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May 7, 2004

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25th Baishakh

Sanyat Sattar

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) with his versatile body of works transcends his identity as a poet, his creativity found its expression in many forms. 25th Baishakh is his birthday and it is an occasion to shed light on this multi-faceted giant of Bangla literature and arts.


Rabindranath Tagore: Final Poems
Wendy Barker, Sharanindranath Tagore (translator)
George Braziller; April 2001

Rabindranath Tagore's poetry is notoriously difficult to transport intact from Bengali to English. Even when the poet himself was doing the translating, the problem remained. Yet in a new selection of Tagore's Final Poems, written as the poet anticipated death (which came in 1941), Wendy Barker (Way of Whiteness) and Saranindranath Tagore, a great-nephew of Rabindranath and professor of philosophy at the National University of Singapore, have succeeded wonderfully. The collection is padded with the translators' long preface and introduction, but the 50-odd pages of poems are rife with hard clarity: "Sorrow's dark night over and over/ has come to my door./ Its only visible weapons / pain's deformed poses, fear's monstrous forms / play out their deceptions in darkness.




Songs of Kabir
Rabindranath Tagore (translator)
Red Wheel/Weiser; February 2002

Two years after Tagore's winning the Nobel Prize, this translation of the Songs of Kabir was published, where he introduced these mystical poems to the world outside of India. The poet Kabir, one of the most intriguing and celebrated personalities in the history of Indian mysticism, lived in the fifteenth century. He was a great religious reformer who left behind an exquisite body of poetry of enlightenment that weaves together the philosophies of Sufism, Hinduism, and the Kabbala. These poems express a wide range of mystical experience, from the loftiest abstractions to the most intimate and personal realization of God, and have become a classic Sufi text. Rabindranath Tagore's translation work simply captures the real mystic flavour. Now, for the first time, Andrew Harvey, one of the leading spiritual writers of our time, and a renowned translator of mystical texts, has written an introduction that gives a contemporary context to the words of Kabir.


Tagore's Home and the World
P. K. Datta (editor)
Anthem Press; July 2003

This resourceful volume is a compilation of critical essays on Rabinrdanath Tagore. Number of world renowned writers have contributed here discussing various aspects on Tagore's philosophies and ideologies. His personal life has also been a very big issue of the discussion. The book is interesting and is surely a helpful edition for those who want to study Rabindranath from a deeper context.




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