Friday, May 20, 2005

Pochishe Boishakh

Let us discuss today the utmost reverence (now relegated to fanaticism) with which we Bengalis regard Tagore. Every year, on Pochishe Boishakh (25thday of Boishakh, the first month in the Bengali calendar, usually the 8th of May), the day Tagore was born, we worship him. We worship him everywhere-at our homes, with a severely mutilated picture of His, a family heirloom, charred further by the fuming incense sticks; at His birthplace at Jorashankho in Kolkata, where everybody (who’s anybody in the difficult art of singing His songs) sings His songs and in countless seminars in air-conditioned halls, where he is analysed, mystified and finally discovered in a new light for the umpteenth time. “Can\cannot\sometimes can sing at least one Rabindrasangeet”, along with sex, caste and length of hair have been found to be the crucial determinants of the conjugal fortune for most Bengali girls.

Most Bengali households own a complete set of His writings; usually brought from Viswa Bharati or the West Bengal Govt. in easy EMIs of 501 bucks around fourteen years ago. The volumes (15 of ‘em if you buy it from Viswa Bharati) are displayed proudly in the drawing room and taken out (for dusting) on Pochishe Boishakh. The mom in the house brims with pride as she subjects others to her rendition of that compulsory Rabindrasangeet she learnt in her marriage school. The dad usually guises his advice for the kids through Tagore quotes (usually quoted wrongly). Kids are given stiff targets- of memorising five of His poems/picking up two of His songs, depending on the sex, before the day is over.

Basically, Pochishe Boishakh is a demanding day, for most Bengali households. The worship will go on forever- yet very few Bengalis will actually bother to read him, to delve into the almost infinite treasure that his genius offers. It takes a lifetime to truly appreciate all aspects of his work, given the myriad genius that he was. For Bengalis like me- who have read, heard or seen most of his widely celebrated and discussed creations (which isn’t much, considering that these constitute around 20% of his total works)- Rabindranath is only half-discovered. For the average Bengali, the greatest familiarity is with Tagore’s songs-since, of all forms of artistic creations, songs can be most easily appreciated.

It’s around eight in the night-and the security people are furiously putting out the lights, obviously indicating that they’ve had enough of me for the day. So I guess my discourse on Tagore ends here-to be carried on some other day.

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Blogger vAgue said...

ah, it has been a while...working hard I presume...

10:29 PM  
Anonymous d said...

but its just 7:46, cool 14 minutes before its 8

5:48 PM  
Blogger Rony said...

To D(whoever you are):

Didn't understand your comment, if you at all meant anything by it.

11:51 PM  
Anonymous upama said...

its a real nice one dear,

6:16 PM  

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