Today marks the 160th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, the polymath who reshaped Bengali music and literature. Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) organised an online programme to celebrate the day. As the country enforced restrictions on public movement to curb Covid-19 transmission, BSA opted to pay a tribute to the poet virtually, just as the year before.
The virtual event was hosted by singer Tapan Mahmud, and inaugurated by M Badrul Arefin, Secretary of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. It was presided by Liaquat Ali Lucky, Director General of BSA.
From poetry recitals to musical and dance performances, artistes celebrated the day by performing the works of Tagore. The programme was attended by renowned singer Nobonita Chowdhury, eminent dancer Sharmila Banerjee and her daughter, Sudeshna Swayamprabha, along with artistes Dalia Ahmed, Masukur E Satter Kallol, Nusrat Binte Nur, Aniruddha Sen Gupta, Fahim Hossain Chowdhury, and Salma Akbar among others.
"While it is true that artistes cannot perform in front of the audience as they used to, it is also true that the online platform is allowing us to perform together from different corners of the world, connecting us all," said M Badrul Arefin. " Rabindranath Tagore is eternal. He was a polymath who excelled in a variety of fields. We have a lot to learn from him."
The programme was aired live on BSA's Facebook page, as artistes performed from their respective homes.
Participants also spoke about the life and works of Tagore. In the opening act, Sharmila Banerjee and her daughter Sudeshna Swayamprava performed a dance to Dhai jeno mor Bhalobasha. Artistes also presented Tagore's works, such as Dariye acho tumi amar gaaner opare, Amar betha jokhon ane amay tomar dare, and Ami bohu bashonay pranpone chai among others.
"Tagore has left many lessons in his works and views that we can learn from during these turbulent times," said Liaquat Ali Lucky. "We want to face this crisis by celebrating life."
The author is a freelance journalist.