The Last Visit of Rabindranath Tagore and the Continuum of his Legacy in Allahabad – III

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Here’s the third and concluding part of the three-part article on Tagore and his Allahabad connection. Arindam suggests that the Central/State governments need to act and help preserve the Allahabad legacy of Tagore, exclusively in Different Truths.

In 1935, at the age of 74 Tagore came to Allahabad for the last time with his musical troupe to perform and raise funds for Vishwa Bharati. Tagore requested Chintamani Babu’s son Hari Keshav Ghosh (popularly known as Patal Babu), who was heading the Indian Press then to make arrangements for a hall where Tagore can perform. Hari Keshav Ghosh could have easily said Indian Press and Tagore agreement was over in 1923 so why should he take the burden, but no like the able son of an able father Hari Keshav Ghosh talked to Gandhi, the owner of Palace Theatre to provide with his hall to Tagore free. Initially, Gandhi agreed but when he came to know that Tagore was raising funds he refused at the last minute to give his hall for free.

Hari Keshav Ghosh could have informed Tagore of this fact, instead, he made a hall almost overnight in the Chintamani Ghosh building in the heart of the city at Civil Lines. On 19th March, 1935, Tagore staged his work Chitrangada. Hari Keshav Ghosh provided the hall free to Tagore. Tagore’s Chitrangada was well appreciated, he raised funds by selling tickets for the show, thanked Hari Keshav Babu and left. The purpose behind making the hall was solely to oblige Tagore. The hall is now popularly known as Raj Karan Palace (formerly Regent, Plaza, Kalpana). This shows the love that Indian Press had for Tagore even after their agreement came to an end a decade back.

In 2007, Indian Press with help of Bengali Social and Cultural Association, Allahabad installed a bust of Tagore at Tagore Park, Tagore Town, Allahabad.

In 2013, Indian Press celebrated the centenary of Tagore’s Nobel winning feat, Honourable President of India, Pranab Mukherjee was the chief guest along with the then Governor of Uttar Pradesh, His Excellency B. L. Joshi. On this occasion busts of Babu Chintamani Ghosh was installed at Jagat Taran Girls’ Inter College, the building donated by Babu Chintamani Ghosh, in 1919, for girls’ education. A bust of Tagore was installed in the newly renovated air-conditioned auditorium at Jagat Taran Golden Jubilee School and the auditorium named after Tagore “Rabindralaya”.

In 2016, Indian Press along with K.P. Group of Institutions and Anglo Bengali Inter College celebrated 150 years of Ramananda Chattopadhyay, the man instrumental in bonding Tagore and Indian Press. The chief guest on the occasion was His Excellence Governor of Uttar Pradesh Ram Naik. Even today, Indian Press with Bengali Social and Cultural Association celebrates Tagore’s birthday 25th Baisakh and mark his death anniversary 22nd Shravan by garlanding the bust of Tagore and under the auspices of Jagat Taran Education Society staging a cultural programme at Rabindralaya Auditorium.

Taking into consideration of the association Tagore had with the city of Allahabad and Indian Press, the Central and State ministries of Culture should open a Rabindralaya or Rabindra Bhawan at Allahabad with the aim of preserving and maintaining Tagore’s archives to celebrate his Allahabad legacy. The house Shantavas situated at 6, Hamilton Road, where Tagore stayed and gave finishing touch to a large number of his works like Gitanjali, Gitali, Balaka, and others should be bought by the government to make it a heritage house before it is sold and falls prey to building mafias and become a concrete jungle.

Tagore was not only a great internationally renowned poet but a master musician, dramatist, director, artist, painter, he was also a great visionary and visualised the emergence of globalisation almost a century before. Tagore’s multi facet dimension can only be revealed and exhibited by setting up a Rabindra Bhawan so that Tagore is not only just remembered today as a subject of PhD topic or the poet who composed the National Anthem. Without the aid and help of State or Central ministries of Culture, constructing a Rabindra Bhawan in Allahabad will always remain unfulfilled dream. We will continue to remember the legendary poet on two occasions each year 25th Baisakh and 22nd Shravan and may again gear up in 2061 to celebrate Tagore’s 200 years just like we celebrated Tagore’s 150 years in 2011 and our ancestors his Centenary in 1961.

It’s time to act rather than pay lip service to the great poet.

©Arindam Ghosh

Photos from the Internet

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Arindam Ghosh is a Director of 133 years old printing press (Indian Press) holding degrees in MBA (Finance), Law and Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is a qualified advocate and writes occasionally in several journals, magazines, and books. Recently has written a book on Tagore and the Indian Press.