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From the Master Himself: 5 Tagorean Books to Read

One of the most celebrated poets and scholars of India, Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913. He wrote in both Bengali and in English, often translating his own works for his non-Bengali readers. His oeuvre, especially the collection of songs Gitanjali with its refreshing and spiritually optimistic works, got immensely famous in war-torn Europe. For his foreign readers, Tagore consciously used an archaic form of English; the quaint, old-fashioned expressions stand in contrast to the alive and expressive words of his mother tongue. Tagore mainly composed lyrics, with themes ranging from devotional songs, to love, nature, and nationalism. Rabindrasangeet, the songs of Rabindra, are a unique combination of poetry and melody. He was inspired by all that he heard; his songs have the flavours of Baul melodies, as well as Scottish and Irish music. His works have captured the hearts of millions around the world, not just in India. Unfortunately, the poet’s profound philosophy of life, his ideas about the universe, and his faith in humanity are often lost in translation. The following books try to capture the originality of his lyricism, while simultaneously being approachable and lucid in their delivery:         Fireflies ‘When death comes and whispers to me, “Thy days are ended,” let me say to him, “I have lived in love and not in mere time”. ’A Tagore classic—a poetry collection that is part of a set of 12 books ‘Words of the Master’ that have been translated by the Master himself. To buy: https://amzn.to/3aXHaEV   Gitanjali One of the greatest works of poetry in the modern times, Tagore’s Gitanjali was originally published in Bengali on August 14, 1910 as a collection of 157 poems. The translated version of Gitanjali, meaning ‘an offering of songs’ soon became very famous and was widely read. The English version of Gitanjali was first published in 1912’s November by India Society of London and in 1913, Tagore was honoured with the famous Nobel Prize for Literature, the first ever India to receive the coveted award and the first non-European to get it. A Tagore classic—a poetry collection that is part of Words of the Master, a set of 12 books that have been translated by the Master himself. To buy: https://amzn.to/2RoeoX2 The Crescent Moon ‘…My song will be like a pair of wings to your dreams, it will transport your heart to the verge of the unknown. It will be like the faithful star overhead when dark night is over your road.’ A Poetry collection that is part of Words of the Master, a set of 12 books that have been translated by the Master himself. To buy: https://amzn.to/3h4MZUS   The Fugitive ‘The long story of my coming hither lies their dumb, in one meandering line of dust stretching from the morning hilltop to the brink of bottomless night’. Deeply rooted in Indian culture and mythology, The Fugitive is a collection of three stories written in verse form. The verses mainly focus on love and its loss. The book is a Tagore Classic–a part of Words of the Master, a set of 12 books translated by the Master himself. To buy: https://amzn.to/3t9h3RH     Songs of Tagore This publication of one hundred and twelve select songs of Rabindranath Tagore is primarily for the Indian and non-Indian listeners who have no access to the original language of the Poet, but enjoy listening to his songs and would like to understand what the song says. To buy: https://amzn.to/3nPCjLu
Madulika | 03-May-2021