While studying in class seven, I had a prose piece called ‘Guni Rabindranath’ published in the Kachi-Kachhar Asar of Ittefaq. It was the seventies. Ittefaq was the top circulation daily in Bangladesh. Ittefaq was kept in homes in Bangladesh. I was a student of Nawabpur School. Walk from Wari Hare Street house to school via Bangram Road BCC Road Kaptan Bazar. A classmate of my age used to live in Bangram. On the morning after the publication of Ittefa, I met him in Bangram on his way to school. We walk side by side towards school. At that time, he said, Kailka Ittefa was published under Rabindranath Tagore’s name.
– Imane ka to dost, who wrote the text?
I said with a sly smile to tackle the goat who was in the same class at the same school
– You got it right!
Hearing my answer, he gave a smile of a world conqueror
–Hah ha ha. I knew it wasn’t your writing. How do you know so much? Really kaira ka to dost, who wrote the text?
— My father.
The boy was happy to hear the answer! Seeing his happiness, my heart also became cheerful.
There was no great research on Rabindranath. That was the discovery of the breadth of Rabindranath’s genius in the eyes of a young teenager like me. Why is he a world poet? Why and when he won the Nobel Prize. Why is he so big? Why do we read his writings in text books?
A teenager like me wrote that weak but well-informed essay on him out of sheer curiosity. But suspecting that my simple essay was written by someone else, the boy pointed at me that day and explained that–I am slightly ahead of my peers. It created a kind of confidence in me. The incident also inspired me to become a resident of another world from my peer group of friends.
Not only a poet’s poetry is a must-read in a text book, but a different curiosity towards that poet also made me curious about him. That’s why when classmates read his poetry only to pass exams, I was interested to get to know him a little more deeply. I know and am surprised.
Rabindranath is therefore ‘my Rabindranath’ from that youth.
I grew up reading Rabindranath. Listen to Rabindranath. When my classmate did not read any other poems of Rabindranath outside the text book, did not listen to any of Rabindranath’s songs except the National Anthem, did not even know that Rabindranath was the author and composer of countless songs except ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’, then I played the harmonium on the stage of the Kachi-Kachhar Mela and led the singing team. Let the children sing Rabindranath’s song–‘We are all kings under the reign of this king/ Otherwise we will meet the son of my king/ We are all kings’….
Rabindranath Kishore took me by the hand and dragged me into a dreamy world that is indescribably beautiful. One day, a boy younger than me, whose name was probably Joy? , recited — a poem by Rabindranath titled ‘Veerpurush’
–‘Think like you’re traveling abroad/ I’m taking my mother far away/ You’re going with her in the palanquin/ With the two doors a little open/ I’m going on a colored horse/ Togbogi side by side with you’…
In the story of that poem, evening came.
…’In the evening, the sun shines / Elem is like in the field of Joradighi / It washes where I want to drink / There are no people anywhere’…
In the story, a group of dacoits came to attack the mother’s palanquin. Mother closed her eyes in fear and kept chanting the name of Tagore. Then his brave son raised his sword and advanced to protect his mother. There was a terrible fight. Killing the robbers (‘Hearing that they will put a thorn on your head / How many people ran away in fear / How many people’s heads fell off’)
Then her heroic son rescued the mother from dire danger. Mother then says–
‘…fortunately the boy was with me / what misery would have happened if not’…
This poem of Rabindranath threw the boy Riton into a frenzy that day. I could easily see myself in the place of that boy in the poem. And I could see my mother inside the palanquin. (At sixty-seven years old, I still see it.)
Then, slowly growing up, I discovered that this mother is not only my mother. This mother in the palanquin is the motherland!
Just as his son has to jump with a sword to protect the mother of Palki from the hands of robbers, so also her ‘heroic son’ has to protect the country mother from the hands of the enemy! The mother of the country may have said with utmost affection – ‘Fortunately, the boy was with me/ What misery would have happened otherwise’!
Here, at this stage, Rabindranath became very big for me. I was shocked in surprise. He became a bower in the eyes of the newly-pubescent Riton.
