desire for physical love was to be suppressed for the sake of society and country. Bankim Chandra decreed in ‘Mrinalini’ and later in ‘Anandamath’ that personal feelings of love were to be locked away so that one might serve the country. But Tagore did not sacrifice Ela and Antu’s love for the sake of the country in his novel ‘Char Adhyay’.

He believed that a woman’s self esteem played a very important role in marital relations and that this self esteem was not found only in educated women living in cities but in all self aware women, no matter what their economic background. In his story ‘Shasti’ or Punishment, it is this self respect that gives the wrongfully blamed Chandara the strength to refuse a meeting with her accuser and husband Chidam before she is hanged. It was self respect again that gave the rural woman Mrinal the courage to leave her husband’s home (Streer Potro).

Tagore did not merely wish to define and construct a new language for femininity; he created a new definition for masculinity as well. His ideal male does not occupy a woman but rather attempts to understand women through his own pliant humanity. Nikhilesh of ‘Ghawrey Bairey’ and Madhusudan of ‘Jogajog’ are noteworthy in this respect.

It is only natural that he who placed such importance on the mutually sympathetic understanding in relationships between men and women would himself become a person trusted by women in his personal life at a time when not understanding the female mind was the rule. He had relationships with various people such as Ranu, Kadambari and Ocampo. Those relationships differed in both importance and significance. Kadambari’s death made Tagore grow as a writer and the memories surrounding her death have returned again and again in many of his writings. And yet he is seen as a loving and dutiful husband to Mrinalini. Various women who were spellbound by his qualities came into his life after Mrinalini’s death. These human interactions all enriched his life. Our minds seek varied experiences. It is as though he enjoyed that variety of experience through his varied relationships. He never insulted anyone’s self respect.

The average Bengali is happy enough with their success in reducing the great to their own stature. But the act of reducing everyone to one’s own measurements without attempting to understand them is in fact a form of terrorism. If we persist in the terrorist act of pulling everyone down to our level, the stature of the Bengali people will keep lessening till we are able one day to sit on the kerb and still find our feet swinging in the air.

(Translation, mine)

শেষের সপ্তকঃ এক/Shesher Shawptok: Ek/ The Seven at the End: One



স্থির জেনেছিলেম, পেয়েছি তোমাকে,

মনেও হয়নি

তোমার দানের মূল্য যাচাই করার কথা।

তুমিও মূল্য করনি দাবি।

দিনের পর দিন গেল, রাতের পর রাত,

দিলে ডালি উজাড় ক’রে।

আড়চোখে চেয়ে

আনমনে নিলেম তা ভাণ্ডারে;

পরদিনে মনে রইল না।

নববসন্তের মাধবী

যোগ দিয়েছিল তোমার দানের সঙ্গে,

শরতের পূর্ণিমা দিয়েছিল তারে স্পর্শ।

তোমার কালো চুলের বন্যায়

আমার দুই পা ঢেকে দিয়ে বলেছিলে

“তোমাকে যা দিই

তোমার রাজকর তার চেয়ে অনেক বেশি;

আরো দেওয়া হল না

আরো যে আমার নেই।”

বলতে বলতে তোমার চোখ এল ছলছলিয়ে।

আজ তুমি গেছ চলে,

দিনের পর দিন আসে, রাতের পর রাত,

তুমি আস না।

এতদিন পরে ভাণ্ডার খুলে

দেখছি তোমার রত্নমালা,

নিয়েছি তুলে বুকে।

যে গর্ব আমার ছিল উদাসীন

সে নুয়ে পড়েছে সেই মাটিতে

যেখানে তোমার দুটি পায়ের চিহ্ন আছে আঁকা।

তোমার প্রেমের দাম দেওয়া হল বেদনায়,

হারিয়ে তাই পেলেম তোমায় পূর্ণ ক’রে।



শান্তিনিকেতন, ১ অগ্রহায়ণ, ১৩৩৯





I knew for certain, I had you.

I never thought

Of putting a value on what you gave.

And you never asked.

Day passed after day, and night followed night,

You gave everything you had to me.

With a sideways glance

I gathered them without thought;

My mind moving onto other things within the day.

The blossoms of newly arrived spring

Held hands with your gifts,

And the autumn moon favoured them with its touch.

In the cascade of your dark tresses

You covered my feet and said

‘Whatever I bring to you

In tribute could be so much greater;

But I could not give any more

In truth I have nothing left.’

As you spoke your eyes brimmed over.

Now that you are gone today,

Days pass and night follows night,

But you do not come any more.

Today I have opened my heart at last

To see what treasures you gave,

And to clasp them to my breast.

That same pride that had made me oblivious

Now bows to the ground

Where your feet once walked.

I have paid for your love with pain,

And I seek you again in loss.



