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Rabindranath Tagore


Sept. 24 Oct. 3, 2010 Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles, Aug. 16, 2010
By Dilip Butani

Preparations are on for one of the greatest shows in USA, celebrating the 150th Birth Anniversary of The Nobel laureate RABINDRANATH TAGORE. Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was a mystic, poet, novelist, playwright, music composer, dance choreographer, philosopher, educationist and social reformer from Bengal, India. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. The festival will explore the contemporary relevance of Tagore and celebrate his wide-ranging and profound contribution to humanity.

The festival is organized by Nalanda International; a non-profit organization founded by Navin Doshi, LA businessman, author & philanthropist; and Debashish Banerji, PhD, art historian, Dean at the University of Philosophical Research and Nalanda Executive Director. The Institutional Co-Sponsors are Shah Foundation established by Rashmi Shah; Doshi Professorship, Loyola Marymount University; CSU Long Beach, Yadunandan Center founded by Uka Solanki; and UCLA Dept.of Engineering.


The Festival Committee is composed of Navin Doshi, Debashish Banerji, Vikram Kamdar and Rashmi Shah. The academic Advisors include Dan Neuman, Ph.D., UCLA Former EVC, Provost; Utpal Banerjee, Ph.D., Chair, Dept. of Molecular Biology; Christopher Chapple, Ph.D., LMU, Arnold P. Kaminsky, Ph.D., CSULB Dept. of History and many other academic luminaries of LA. Patrons and other committee members include: Navin Doshi, Mani Bhaumik, Uka Solanki, Pravin Mody, Bhupesh Parikh, B.U. Patel, Dilip Butani, Amrit Bhandari, Ajoy Dube and others.

Those coming especially from India include; movie directors, conference speakers, dancers, singers and other performers. The curtain raiser will be the photo exhibition opening reception on Friday Sept. 24 evening by Dr. Pratapaditya Pal, eminent art historian, ex-curator of South Asian Art at LACMA, curator of the South Asian section of Norton Simon museum and Padma Shree awardee. The movies shown on the occasion span a period from the 50s to the present  Chaturanga by Suman Mukhopadhyay, made in 2005.

On the opening day of the film festival, there will be a talk on Tagore and Ray by Dilip Basu, professor of history at UC Santa Cruz and Director of the Satyajit Ray archives. The conference speakers include leading Tagore scholars coming from Bengal, Gujarat, Dacca, Canada and the US. Their talks will range from views on Tagore's work with poetry, novels, plays, education, women, nationalism, cosmopolitanism and art.

The dancers are Shantiniketan trained performers from an award-winning group from Kolkata, named Saraswat Sanskriti Kendra. They are led by the famous Bharat Natyam dancer Anita Mallick and will perform  some of Tagore's dance dramas.  Singers of Tagore's songs in Bengali are all leading male and female vocalists from Kolkata. Averee Chaurey a reputed theater actress from New Delhi will recite Tagore poems and perform enactments.

 The Friday Oct 1 evening program will feature the relationship between Tagore and Gandhi. It will begin with a talk by Shailesh Parekh, who has written a book on the subject; and recitations, singing and dancing featuring the UCLA Ethnomusicological orchestra under the leadership of Abhiman Kaushal. The Saturday Oct 2 evening program will feature Chandalika, a dance drama highlighting Tagore's views on women and human equality. The Sunday Oct 3 morning program will feature Tagore's Gitanjali, the book of poems, which catapulted him to international fame and was instrumental in his receiving the Nobel award in 1913. The highlight of this program will be the singing of Tagore's translations of Gitanjali in English arranged by Walter Arlen, a well-known Austrian composer, who founded the music department of Loyola Marymount University and was its first chairman. Arlen, now in his 90s, is scheduled to come from Vienna to attend the performance. The Sunday night program will be a variety entertainment featuring highlights of all the programs with more singing and performing.

Rabindranath Tagore was the youngest son of Debendranath Tagore, a leader of the Brahmo Samaj. He was educated at home. At seventeen he was sent to England for formal schooling. He managed the family estates, a project which brought him into close touch with common humanity and increased his interest in social reforms. He also started an experimental school at Shantiniketan where he tried his Upanishadic ideals of education. From time to time he participated in the Indian nationalist movement, though in his own non-sentimental and visionary way; and Gandhi, the political father of modern India, was his devoted friend. Tagore was knighted by the ruling British Government in 1915, but within a few years he resigned the honor as a protest against British policies in India.

Tagore had early success as a writer in his native Bengal. With his translations of some of his poems he became rapidly known in the West. In fact his fame attained a luminous height, taking him across continents on lecture tours and tours of friendship. For the world he became the voice of India's spiritual heritage; and for India, especially for Bengal, he became a great living institution.