At that time, while re-reading some of his poems like ‘Our Little River’ which I had read in my textbooks as a child, I rediscovered Rabindranath. Hey!–‘Our small river’ is not just a poem for children! In this poem, the picture of human life, the different stages of a person is drawn in the symbolic imagery of the river!
For example–‘Our small river runs in bends (the path of life is not simple, it has many bends). In the month of Baisakh he has knee water’ (this knee water is a man’s childhood).
…’Ashahe badal name nadi bhar bhar/ Matiya chhya chali dhara khartar’ (The river with knee-deep water is now full of youth, i.e. the man is adorned with youthful glow).
…’Ek dare Kashaban phule phule shada’ (this kashaban is the white hair and tears of a full-grown old man).
Oh Rabindranath Tagore, my Rabindranath!
Rabindranath himself had to take refuge in the collective voice to welcome the Bengali New Year–Come O Baisakh Come Come.
Everyone has seen the one standing on a palm tree beyond all the trees and peering into the sky. But who said it first? Said Rabindranath. –‘The palm tree stands on one leg/ Beyond all the trees/ Peeks into the sky’…
Rabindranath was the first to write the scene seen by all, and we all noticed after reading it–Oh that’s right!
Oh Rabindranath Tagore, my Rabindranath!
The day goes by.
i grow up
Rabindranath gradually became more and more mine.
He became an important part of my life.
Became the main accessory.
In June 2001, I joined the Tokyo Embassy as First Secretary. The BNP Jamaat alliance won the state power after defeating the Awami League in the November elections. Bangladesh of the liberation war continued to take a U-turn in a dangerous way, against the current of freedom. Officially sitting in power the next day, 17 high-ranking people were dismissed out of which 16 were working in Bangladesh and only one was working abroad, and that was me. If someone is working abroad, he has to call back first. Then you have to work. But it was not accepted in my case due to political vendetta. The BNP Jamaat coalition government did not lose my job. He also blocked my way back. Salary allowance stopped. They don’t even give a return ticket to the country. Without a salary I was stuck in the horrible scratchy city of Tokyo.
Distressed, I listened to a Rabindranath song repeatedly on the cassette player. The cassette was gifted to me by my friend Sharaful Islam. The first line of the song sung by Rezwana Chowdhury Bannya, which was constantly heard every day, was–‘Nare nare hobe na tor swarg sadhan’….
It was only then that I began to feel that my heaven, that is, my country, was being taken away from me, my country was moving away from me.
‘No, no, no, your paradise will not happen–/ There lies the sweet bond of happiness to trap/ I thought that at the end of the day, at the end of the hot path/ All the crying of the whole day will disappear in the golden cloud/ No, no, no, it will not be yours. , it won’t be–/ Your bed will not be under the smile of the evening star…/ The wayfarer will drive you out of the way–/ Your heart that bursts and swells, but his adoration…
In one part of this song especially when Banya sings– ‘Na re, na re, hobe na tor, hobe na ta–/ Under the laughter of the evening star will not be your bed sheet’….
My eyes were filled with water. Rabindranath clearly indicated to me in his sentence–Your bed sheet will not be under the smile of the evening stars–You will not return to the lap of Bangladesh soon. You will not be able to sleep under the smile of the evening stars of Bangladesh…
This is how my Rabindranath warned me in this song in 2001.
Cruel fate then brought me from Tokyo to New York and from New York to Ottawa, Canada. Already my red diplomatic passport has been cancelled. Then I applied for a new green passport as a citizen of Bangladesh at the Bangladesh Embassy in Ottawa. But I was not given the passport of Bangladesh that I deserved. At that time, the BNP Jamaat coalition government detained me in Canada for seven years as a citizen without a passport.
I want to go back to Bangladesh.
But I am not allowed to go.
Then another song of Rabindranath–‘When you don’t see my footprints in this butt/ I am Baibo na Mor Kheer Tari Ei Ghate Go’ made me yearn and made me yearn hundreds of times!
