‘Youth needs to be made aware of Tagore’s works’


Kolkata : There is an urgent need to increase awareness among youth about the vast works of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore during the bard’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations, intellectuals feel.

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A large section of youth is seemingly indifferent to the writings of Tagore, says poet Subodh Sarkar, adding that the year-long anniversary celebrations that began Sunday (May 9) should be used to ensure that young people also start loving the poet’s works.

“The elderly people love to read the poems, stories and novels written by Rabindranath, but there is an urgent need to bring the young generation in this fold,” Sarkar told IANS.

Actor-turned-MP Tapas Pal echoed Sarkar’s views.

“There has been a sharp decrease among the younger generation in studying Rabindranath’s literary culture. It is because of the socio-economic changes in society that they are less bothered about Tagore’s legacy,” said the popular Bengali film hero.

Tagore (1861-1941), the first Asian to win the Nobel prize, was a poet, novelist, musician and playwright and his compositions reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

According to second year undergraduate student Rabidyuty Sarkar, the younger generation does not have much time to devote to reading Tagore’s works.

“Actually we don’t have the time to read the works of Tagore as we are always in a rat race. However, we do celebrate Rabindranath’s birth anniversary,” he said.

Magsaysay award winning writer Mahasweta Devi refused to be drawn into any such debate.

“People will definitely celebrate Rabindranath’s birth anniversary by reciting poems and stories and performing plays penned by Rabindranath Tagore,” she said.

Asked what would be the fittest way to pay tribute to Tagore during the year-long celebrations to mark his 150th birth anniversary in 2011, stage and screen actor Kaushik Sen said that should be left to the people.

“There is no hard and fast rule how we should celebrate Tagore’s birthday. My new play is inspired by a poem by Tagore ‘Birpurush’. The first show is on May 29,” he said.

“People should show their respect to Tagore the way they want to. He is there with us all the time through his songs, writings, plays,” Sen said.

Magician P.C. Sorcar (Jr) disagreed with the suggestion that Tagore has lost his appeal among youth.

“I don’t agree with the view that interest in Rabindranath’s work has decreased among the new generation. But as you know a day has only 24 hours. And the rat race for survival has intensified to a large extent,” Sorcar told IANS.

Singer Usha Uthup felt the vastness of Tagore’s work ensured it would never pale in popularity.

“I don’t feel that reading Rabindranath’s works among youth has gone down as his literary creations are so vast,” she said.