To celebrate his 157th birthday LIBRILINIA organized a public poll for readers. We came up with a bundle of questions regarding the works of Rabindranath Tagore. Among many of the responses we have handpicked a few. Here are the questions and their respective interesting responses!!
”Name a character from Tagore’s texts whom you want to be. And why?”
Here come the answers:
Paramita is a ‘final year’ university girl, apparently introvert. Many characters tantalize her every now and then, yet she doesn’t dare to be any. She hides, like many readers among us.
“I don’t want to be like any of the characters. Does anyone of us really want to be like any particular character?? I don’t think so. But at times we want to live the situations like they did. In that case it would rather be adventurous of me to live the situations that Charulata went through, where I would not shy away to show my feelings!!!”
Samayita is a psychologist. She practices regularly. But deep into the psyche of the patients, she might have found a common crave for freedom. And she herself is a liberal woman. So Bishu pagol (from Red Oleanders or Raktakrabi) is her obvious choice.
“Definitely Bishu Pagol! His sense of freedom is in his head. That is probably why he is the one person who doesn’t feel trapped. And he can spread this sense of freedom as well. You might call him eccentric, but I believe this eccentricity has its roots in courage.”
Moumita is a middle-aged school teacher. She has been teaching Bengali there for ten years or so. She can be considered as a role-model for many, who want to fight, struggle, suppressing the softer emotions inside for social demands. But she has won. What is her sense of liberation?
“Binodini lives next to my heart, my interior – where no one else is allowed. She teaches me how to master everything…keeping her ‘love’ aside she stands, she fights. This adds a little extra icing to the cake. She is the ‘modern pragmatic’ woman.”
Arpan is Paramita’s batchmate. He thinks himself an emotional fool, he loves, misjudges, fails and writes for himself. Like many writers he chooses someone unpredictable, who can accompany him far from the madding crowd. Balai (from Balai) might be his friend behind everyone’s eyes.
“Balai never let what people thought about his love for nature. He was vulnerable about this. In a patriarchal society that worships toughness, Balai chose to be vulnerable about his love!!”
”Name one character from his works whom you dislike the most. And why?”
Here are the responses:
Supratik is pursuing Masters’ in English literature from Delhi University. Far from being a blind-lover of Tagore, he picks up enough courage to cross with many of his characters.
Shyama (in Shyama) is the woman without an iota of conscience. This reckless, dangerous and manipulating creature allows her lover to sacrifice his life to release a prisoner she only saw once and fell in love with. Shyama is ghyama, is not so? But Supratik thinks that Shyama is too problematic to apprehend.
Rajarshi Roy is doing his Masters’ from Jadavpur university. After the long hectic sessions of paper submissions when he gets a little time for himself to read, he finds out the ‘humane’ parts of literature. He loves many, feels for few and blames.
Men in Tagore’s works have been criticized because of their eccentric behaviours. A few of them are guilty of being inattentive to life and split subjects. Nikhilesh in Ghare baire (THE HOME AND THE WORLD) is one such character who, Rajarshi thinks, is never unified in his entire life. Nikhilesh, worthless…rhymes well!
Soma is a student of Bengali literature in Calcutta University. As a woman she confronts all the characters from Tagore (specially the female ones) and she judges them and treats them as the next-door-neighbours. She is one of those few lucky readers to whom the characters often come out of the printed pages.
Is there anyone who was not captivated by Binodini from Chokher Bali ( A GRAIN OF SAND)? Graceful, elegant and intelligent woman in 19th century Bengal is like a Damask rose in Sahara. But women look at her suspiciously because she is expert at stealing husbands. Be careful ye all! That’s why Soma churns her, Could she not spare her best friend’s husband?
Suman is Rajarshi’s batch mate. He is currently pursuing a course in ‘translating Tagore’ which has immensely helped him to re-visit the days of the pages. And as a brave reader he judges all the characters in today’s time. Because that’s how a text gets its relevance.
If Mahendra from Chokher Bali had been a Casanova, he would have been forgiven. Call him all the bad names you can. If lust could produce some masculine courage, he would have been saved from all the infamy he suffers now. Mahendra is a spineless coward, that is Suman‘s judgement.
Title art by Suman Mukherjee