Events & Activities


19th August 2016
6:30 pm
Age Group:

Dr. Triguna Sen Auditorium: Kolkata,
Gate no - 3, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, West Bengal 700032, India

The year 1947 was a ‘watershed’ in the history of Bengal, in the truest sense of the term. Bengal and the Bengali would never be the same again. Partition of the province and of the country changed the old homeland of Bengal forever -a homeland, so far shared by the Bengali Hindus and the Bengali Muslims alike. It uprooted hundreds of millions of people in such a drastic way that they lost their home, their families, their communities, their livelihoods. All of a sudden they
were thrown into a sea of uncertainties where they found themselves left only with memories. With the reality suddenly turned upside down, these memories of a lost homeland would henceforth continue to serve as their emotional anchor, an unreal but vital abode of psychological comfort. Not only them. While the generation which passed through this trauma has not yet wholly disappeared, their descendants also are likewise haunted by the same ‘memories’ inherited from their families and the overall social milieu of Bengal.
Outsiders would never be able to fathom the depth of this deeply entrenched ‘Bengali nostalgia’, filled with pain as well as a somewhat irrational expectation of healing of the wounds. A huge chunk of todays Bengali youth constantly relates to the transferred memories of a ‘lost home’, which comprised stories, anecdotes, legends, songs, poems – sometimes belonging to an ancestral house, sometimes evoking the images of a lost idyllic village, or reminiscing a pristine natural habitat, untarnished with the filth and dirt of urbanity. Very significantly, such memories of an ‘other’ land, also idealized as a land of ones own, are by no means a unique possession of Bengal.
In many parts of the modern world, wherever there are people migrated from their native lands for once and all, or the uprooted people making their journey towards unknown and indefinite destinations, a very similar pained nostalgia is found to be crushing so many million hearts. In an invisible way, therefore, Bengal is tied intimately to these forlorn people, refugees or immigrants, however one calls them. Consequently, Bengal has something to give them also, in the form of an emotional healing. In view of this, the present musical project is conceptualized as a humble contribution from Bengal to the uprooted and adrift souls of the world, who bear an eternal longing for a ‘home’. It wants to do so by traversing the paths of a partitioned homeland through songs, poems and writings of Rabindranath Tagore. An out and out urban intellectual Tagore, originally hailed from West.
Bengal, had nevertheless spent a considerable chunk of time in his family estate in Eastern Bengal. Strong cravings for a lost world are embedded in almost all genres of his literary endeavors, especially in his songs. We select about twenty of such songs, and present those haunting numbers interspersed with a few poems and some excerpts of Tagores essays and letters.
The narrative is styled as a musical journey down the memory lanes by an individual, emotionally torn between his two worlds, past and present, and reminiscing an undying love for the associated landscape, lifestyle, festivals and, last but not the least, the cherished people of his other life in the ‘other land’. The narrative is also suitably made evocative by the screening of visuals alongside. The songs and the accompanying visuals, based on various quotidian experiences, would enable the audience recognize once more how the simple things in life make life itself an everyday celebration.