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Category Archives: Intelectuals

Pachise Baishakh – a tribute to Tagore

A Tribute to Rabindranath Tagore on his 148th birthday on Pachise Baishakh as per Bengali Calender, which falls on 08th May 2008.

Rabindranath Tagore is the first Asian person to be awarded with the Nobel prize in 1913 in literature for his book “Gitanjali” and probably the most prominent personality in the cultural world of Indian subcontinent. He is mainly known as a poet, but his multifaceted talent showered upon different branches of art, such as, Poetry, novels, short stories, articles dramas, essays, painting etc. He was a social reformer, patriot and above all, a great humanitarian and philosopher. To understand his multifaceted talent, his works, one has to do research work on him. It is amazing the way he has written so much in his life time. Here is a piece of his work from his “The  Gardener” :

IN THE DUSKY PATH OF A DREAM

by: Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

In the dusky path of a dream I went to seek the love who was mine in a former life.

Her house stood at the end of a desolate street.

In the evening breeze her pet peacock sat drowsing on its perch, and the pigeons were silent in their corner.

She set her lamp down by the portal and stood before me.

She raised her large eyes to my face and mutely asked, “Are you well, my friend?”

I tried to answer, but our language had been lost and forgotten.

I thought and thought; our names would not come to my mind.

Tears shone in her eyes. She held up her right hand to me. I took it and stood silent.

Our lamp had flickered in the evening breeze and died.

Bangla culture, especially music of Bengal (India) and Bangladesh too has been greatly influenced by Rabindranath Tagore – by his thousands of songs and poetries. The songs known as Rabindrasangeet is still popular. The songs of Tagore have an eternal appeal and is permanently placed in the heart of the Bengalis. In Bengal its like a rituals in their lives that in every house children learn and practice Rabindrasangeet.

Amartya Sen in his book “Tagore and His India” says : “Rabindranath is a towering figure in the millennium-old literature of Bengal. Anyone who becomes familiar with this large and flourishing tradition will be impressed by the power of Tagore’s presence in Bangladesh and in India. His poetry as well as his novels, short stories, and essays are very widely read, and the songs he composed reverberate around the eastern part of India and throughout Bangladesh.”

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That’s Kolkata – the city of joy

Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) – the city of joy, city of Rabindranath, city of Satyajit Ray, city of intellectuals, city of football, city of procession, city of political movements, city of Bundhs (strike) , city of arts and culture (cultural capital of India), city of festivals and at last but not the least it is also known as city of best sweets and cuisine. Here is a glimpses of the city :

Kolkata is the Capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in the eastern part of India on the east bank the river Hoogly. The city has a population of about 5 million and it is the 4th largest city in India.

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Land mark of Kolkata, the Howrah Bridge, 2,150 feet long a engineering marvel. Construction of the bridge was completed in the year 1942, and it was opened for public in February, 1943.

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The new Howrah bridge over Hoogly(Holy river Ganges)

Brief History of the city: In 1690, Job Charnok, an agent of the East India Company landed on the eastern bank of river Hoogly for British trade settlement and he purchased the three large villages along the eastern bank of Hoogly, namely Sutanuti, Gobindapur & Kalikata. Gradually, over the years, the “village Kalikata” was developed into a city “Calcutta” by the British.

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Chowringhee Square as was in 1946

Calcutta served as the capital of India during the British Rule until 1911. Once the city Calcutta was center of modern education, science, culture and political movements in India. The Bengal as a whole was much developed those days in all sectors including politics, which gave birth of a proverb – “what Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow”.

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Chowringhee skyline today

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Electric Tram is seen only in Kolkata (Calcutta) in India. It is a slow moving transport system which makes traffic congestion sometimes. But due environmental friendly the citizen likes it to stay. The city has many ways of commuting starting from hand drawn rickshaws to underground tube rail.

 

 

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Victoria Memorial – In memory of Queen Victoria

In 2001, the name of Calcutta was changed to Kolkata. The names Kolkata and Calcutta were probably derived from Kalikata, the name of one of the three villages (Kalikata, Sutanati & Gobindapur). While the city was always pronounced either “Kolkata” or “Kolikata”, in Bengali, its official English name was only changed from “Calcutta” to “Kolkata” in 2001, reflecting the Bengali pronunciation and to end the legacy of the British.

Most intellectual city of India : Most Nobel laureates of India have been associated with Calcutta University or Calcutta at some point of time. The city has produced six Nobel Laureates so far. They are:

  1. Sir Ronald Ross (1902 Medicine)
  2. Rabindranath Tagore (1913 Literature)
  3. CV Raman (1930 Physics)
  4. Mother Teresa (1979 Peace)
  5. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1983 Physics)
  6. Amartya Sen (1998 Economics)

durga1.jpg Festivals : Durga Puja is the most notable festival of Bengalis which celebrated every year like a carnival. It’s a religious and social festival of Kolkata. Other notable festivals include Deepavali, Eid, Christmas, Holi, Poila Baishakh (Bengali new Year), Saraswati Puja, rath yatra. Among the cultural festivals “Kolkata Book fair” are the most popular and its an event which takes place in the month of January every year.

sciencecity.jpgPlaces of Interests : Science City, Indian Museum, Birla Planetorium, Victoria Memorial, Marble Palace, Nicco Park, Botanical garden, Iskcon Temple, Belur Math, Kalighat, Dakshineswar kali Temple, Armenian Church, St. Paul’s Cathedral church, Tagore House, Alipore Zoological Garden, Parasnath temple.

Indulgence to foods & sweets: As already mentioned about Kolkata that it is a city of best sweets and cuisines. Food and sweet are the two greatest indulgence of Kolkata people. Kolkatans love to eat and also they re great hosts. Every meal, ends with choicest sweets and Misty doi (sweetened curd). The unique range, quality, taste, variety and cheap rates of sweets can leave you amazed. The kolkata sweets are best sweets in India and unparallel in quality. Misty doi (sweetened curd) and confectionery of Patali Gur (date palm jaggery) are two delicacies of Bengal.

Besides Mughlai (tandoori, kebabs, biriyani etc.) Continental, Thai, Tibetian cuisines, Chinese cuisines are also very popular in Kolkata. Authentic quality Chinese cuisine is available in the eating houses/ Restaurants in Old China Town run by the Chinese people. Kolkata is also having varieties of junk foods. The quality of these foods is also too good. The quality and varieties of these foods too are not available out side Bengal.

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