Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Robindra-Shongeet......the 'songs of Rabindranath Tagore' - (Part II)

The more I write about the evergreen 'Robindra-Shongeet', the more I realise that there is so much more to write, to know, to read. And of course, to listen.

Attempts have been made and are still underway to translate some of these timeless songs into hindi so as to reach a wider audiance (please visit my previous blogs: Robindra-Shongeet......the 'songs of Rabindranath Tagore' - (Part I) and 'Where the mind is without fear'........... to know more and view the links leading to these songs).

I have found some more links to such translations:

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORWD2z-gsHM&feature=related - Sung by Anupama Deshpande: 'Batein Meri Maan Mein Rahe' - the hindi version of Tagore's 'swan song' 'Ei Kathati Mone Rekho' (from 'Gitanjali')

2) Following is the link that leads to the bengali version of Tagore's 'swan song' - 'Ei Kathati Mone Rekho'

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=_60aVqc9vfA&feature=related - This is someone's English translation of the Robindra-shongeet 'Ei Kathati Mone Rekho'. The lyrics imply that for Tagore, having lived a full life on Earth, it was time for him to depart. Hence, it has been titled as his 'Swan Song'. A true nationalist at heart, perhaps Tagore had a premonition of his departure before India gained independence from the British. Thus he had lamented that although he had led a full life and had accomplished a lot, he nonetheless was handicapped; ergo, had to "walk the land at night"........

3) Link to the hindi version of the bengali song 'Aamaro Porano Jaha Chaye':

........and the bengali version of this song is as follows:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4_HDhAcZRE&feature=related - 'Whatever My Heart Desires' - English and Bengali karaoke of the Robindra-shongeet: 'Aamaro Porano Jaha Chaye'

Robindra-shongeet with its sheer beauty and lyricism retains its flavour, the language does not matter. The fragrance of the songs linger on...........simply awesome, truely evergreen.

Following is a list of a few more of the Tagore's songs conveying various emotions/moods:

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYa8TMc_8v8&feature=related - 'Se Din Dujane Dulechhinu Bo-ne' - A melodious composition by Tagore in which he reminisces about his life long passion for the 'Rashleela' and the 'Vaishnava cult'.

2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw_LEuR6qYs&feature=related - 'Tomar Holo Shuru' - based on 'Raag Yaman', 'Keherva Taal.'

3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPRk3AQ1Xoc&feature=related - 'Tora Je Ja Bolish Bhai Amar Shonar Horin Chai' - sung by Sadi Mohammad. This song transports the listeners back to their childhood.

4) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZQkZIBtgGY&feature=related - 'Mor Beena Uthe Kon Shure Baje' - sung by Sadi Mohammad.

The translation of these songs can be very difficult as many of the words, phrases and hence the mood of the songs cannot be conveyed in English. The English language may not be adequate to convey the nuances of the Bengali/Indian culture. The first few lines may be translated thus: "My Veena (an Indian stringed musical instrument) starts playing (probably by itself) in some unknown tune, in some new restless rhythm".

5) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoSsxYoeMPU&feature=related - 'Bodo Asha Kore Eshechi Go' - conveys sentiments for the motherland.

6) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDb0V43f4VU&feature=related - 'Chader Haasi Baandh Bhengeche'......A very beautiful song sung here by Indranil Sen and Indrani Sen.....(they have such divine voices)........simply awesome. This is a romantic song.

Newer versions of these 'Tagore songs' have been attempted in recent times:

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqB9WVUaNwo&feature=related - 'Tomar Holo Suru' -(Remix version)....It is no doubt a bold attempt at remixing, but worth listening nonetheless.

2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X6O2dpjkbM&feature=related - Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna singing 'Akash Bhora' (Robindro-Shongeet).

He is truly an international artist. A great singer from the South of India and an exponent of the 'Carnatic music' singing a Robindra-shongeet - the song is enriched in the process.

3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI-dwQJQRRo&feature=related - 'Bhora Thak' - A 'Music Video'.......Well conceived music video of one of the most popular songs among the 'Tagore songs'.