Written: 15th November, 1932



আনমনা, আনমনা/Anmona, Anmona/To My Unmindful One

আনমনা, আনমনা,
তোমার কাছে আমার বাণীর মালাখানি আনব না।
বার্তা আমার ব্যর্থ হবে,
সত্য আমার বুঝবে কবে?
তোমারো মন জানব না,
আন্‌মনা, আন্‌মনা।
লগ্ন যদি হয় অনুকূল মৌন মধুর সাঁঝে,
নয়ন তোমার মগ্ন যখন ম্লান আলোর মাঝে,
দেব তোমায় শান্ত সুরের সান্ত্বনা,
আনমনা, আনমনা।
ছন্দে গাঁথা বাণী তখন পড়ব তোমার কানে
মন্দ মৃদুল তানে,
ঝিল্লি যেমন শালের বনে নিদ্রানীরব রাতে
অন্ধকারের জপের মালায় একটানা সুর গাঁথে,
একলা তোমার বিজন প্রাণের প্রাঙ্গণে
প্রান্তে বসে একমনে
এঁকে যাব আমার গানের আল্‌পনা,
আন্‌মনা, আন্‌মনা ॥

রাগ: কীর্তন
তাল: দাদরা
রচনাকাল (বঙ্গাব্দ): ৩০ আশ্বিন, ১৩৩১
রচনাকাল (খৃষ্টাব্দ): ১৮ অক্টোবর, ১৯২৪
রচনাস্থান: দক্ষিন আমেরিকার পথে আন্দেস জাহাজ

Anmona, anmona

Anmona, anmona,
Tomar kachche amar banir malyokhani anbo na.
Barta amar byartho hobe,
Satya amar bujhbe kobe?
Tomaro mon janbo na, anmona, anmona.
Logno jodi hoy anukul mouno madhur shanjhe,
Nayon tomar mogno jokhon mlan alor majhe,
Debo tomay shanto shurer shantona,
Anmona, anmona.
Chonde gantha bani tokhon porbo tomar kane
Mondo mridul taney,
Jhilli jemon shaler bone nidraneerob ratey
Andhokarer joper malay ek tana shur ganthe,
Ekla tomar bijon praner prangoney
Prantey boshe ekmoney
Enke jabo amar ganer alpona, anmona, anmona.

To My Unmindful One

Oh unmindful one,
I will not bring my precious words to you.
Lest they are all in vain,
When will you know them to be true?
I will not understand what lies in your heart either.
Unmindful one, Oh unmindful one,
If the time should be right, in the silent sweet twilit hour,
While your eyes absorb the beauty of the fading light of day,
I will console you with a peaceful tune,
Distant one, Oh distant one.
I will sing for your ears a harmony
Slow and soft its beat,
Just as the insects sing in the forest on sleep dulled nights
Like a rosary of sound in the hands of dark unlight,
Alone I sit upon the courtyard of your soul
At one side and sing enraptured,
Drawing pictures with my song, for you,
Abstracted one, Oh abstracted one.

Raag: Keerton
Beat: Dadra
Written: 18th October, 1924
On his way to South America, on board the Andes

Follow the links to hear Shreya Guhathurtha sing:

মনে পড়ে, যেন এককালে লিখিতাম/Mone Porey Jeno Ek Kaale Likhitam/I remember, it seems I once wrote


মনে পড়ে, যেন এককালে লিখিতাম
চিঠিতে তোমারে প্রেয়সী অথবা প্রিয়ে।
একালের দিনে শুধু বুঝি লেখে নাম–
থাক্‌ সে কথায়, লিখি বিনা নাম দিয়ে।
তুমি দাবি কর কবিতা আমার কাছে
মিল মিলাইয়া দুরূহ ছন্দে লেখা,
আমার কাব্য তোমার দুয়ারে যাচে
নম্র চোখের কম্প্র কাজলরেখা।
সহজ ভাষায় কথাটা বলাই শ্রেয়–
যে-কোনো ছুতায় চলে এসো মোর ডাকে,
সময় ফুরালে আবার ফিরিয়া যেয়ো,
বোসো মুখোমুখি যদি অবসর থাকে।
গৌরবরন তোমার চরণমূলে
ফল্‌সাবরন শাড়িটি ঘেরিবে ভালো;
বসনপ্রান্ত সীমন্তে রেখো তুলে,
কপোলপ্রান্তে সরু পাড় ঘন কালো।

The Invitation

I remember, it seems I once wrote
Dearest or beloved, to you on a note.
I suppose, today they only write a name —
Let that be, nameless you remain the same.
You demand poetry from me and my pen
Words that rhyme in complex refrain
At your door my words seek so much less
A flutter of kohl-lined gentle eyes! Largesse!
It is perhaps best to keep my words simply designed
Answer my call at the slightest ruse you can find
When the time is over, return to your own space
But till then, let us linger face to face.
Your sari encircles your bare feet,
Its purple the colour of Phalsa berries so sweet;
Place it as a veil upon your hair so sleek
Its dark border glowing against your cheek.

Painting by Subhas Roy, ‘Radha’
Taken from the Tribune, Chandigarh.