A true Tagorean
We had a mutual friend named Manjur Karim. Whenever he called Chanchal Khan, he would say, "Hello Chanchal, Ami shudurer o piyashi" (I have a thirst for that yonder), and both would burst into laughter. Our friend suddenly passed away in year 2014, leaving both of us with the Gitobitan in our hands. Indeed Tagore appears in our day to day life, in every aspect, from the frivolous to the meditative sage, he is always present. The frivolous (Chanchal) therefore, took to the words of the sage (Tagore) and became an ardent fan of the world yonder.
Chanchal Khan traveled for his studies, earned a PhD in Public Policy from Washington, took various positions in Bangladesh and as a Consultant abroad, but his thirst for the world yonder compelled him to reach out. Sometimes he established cultural havens in places where he worked (USA, Nepal and Australia). They offer musical lessons to numerous students of both Bengali and other ethnic origins. The schools are titled Shurolok in Australia and Anondolok in Nepal.
His passion is singing, propagating and translating the songs of Tagore. He took formal training in Tagore songs from Chayanaut, but that was during his formative years; he mostly became a self taught exponent and performed in local channels as well as in India.
Chanchal Khan directed Tagore's famous play Balmiki Protibha, a joint Bangladesh-India venture in 2010. In 2011 he directed a documentary titled Bangladeshe Rabindranath which was in association with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Bangladesh. In 2014, Chanchal released a second documentary titled Timeless Gitanjali sponsored by the India-Bangladesh foundation. Both were well received by the critics.
He has lent his voice to several short plays, in a serial from West Bengal and has directed the recordings of many eminent artists. He has many compact discs of Tagore songs available in the market, among them notable are 13 parody songs of Tagore, recorded in his voice.
Chanchal Khan has found within himself a new direction, which is painting. He has also taken to translating the songs of Tagore. I recall Professor Dr. Anisur Rahman having an exhibition where various painters had their pieces on display; the pieces were based on the songs of Rabindranath Tagore.
In his acceptance speech of the Nobel Prize, Tagore wrote: I remember the afternoon when I received the cablegram from my publisher in England that the prize had been awarded to me. I was staying then at the school Shantiniketan, about which I suppose you know. At that moment we were taking a party over to a forest nearby school, and when I was passing by the telegram office and the post office, a man came running to us and held up the telegraphic message. I had also an English visitor with me in the same carriage. I did not think that the message was of any importance, and I just put it into my pocket, thinking that I would read it, when I reached my destination. But my visitor supposed he knew the contents, and he urged me to read it, saying that it contained an important message. And I opened and read the message, which I could hardly believe. I first thought that possibly the telegraphic language was not quite correct and that I might misread the meaning of it, but at last I felt certain about it. And you can well understand how rejoicing it was for my boys at the school and for the teachers. What touched me more deeply than anything else was that these boys who loved me and for whom I had the deepest love felt proud of the honour that had been award to him for whom they had feeling of reverence, and l realized that my countrymen would share with me the honour which had been awarded to myself.
The joy is when others you love are proud of you. Great, follow the path Chanchal Khan.
Nashid Kamal is an academic, Nazrul exponent and translator.