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Rabindranath’s 158th birth anniversary celebrated

Rabindranath’s 158th birth anniversary celebrated

The 158th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Thakur, or Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was celebrated across the country on Wednesday (25th of Boishakh on the Bangla Calendar). The government and different socio-cultural organisations celebrated the day through various programmes, local media reported.

Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy inaugurated the nationwide celebration of the poet’s 158th birth anniversary with the tagline ‘Manobik Bishwa Binirmanay Rabindranath’. Education Minister Dipu Moni inaugurated the celebration in the afternoon.

Cultural Affairs Minister KM Khalid chaired the programme while Bangla Academy President Dr Anisuzzaman, educationist and literary researcher Dr Sanjida Khatun, cultural ministry’s acting Secretary Dr Md Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal and Liberation War Museum Trustee Mofidul Haque shared their thoughts on the poet, his influences on Bangladesh and his literary creations.

Dipu Moni said Tagore was a lifelong friend of Bangladesh, even before the nation was born.

Anisuzzaman said that Rabindranath was universal as a Bengali poet, and was one of the best humanitarians the world has ever seen.

Bangla Academy organised an event featuring keynote speech, Rabindra Award 2019 ceremony and cultural function at its Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad auditorium. Rabindra researchers Professor Begum Akter Kamal and Professor Shafiuddin Ahmed, and Rabindra Sangeet singer Iqbal Ahmed were honoured with ‘Rabindra Puroshkar 2019’ at the programme.

The local administration of Kushtia arranged a programme at the Thakur Lodge, Kuthibari on the occasion. A three-day festival began on Wednesday (May 8) at Shilaidaha Kuthibari to celebrate the birth anniversary.

Deputy Commissioner and Celebration Committee Chairman, Md Aslam Hossain, said an elaborate programme had been chalked out by the cultural ministry, Kushtia district administration, and the government's archaeology department. The Kuthibari has been renovated and decorated for the occasion.

Acting general secretary of ruling Bangladesh Awami League, Mahbubul Alam Hanif, inaugurated the program. Beginning at 9 a.m., the festival will continue until 5 p.m. every day through Friday the 10th of this month.

The old name for Shilaidaha was Khorshed Pur. In 1807 Dwarkanath Thakur, grandfather of Rabindranath Thakur became the owner of this estate. He built a pyramid-shaped three-story building on 11 acres there, known as Kuthibari. Khorshedpur was renamed Shilaidaha which is a relatively recent name.

Rabindranath came to Shilaidaha in November 1889 to look after the estate and stayed in Shilaidaha Kuthibari off and on, for over a decade, between 1891 and 1901.

He wrote many memorable poems, songs, and stories when he was there.  He also started translating his own poems into English, including 'Gitanjali', which earned him the Nobel Prize in 1913. Thus, Shilaidaha became associated with Rabindranath.

In Sirajganj, to celebrate this year's Rabindranath birth anniversary, Sirajganj district administration has also chalked out different programmes that will continue for three days. The three-day event will include discussions, poetry recitation, and a cultural program. State Minister for ICT, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, attended the inauguration function as chief guest, with Deputy Commissioner Eftekhar Ahmed Shamim in the chair.

Rabindranath came to Shahzadpur several times between 1890 and 1895 to supervise the estate and wrote many of his literary pieces like 'Naukadubi', 'Sonar Tori', 'Bishorjon', 'Chitra', 'Choitali', 'Postmaster', and others during his stay there.

Records show that Dwarkanath Thakur, Rabindranath Thakur's grandfather, purchased the estate of Kacharibari in Shahzadpur at an auction in 1840. At that time, Kacharibari was set up on an eight Bigha piece of land.

Rabindranath came to Kacharibari for the first time in 1890 at the age of 28 to supervise the estate. In the rainy season, Tagore would move about in a bajra (boat) and in the dry season, he travelled by palanquin.

Rabindranath was a poet, visual artist, playwright, novelist, as well as a composer whose works reshaped Bangla literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Born on May 7, 1861 (25th of Boishakh on the Bangla Calendar) at Jorasanko Mansion in Kolkata, he was the youngest of 14 surviving children of Debendranath Thakur and Sarada Devi.

He became Asia's first Nobel laureate after winning the Nobel Prize in literature for his mesmerising book 'Gitanjali' (‘Song Offerings’, the English version of his collection of poetry ‘Gitanjali’) in 1913.

Two of his songs are now the national anthems of Bangladesh and India -- Amar Sonar Bangla and Jana Gana Mana -- respectively.

Rabindranath wrote novels, short stories, songs, dance-dramas, and essays on political and personal topics. 'Gitanjali', 'Gora', 'Ghare Bairay', 'Chokher Bali', 'Daakghar', and 'Raktokarobi' are among his best-known works.

The legendary poet breathed his last at his paternal residence in Kolkata on Sraban 22 of Bangla year 1348 (Aug 7, 1941).