Robindra-Shongeet in films:

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzcjVlrPqYo&feature=related - 'Bhalobashi Bhalobashi' - starring Aparna Sen, Sabyasachi Chakraborty. Sung by Kavita Krishnamurthy.

Here too, Kavita, though a non-bengali has done full justice to the song. Her voice is truely enchanting.

2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdYtv9QtNzQ&feature=related - 'Amar Raat Pohalo'.....from the film 'Alo.' This song makes one nostalgic......the listener is transported back to his/her schooldays.

The 'Bard' showered his 'lyrical nectar' on us through his songs and we must treasure them and cherish these songs for generations. Decades may pass but these songs will never lose their charm and appeal.

3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GrCZ3r6RVw&feature=related - from the movie 'Chhadmabeshi' (1971) starring Uttam Kumar, Madhabi Mukherjee, Bikash Roy - 'Amar Din Kathe Na' - this is a romantic song.

The mesmerizing voice of the one and only Asha Bhosle....and the ever-melodious music of Sudhin Dasgupta....a classic song indeed! A classic film too! The hindi version of this movie was titled 'Chupke Chupke' starring Sharmila Tagore, Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri and Om Prakash among others.

4) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zo8YKY7kYAU&feature=related - from the film 'Nooborag' starring Suchitra Sen, Uttam Kumar - 'Ami Jene Sune Bish Korechi Paan' - sung by Sandhya Mukherjee. This song has a 'sad' undertone and conveys pathos.

5) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYVvsMwlljs&feature=related - 'Ke Prothom Kache Asechi' from the film 'Sankha Bela' (1966) - Cast: Uttam Kumar, Madhabi Mukherjee. Singers: Manna Dey, Asha Bosle. A very romantic song, one of my favourites.

6) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXQISbgVhpo&feature=related - 'Shurer Akashe' from the film 'Shap Mochan' (1955) - starring Uttam Kumar, Suchitra Sen, Kamal Mitra, Pahadi Sanyal, Bikash Roy. Singer: Hemanta Mukherjee.

7) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LP1TVopKtkg&feature=related - Film 'Monihar' - 'Ashardh Shrabon Mane' Cast: Soumitra Chatterjee, Biswajeet, Sandha Roy. Singers: Hemanta Mukherjee and Lata Mangeshkar. They created magic!

These films, these songs and music make me wonder - where did things go wrong? The music and film industry of Bengal which created such gems in the not too distant past is not even a shadow of its former self today. The 'creativity', the melodious tunes have disappeared altogether. All that is churned out is routine 'bump and grind' numbers. What a pity! Instead of following in the foot-prints of the 'golden era' this industry is trying to copy an alien culture/system of music and movie-making and thereby resembles a poor cousin of the 'B' and 'C' grade 'Bollywood' movies. The 'magic' is lost. Lets hope not forever. They must re-visit their glorious past when films were an artistic expression of feelings, great story, good acting and of course fantastic music which touched the minds and hearts of the listeners. Lets hope that like the proverbial 'sphinx' this industry too shall rise from the ashes and reclaim its lost glory. That the 'mindless' numbers will cease someday and make way for the lilting notes, the melodious voices, the lyrical genius and that they will all come together to re-create 'magic'. Once again. That the 'songs of Tagore' will show the way for the resuscitation or the revival of this industry. Let us all hope and pray that this 'Renaissance' will happen and soon and that 'Robindra-shongeet' will re-claim its rightful place.

8) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytyoj0CU0Nc&feature=related - 'Ja Re Ud Ja Re Panchhi' - film 'Maya' (1961) - starring: Dev Anand, Mala Sinha. Sung by Lata Mangeshkar.

This song is awesome, out of this world! The music director of this classic song is Salil Chaudhary. This is a beautifully composed song. There is perhaps a little Western Classical influence in the background score. But the overall tune is very Indian and very soothing on the ears. Lata's voice combines wonderfully with the score and it leaves the listener asking for more.

9) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpIwSXM7l7A&feature=related - 'Ja Ja Re Ure Pakhi'....this is the bengali version of the above song (hindi.)

Beautiful, immortal song, both in Hindi ('Ja Re Ur Ja Re Panchi' - Film: 'Maya') as well as in Bengali.

10) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2C5KHqY9oM&feature=related - This is the video of the above song (showing birds in flight). The video is as good as the song. The sweetness of the song is enchanting and everlasting.

From his 'Song Offerings' - 'Gitanjali':

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEIYImV2U8E&feature=related - with English sub-titles. Gitanjali Song #59: 'Ei Je Tomar Prem' - Although this song was classified by Tagore under 'Puja' (i.e. devotional), the lyrics hint at 'Prem' (love). It conveys the poet's desire and longing for a corporeal union with his 'Deity', just like any man and woman would.

Tagore's original translation is presented below: "Yes, I know, this is nothing but thy love, O beloved of my heart - this golden light that dances upon the leaves, these idle clouds sailing across the sky, this passing breeze leaving its coolness upon my forehead. The morning light has flooded my eyes - this is thy message to my heart. Thy face is bent from above, thy eyes look down on my eyes, and my heart has touched thy feet".

2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ump64BjuhR4&feature=related - with both bengali and english (actually in a rhyming english phrase) sub-titles. Gitanjali: Song 13 - 'Hetha Je Gaan Gaite Asha' - The song 'I came here to sing' remains unsung to this day. The english translation given here is probably better than Tagore's own translation.

Note: It is quite probable that Tagore's works have been copied by others in an assortment of languages. Of the more famous 'lifters' of his thoughts, or rather 'people who were influenced by his thinking,' Juan Ramon Jimenez (Spanish Nobel laureate) and Pablo Neruda (Chiliean Nobel laureate) come to mind.

The Poet Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in Stamps:

Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) is the best known Bengali in the world. The first Non-European Noble Laureate. He put India on the literary map of the world when his collection of poems titled 'Gitanjali' was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1913. In the philatelic world he is still regarded with a lot of interest. Bangladesh honoured him by issuing a stamp with his late-age portrait in an elliptical frame with the picturesque view of 'Shilaidaha Kuthibari' (Estate House) situated on a little land enclave on the river Padma about 15 km south-west of Pabna, in 1991. The link is given below:

Links to the 'National Anthems' of India and Bangladesh (both composed by Tagore):

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LknudHKSWpI&feature=related - 'Amar Sonar Bangla Ami Tomai Bhalo Bashi'....sung here by Pratima Pandey Baruah. This is the National Anthem of Bangladesh.

2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDLtqz9MOeU&feature=related - The National Anthem of India. Here Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore sings 'Jana Gana Mana' - in his own voice - that is uniquely charming and passionate.

Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore sings:

Jana-Gana-Mana-Adhinayaka, Jaya He,
Uchchhala-Jaladhi Taranga,
Taba Subha Name Jage,
Taba Subha Ashisa Mage,
Gahe Taba Jaya Gatha,
Jana-Gana-Mangala Dayaka, Jaya He,
Jaya He, Jaya He, Jaya He,
Jaya Jaya Jaya, Jaya He!

When one of the Greatest of Poets set aside his pen:

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk04gc5IsZY&feature=related - Poem 'Robi Hara' by Kazi Nazrul Islam - in his own voice......Kazi Nazrul Islam is the 'National Poet' of Bangladesh.

This is a tribute to one great poet by another. On hearing about the passing away of Tagore (one of the greatest of poets), Kazi Nazrul Islam bid farewell to him through the poem 'Robi Hara'. He composed this poem on the day Tagore breathed his last and recorded it the very next day. The background music was composed by Kamal Das Gupta. It is a wonderful poem and is recited here by Kazi Nazrul Islam himself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01HNAQL-axU&feature=related - Tagore had written this poem way back in 1896 when he was only 35 years old. Samuel Godfrey George has lent his voice for this audio version. He has also recited Tagore's poem from Gitanjali: 'Where the mind is without fear' (please visit my earlier blog 'Where the mind is without fear'........... to view the same). It is a very moving narration, indeed.

What a tribute to Tagore, the 'Vishwakabi' - the 'poet of the world', the 'Global Person' in the true sense of the word! The images eloquently reflect the words, and the music charmingly evokes the beauty that Tagore describes. I'm glad that I was able to listen to it and share it on my blog.

