Sunday, March 31, 2013

GURUDEV RABINDRANATH TAGORE''S VISIT TO KASHMIR


                                                                              

RIVER JHELUM AND GURUDEV  RABINDRA NATH TAGORE

Jodi Tor daak shune keu naa se tobe ekla cholo re
Tobe ekla cholo, ekla cholo, ekla cholo, ekla cholo Re
Tobe poraan khule o tui mukh phute tor moner kothaa, eklaa Bolo
( Tagore )

If they answer not to thy call walk alone
If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
O thou unlucky one,
open thy mind and speak out alone

Tagore received Nobel Prize in 1914 .This was a hectic year for the poet . He visited many places lecturing and meeting students , writers and people in general . In early 1915 he wrote his famous play Phalguni (The Cycle of Spring) and one of his major novels Ghare- Bahire (The Home and The World) . He was knighted in 1915( he resigned the honour as a protest against British policies in India.).He had hectic sessions at Shantiniketan where his play Phalguni was staged and he himself played the role of Blind Baul. He also wrote about 100 songs in 1915. His suggested that he should take a break and move to some Hill station.. Tagore decided to go to kashmir .

In October 1915 Rabinder Nath Tagore visited Kashmir for a fortnight’s holiday . He was also accompanied by Bengali Poet Satyendra Nath Datta , His son Rathinder Nath and Pratima Devi. He was simply captivated by the Beauty of the valley especially the Autumn season. Quite Often he would sit on the banks of river Jhelum in thoughtful silence . To friend he wrote that Jhelum was like his native Padma river. He composed the Famous BALAKA ( Flight of Cranes )series of poems IN KASHMIR only.
This invitation to Gurudev was extended by a senior Bengali officer Sri Jagdish Chander Chatterji who worked as Superintendent of State Research Department also Known as VIDYAPEETH  during Maharaja's rule in the state .All arrangements were made by the said  official and his dedicated team.

 Gurudev ‘s party arrived via Rawalpindi and    stayed in   House Boat  "PARISTAAN"  Moored on the Banks of Dal Lake  in Srinagar  . Later Gurudev and his family   shifted  to another House Boat  located on the banks of Jhelum river .

 Gurudev also  visited  King lalitaditya 's Martand sun Temple during his stay in Kashmir . Shri Dina  Nath Hanjura  Principal DAV school Rainawari once told us in our class that Gurudev Tagore had praised the intellectual Loftiness of king Lalitaditya of Kashmir by looking at Martand Sun temple ruins in kashmir  . And again Mr Badri Nath sidda a learned Purohit from Mattan had informed me in 1988 that his Yejmaan record register had  signatures of a Mahatma from Bengal named Rabinder Nath Tagore who had visited Martand  Teertha of kashmir  in 1915 . Mahatama Tagore could be no other person except Gurudev.

While in kashmir , his literary work was disrupted by people coming to meet . He also accepted an invitation from Pandit Anand Kaul for a Dinner . Anand Kaul worked as Sheriff in the office of Raja Amar Singh's Council of Regency. And later President of Srinagar Municipality from 1914 to 1917 apart from being a writer , scholar and historian who had published some books through Asiatic Society of Bengal.
                                                                      

Apart from enjoying a kashmiri Dinner at Pandit Anand kaul’s residence in Srinagar city sometime in October 1915, Tagore also requested for some books on Kashmir’s Shaivism from the learned Pandit.

A poetic gathering was also held in the house of Pandit Anand Koul .Many young poets joined this gathering and Gurudev was amused to listen kashmiri poems. These poems were translated to English by Pandit Anand Koul and copies of English translation was provided in advance to Gurudev. Master Zinda Kaul participated in this poetic gathering.

                                                                       

(The house of Pandit Anand Koul Bamzai ( Writer , Historian and administrator )in downtown Zainakadal Srinagar Kashmir where Gurudev Tagore met Kashmiri poets and  sometime in October 1915..)

Gurudev and other poets had their dinner in this house at the invitation of Pandit Anand Koul Bamzai..

Master Zinda Kaul and Pandit Anand Koul brought Gurudev in a Tonga to this house. 
Many people say that  Kashmiri poet Mehjoor was also present in this gathering but this needs some authentic confirmation.In his interview to *Prof. V S Naravane, Master ji has not said anything about Mehjoor's presence. In this poetic gathering, Tagore had advised kashmiri poets to be careful about choice of their themes.

