"Tumi Robe Nirobe" - Celebrating the legacy of Tagore

  • 2018-05-09 14:08:06

No more checklists and no more to-do lists today. Because today no Bengali can possibly talk about anything else apart from the legend who inspired poetry and songs in the hearts of God-knows-how-many aspiring poets and literati across the globe.
Only to mention Bengalis here would certainly be somewhat injustice and wrong towards all those literati of other communities who took Tagore as their own in all glory.

[Image - Tagore greeted by Helen Keller]

Yes, we're talking about Rabindranath Tagore, the pride of every Bengali, who not only connected souls of the Bengalis with his undaunted thread of poetry but also connected people of all other communities equally. Translated more than any other Bengali writers, Tagore's gallery of poetry is like a galaxy full of nebula and stars.
There's a poem and consequently a song for every occasion catering to every mood and for the people of all age group. Be it eight or eighty, one can connect to his poems in a jiffy like it's his/her very own thoughts served in a platter.

[Image - Rabindranath Tagore's teaching in open classroom at Shantiniketan]

Tagore has reached people all across the globe and in turn glorified Bengal and its golden rich multitudinous cultural values and heritage. The pride that a Bengali holds in Tagore's excellence probably can't ever be contained in words. He not only amazed people with his poetry but also his novels, short stories, articles, travelogues and to top it all, his songs (Rabindrasangeet) add feathers to his hat.
Today on his 157th birthday we came up with five of his most celebrated poems. Read on to celebrate the most cherished legend of Bengal.

1. ‘Where the Mind is Without Fear

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;

Where words come out from the depth of truth;

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection:

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;

Where the mind is lead forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action–

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

2. ‘Leave This

Leave this chanting and singing and telling of beads!

Whom dost thou worship in this lonely dark corner of a temple with doors all shut?

Open thine eyes and see thy God is not before thee!

He is there where the tiller is tilling the hard ground

and where the pathmaker is breaking stones.

He is with them in sun and in shower,

and his garment is covered with dust.

Put off thy holy mantle and even like him come down on the dusty soil!

3. ‘Let Me Not Forget

If it is not my portion to meet thee in this life

then let me ever feel that I have missed thy sight

—let me not forget for a moment,

let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams

and in my wakeful hours.

As my days pass in the crowded market of this world

and my hands grow full with the daily profits,

let me ever feel that I have gained nothing

—let me not forget for a moment,

let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams

and in my wakeful hours.

When I sit by the roadside, tired and panting,

when I spread my bed low in the dust,

let me ever feel that the long journey is still before me

—let me not forget a moment,

let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams

and in my wakeful hours.

When my rooms have been decked out and the flutes sound

and the laughter there is loud,

let me ever feel that I have not invited thee to my house

—let me not forget for a moment,

let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams

and in my wakeful hours.

4. ‘Last Curtain

I know that the day will come

when my sight of this earth shall be lost,

and life will take its leave in silence,

drawing the last curtain over my eyes.

Yet stars will watch at night,

and morning rise as before,

and hours heave like sea waves casting up pleasures and pains.

When I think of this end of my moments,

the barrier of the moments breaks

and I see by the light of death

thy world with its careless treasures.

Rare is its lowliest seat,

rare is its meanest of lives.

Things that I longed for in vain

and things that I got

—let them pass.

Let me but truly possess

the things that I ever spurned

and overlooked.

5. ‘Freedom

Freedom from fear is the freedom

I claim for you my motherland!

Freedom from the burden of the ages, bending your head,

breaking your back, blinding your eyes to the beckoning

call of the future;

Freedom from the shackles of slumber wherewith

you fasten yourself in night’s stillness,

mistrusting the star that speaks of truth’s adventurous paths;

freedom from the anarchy of destiny

whole sails are weakly yielded to the blind uncertain winds,

and the helm to a hand ever rigid and cold as death.

Freedom from the insult of dwelling in a puppet’s world,

where movements are started through brainless wires,

repeated through mindless habits,

where figures wait with patience and obedience for the

master of show,

to be stirred into a mimicry of life.

Compiled by: Sampriti Sarkar