Although Tagore wrote successfully in all literary genres, he was first of all a poet. Among his fifty and odd volumes of poetry are Manasi (1890) [The Ideal One], Sonar Tari (1894) [The Golden Boat], Gitanjali (1910) [Song Offerings], Gitimalya (1914) [Wreath of Songs], and Balaka (1916) [The Flight of Cranes]. The English renderings of his poetry, which include The Gardener (1913), Fruit-Gathering (1916), and The Fugitive (1921), do not generally correspond to particular volumes in the original Bengali; and in spite of its title, Gitanjali: Song Offerings (1912), the most acclaimed of them, contains poems from other works besides its namesake. Tagore's major plays are Raja (1910) [The King of the Dark Chamber], Dakghar (1912) [The Post Office], Achalayatan (1912) [The Immovable], Muktadhara (1922) [The Waterfall], and Raktakaravi (1926) [Red Oleanders]. He is the author of several volumes of short stories and a number of novels, among them Gora (1910), Ghare-Baire (1916) [The Home and the World], and Yogayog (1929) [Crosscurrents]. Besides these, he wrote musical dramas, dance dramas, essays of all types, travel diaries, and two autobiographies, one in his middle years and the other shortly before his death in 1941. Tagore also left numerous drawings and paintings, and songs for which he wrote the music himself.

The website www.tagore150la.com  gives the complete details of the festival. The general phone number is 818.921.7752 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              818.921.7752      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Both, season tickets and single tickets are available.

The program in more details is as follows

1.Friday, Sept. 24 – Sunday, Oct.3:

Towards the Universal Human: Photographic exhibition of Tagore’s life – will include photos of Tagore, Jorasanko (his childhood residence), Shantiniketan (his educational community), manuscripts, paintings, etc.

Friday, September 24, 7:00pm – Exhibition opening with talk by Dr. Pratapaditya Pal, Art Historian, and

Padma Shri awardee.

Venue: Marymount Institute, LMU

2.Saturday, Sept 25 – Sunday, Sept. 26:

Gujarati celebration of Tagore’s legacy:

Talks by Niranjan Bhagat, Bholabhai Patel, Madhusudan Kapadia, Shailesh Parekh, Madhu Rai, Preeti SenGupta, Babubhai Suthar.

Kabuliwala play and Tagore songs in Gujarati translation

Tagore for Youth

Venue: CSU Long Beach (Sponsor: Yadunandan Center)

3.Sunday, Sept. 26 – Thursday, Sept. 30:

Introduction: Dr. Mani Bhaumik

Film festival – Films based on Tagore’s literary output will be screened in the evenings.

Talk on Tagore’s Influence on Ray by Dr. Dilip Basu, UCSC.

a.Satyajit Ray – Documentary on Tagore, Teen Kanya, Charulata, Ghare Baire (The Home and the World): 

b.Tapan Sinha - Kshudito Pashan (Hungry Stones)

c.Bimal Roy – Kabuliwala (Hindi)

d.Purnendu Patri – Strir Patra

e.Suman Mukhopadhyay - Chaturanga

Venue: UCLA/LMU/CSU Long Beach.

4.Friday, Oct. 1:

7:00 – 9:30 pm: Celebrating the relation between Gandhi and Tagore

Gandhi and Tagore, a short introduction by Shailesh Parekh

Music, dance and other Tagore works exploring the amazing relationship between Gandhi and Tagore

featuring Abhiman Kaushal w/ UCLA Ethnomusicology orchestra

Venue: De Neve Auditorium, UCLA

5.Saturday, Oct. 2   (9:30am-12:00pm, 1:30pm-4:30pm):

Conference to assess Tagore’s contemporary global relevance.

Speakers: Bholabhai Patel, Niranjan Bhagat, Patrick Hogan, Umadebi Dasgupta, Fakrul Alam, Kathleen O’Connell, Esha De, Debashish Banerji.

Venue: LMU Hilton Hall

6.Saturday, Oct. 2:

7:00 – 9:30 pm: Chandalika dance drama staged by Saraswat Sanskriti Kendra dancers (Smt. Anita Mallick, Sagarika Roy, Kabita Chatterjee, Prosanta Chatterjee)

Songs by Rabindrasangeet singers (Supratik Das, Jayati Ghosh, Pubali Mukherjee, Averee Chaurey).

Venue: St. Robert’s Hall, LMU

7.Sunday, Oct. 3  (10am-12:30pm, 2pm-3pm)

Rabindranath’s Gitanjali: Talk and recitations in English and Bengali by Prof. Fakrul Alam, Dacca University.

Performances by Averee Chaurey

Gitanjali verses in English translation arranged for piano by Walter Arlen  (Veera Khare Asher)

Songs of Tagore in Bengali (Sreya Guha-Thakurta, Supratik Das, Jayati Ghosh, Pubali Mukherjee).

Venue: Murphy Hall, LMU

8.Sunday, Oct. 3  (7:30 – 10:30 pm)

Program on Rabindranath and singing by Rabindrasangeet singers

Chandalika staged by Saraswat Sanskriti Kendra dancers (Smt. Anita Mallick, Sagarika Roy, Kabita Chatterjee, Prosanta Chatterjee)

Performances by Averee Chaurey

MC: Averee Chaurey           

Venue: Marsee Auditorium, El Camino College, Torrance.



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