If these poems are translated into hindi or english by competent translators, it will open the doors to others including non-bengalis and even Europeans to appreciate Tagore's poems beyond 'Gitanjali'.

On May 10, 2007 our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh Thursday switched on the telecast of Rabindranath Tagore's anthology of poems 'Gitanjali' - in Hindi - on the 'Doordarshan' - the national channel - on the occasion of the poet's 146th birth anniversary. (National broadcaster Prasar Bharti, ran a year-long programme of Tagore's poems in Hindi on DD national channel every Sunday morning for half an hour). On this day, the Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee released a set of 10 digital video discs containing 40 songs of Tagore rendered in Hindi. The Information and Broadcasting Minister, Priyaranjan Dasmunsi said that his objective was to introduce the rich and vast 'Tagore literature' to Indians who do not speak Bengali.

Given below are the links to 'Gitanjali' - English and Hindi versions:

1) http://www.scribd.com/doc/8712342/Geetanjali-by-Tagore-in-English - Rabindranath Tagore's 'Gitanjali' in English.

2) http://www.scribd.com/doc/8712284/Geetanjali-iby-Tagore-in-Hindi - 'Gitanjali' by Tagore in Hindi.

Photograph: Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore with his wife Mrinalini Devi, circa 1883.


  1. I found this blog very informative and I loved the songs. I had never listened to 'Jana Gana Mana' in Tagore's own voice. Thanks for the link.

  2. Rajdeep said: I like the songs you put up. Ei Kotha Ti Mone Rekho, Tora Je Ja Bolish Bhai, Akash Bhora Surjo Tara, Ja Re Ure Ja re Pakhi. I have always liked Tagore's voice which seems to have an enchanting quality hard to put down in words. I have heard that his voice had been much deeper than is made out in the old recording. I do not know the truth about that statement, but I like his voice all the same as in the recordings. (Hope the time machine is invented in our lifetime so that we can find out!) I like Borsha songs on the theme of the rainy season and songs sung by Debobroto Biswas. This is the first time I heard Jono Gono Mono in Tagore's own voice. Bhora thak ... well, now I am getting emotional ...! Keep up the good work!

  3. Hi roshmi,

    I m looking for the hindi song 'Mere Chit Mein' sung by Kavita Krishnamurthy which is a hindi translation of the poem ('Momo Chitte Niti Nritye') by Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore. The youtube link that u provided dosnt exist anymore. Although I've the song sung by Arati Mukherjee and I can listen to it n number of times I just want to know the lyrics. Plz help me out.


  4. @ Mahesh: Thanks a bunch! Glad you liked it :)

  5. @ Aasif: Welcome to my blog!

    Well, I tried to find an alternative link... but no luck so far :(

    I do not have the lyrics for 'Mere Chit Mein'. If I come across it in future... will post it immediately. For sure!

  6. Hey... iam also looking for the song " mere chit mein " sung by kavita krishnamurthi. Plz help me find it. Its an amazing mesmerising composition, music directed by Shri premendu Chaki. I saw the video of the song on DD-Bharati channel, where Divya Dutta is hosting the programme called Gitamjali.

  7. to all Rabindrasangeeth fans ,
    true that Rabindra sangeeth song "mere chit mein" was refreshing please help me find any links to that song sung by Kavitha ji.
    I remember long time back in 80's a Bengali film had this song sung greatly and we recorded it on a tape,now in 2010 lost the tape,sigh !.

    Long live Rabindrasangeeth Love u!

  8. Sorry there is no link of "mere chit mein" it was produced by myself, if you interested to know more then you can write alokundu@gmail.com

  9. Hi Friends, "mere chit mein" that song & the Series gitanjali was produced by me if you need to have the lyric of the song you can contact at alokundu@gmail.com Alo Kundu

  10. @ Anon: Well, I have not come across any other link... to that song... yet. Will put up once I come across one...

  11. @ Alo: Thanks a bunch... and welcome here.

  12. @ Roshmi are you interested about the lyric in Hindi of those songs? which you mention earlier i can provide the Hindi lyric of those songs. if you or your friends interested about the Hindi lyric you can write me alokundu@gmail.com