When Rezwana Chowdhury Banya sings Rabindranath’s words and tunes on the CD player–‘Then who says go sei prabhate nei ami’……Ahare……I am living broken into pieces by the terrible pain of not being able to return home. Rolled on the floor of the room and cried! In the phrase ‘Ke bale go sei prabhate nei ami’, I can see the Bangla Academy book fair, Shilpakala Academy square, TSC Dhaka University campus, Bangla Motor World Literature Center, dear dear people, dear dear face, Oligli of Old Dhaka in my blurry eyes with teary blurred eyes. The path of the village, the wind blowing in the paddy fields, the mustard fields wrapped in yellow carpets, the wonderful rhythm of the Kosha boat crossing the river, the fried horn fish pieces and the rice smeared with mash kalai twigs… eat…cry. And do not stop!
Destiny brought me where!
Canadian skies are sparkling, blue.
White clouds play there.
How many shapes of those clouds!
I look for Rabindranath in that sky. But do not get!
Someone in the invisible whispers to me – Rabindranath is in the sky of Bengal.
You will not find him in this sky.
One afternoon in the fall season of Canada, sitting on a bench in the shade of a maple tree in a park along the banks of the Ottawa River, I am dejectedly praising Rabindranath–‘Amar Mukti Aloy Aloy Aye Akash’.
Suddenly I discovered in awe–what a Rabindranath Tagore the children of clouds floating in the sky of Canada have come together to embody!
Wow, there is Rabindranath in the sky of Canada!
Rabindranath is in the sky of Canada!
To tell the truth, Rabindranath lives with me like Bangladesh.
Wherever I go, no matter how far I go, Bangla and Ravi Tagore are all over my chest.
Bangla and Ravi Tagore are in my head. become a shadow become illusion
I am a rhyme man. My love or offering to Rabindranath should also be through rhymes. A poem written in the recent past has been presented in almost double form with new enthusiasm on the occasion of this year’s twenty-fifth Baisakh—-
My Tagore is Ravi Tagore
Lutfar Rahman Ritton
My Tagore is the poet Tagore
Ravi Tagore of Tagore house.
No matter where we go
Ravi is all over my heart.
Life is a bend in the road
Ravi lives with me.
Anandaloke at the festival
My sadness is my grief
The sun is like a shadow
Mother’s love is like Maya–
Ravi my hair
Light keeps light.
Ravi is my love
He speaks for me.
With all my love
Rabindranath sleeps, wakes up.
He is in the molecule of feeling
Nitya Meshe Nita Meshe.
When Jupiter is exalted–
Without Ravi there is no speed.
Heart dance heart dance
With Ravi Tagore!
There is no one else except Ravi
‘The sky is full of sun and stars’…
Ravi in my sigh
Floating in the wind Floating in the wind
Ravi knows the seasons
Knows cowards and cowards.
He is in all my troubles
Stand close to my chest.
A deep secret moan
I want to get that wire.
At all my perils
Rabi stands alone at the end
Drowning in loneliness
Ravi says – ‘go alone’!
In the sadness of humiliation
“In the power of crisis”
Weakness never ends.
… ‘The footprints will not be read’?
Whatever floats in tears
Dark green in the air
‘The waves play in the paddy fields’…
Ravi’s words in the waves
Leave any message?
‘Eyes drown in new grass’
Grass flower whose letter laughs?
At whose feet is a waterfall
Rabindranath in the stream of water.
In all my prayers
Rabindranath in his hands–
Smears the flower molecule
Wakes up by playing Benu
Zosna is in the Maya game of the night
In the clouds of the blue sky
Light the lamp in the evening
‘Among bad hearts’…
Darkness all around.
His ‘Fire Extinguisher’
Brings me back again
‘Some old soul pulls’…
who came He came!
‘The sun laughs in the lap of the clouds’…
“My freedom is in light”
My bad is my good
In the malaise of exile
The words in a wet voice
In a classical mantra-verse
What a magnificently extended pair of hands–
The lights are going out one by one
Tagore’s friend. Tagore’s friend.
The pitch black night is closing in
Rabi comes in enthusiasm.
Overcoming the darkness
With the message of the new day
The sun rises in the eastern sky
The yolk of light blooms again.
Again I stood up and turned around
Ravi’s music in Ravi’s tune.
Rabi shows me the way
Writes lyrics in poetry
This is how I live my life
The most tested
Rabindranath Tagore, Ravi–
My Tagore is my poet.