Gurudev  also helped his  nephew  Abanindranath Tagore who accompanied him to paint some views especially two paintings depicting Ashoka sitting atop Shankaracharya and looking at Hariparbat and Shahjajan in famous Mughal garden Shalimar. With These paintings and the Balaka series of poems , Kashmir was showcased to Bengali elite for the first time.

Gurudev also addressed students and intellectuals inside SP College Auditorium. Here he read some poems from his book Geetanjali . It is believed that Sh I K Sharga ( A kashmiri pandit from Lucknow and the then Principal of S P College Srinagar ) had called upon Gurudev twice and requested him to address the faculty and students of his college.

Pandit Samsar Chand Koul Ganhar ( Well known Bird watcher , writer and a teacher in Mission school Fateh Kadal )  also  visited  Gurudev while he stayed in houseboat Paristan. Pandit samsar Chand   requested Gurudev for a visit to Mission school Fateh kadal to address students. Gurudev expressed his inability and told him that he had a hectic and busy schedule . He invited Pandit Samsar chand Koul and boys of Fateh Kadal Mission school to SP College . In SP College Gurudev Addressed a gathering of students, teachers and intellectuals and also  sang verses from his Book  Geetanjali .

                                                                 



Artist fraternity of kashmir joined hands to name the cultural complex built in 1958 at srinagar (During Bakshi Ghulam Mohd stewardship ) as TAGORE HALL. This was possibly a humble tribute to Gurudev who had many admirers in J&K state .

Adds Tagore

"I was in Kashmir. One evening, I sat by the River Jhelum. There was stillness all around. I felt I was sitting besides the Padma. Of course, when I lived on the Padma I was a young man, now I am old. Yet that difference seemed to have been wiped out by some link transcending time. A flock of geese flew over my head across Jhelum...I seemed to hear some ineffable call, and be led by its impulse to some far journey."



Balaka/“The Flying Geese”, The title word usually means a heron; but the poet points out that it refers to a flock of flying geese. I add two poems from Balaka series . The poet writes:
(1)
( PIONEERS )
Could you not be patient a little more ?
Winter is not yet over.
What flair very close to the trail
Drives you to sing in choir?
Oh distraught Champakas and intoxicated Bakuls,
Whom do you rush to welcome, all maddened in glee ?
Trackers of death, you are the first flock,
You didn't heed for the Moment to come,
From branch to branch your rumours ring
Enlivening and perfuming the undergrowths.
Jostling and laughing aloud before all others,
You blossomed in bounty, you fell in heaps.
The spring that was expected in April,
That would come afloat on the zephyr's high tide,
You no more waited for its hour,
You set piping your flute before term.
How could you reach the goal before the night-fall ?
You scattered all your treasures with your laughter and tears.
Forgetful of calculations, O my crazy souls,
On listening to His footfalls from far,
To cover the dust and bedeck His path
You laid down your own death.
Before you could see or hear Him, your chalices set you free,
You could no more wait for contemplating His face.
[Balaka, No.21, 1916]

(2)
O flying geese,
 Your wings are maddened by the tempest’s wine:
 With the resounding laughter of piled-up joy,
 Rising waves of wonder, they beat along sky.
 The rush of wings rose round,
 A dancing nymph composed of sound,
 Breaking the meditation of the silence.
 The mountains sunk in gloom
 Suddenly shuddered, and the deodar woods.
  felt the message of those beating wings
 For an instant bring
 Impulse of motion to the enraptured depths
 Of all that’s immobile.
 …Of mountains, and this forest, fly from strange
 To strange realm, isle to isle
 The pulse of the stars’ flight
 Starlets the dark with the sound of weeping light.
 I heard the words of men flying in the flocks
 Along invisible tracks
 From the dim past to some new unformed age.
 Night and day in my heart have I heard
 With countless other birds, this
 Relinquishing its nest, through light and darkness go –
 From what shore to what shore?
 The infinite’s wings send out their song through the space:
 Not here but elsewhere, elsewhere– in some other place.’

 (Autar Mota )    

 PS

Dr.Vishwanath S. Naravane was a reputed teacher at Allahabad University and taught there for twenty years. In 1965, he joined the Department of Philosophy, Pune University. He was a visiting professor at several universities in the U.S. In addition to philosophy and religion, Dr. Naravane taught courses in Indian history, art and literature. He was an admirer of Master Zinda Koul's poetry that he had read through translation. He came to srinagar and did an extensive interview of Master ji in his house. This interview was published in some national magazines at that point of time.            

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Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

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