Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 66, Tuesday May 5, 2009




On a recent trip to Shillong, we happened to stop by at Jeet Bhumi, reputed to be Tagore's ivory tower in the hills. This is where he composed his famous 'Shesh er Kobita', and the view of those narrow, winding roads and jade-coloured hills from the bungalow's verandahs had every woman in the group sighing for her Amit, and every man searching for his Labonno.

Come rain or shine, Bengalis are romantics at heart. We love to love, and celebrate this emotion in every turn of the weather. The sparkling sunshine reminds us of a paramour's smile; the rain is the perfect excuse for a rickshaw ride for two, while a cloudy sky has one wishing one had someone to hold.

No one has captured the many shades of this romanticism the way Rabindranath Tagore has, in his music, lyrics and poetry.

Our photographer Zahedul I Khan recently visited Shantiniketan, the family home of the Tagores, and as Rabindranath's birthday approaches, we pay tribute to this wizard of words.

Shantiniketan was previously called Bhubandanga (named after Bhuban Dakat, a local dacoit), and owned by the Tagore family. Rabindranath's father, Debendranath Tagore, found it very peaceful and renamed the place Shantiniketan, which means residence (niketan) of peace (shanti). It was here that Rabindranath Tagore started Patha Bhavana, the school of his principles, whose central idea was that, learning in a natural environment would be more pleasurable and productive, and from September,1901 after returning from Shilaidaha he stayed at Shantiniketan permanently, and from then on his birthday has been celebrated every year.

On 23 December 1921 Rabindranath started the university with earnings from the prize money of the Nobel Prize he received for the publication of his book of Gitanjali in 1913.

Several social and cultural events take place through out the year, in Shantiniketan, which have become part and package of Shantiniketan, which include - Basanta Utsav, Barsha Mangal, Sharodutsav, Nandan Mela, Poush Mela, Magh Mela, and of course Rabindra Jayanti.

LS Desk



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