Rabindra Nath Tagore

Jodi Tor daak shune keu naa se tobe ekla cholo re
Tobe ekla cholo, ekla cholo, ekla cholo, ekla cholo Re
Tobe poraan khule o tui mukh phute tor moner kothaa, eklaa Bolo
(If they answer not to thy call walk alone
If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
O thou unlucky one,
open thy mind and speak out alone) – Dr. Rabindra Nath Tagore

Dr. Rabindra Nath Tagore, had a hectic year, with being knighted by the British after the Nobel Peace Prize in 1914, to deliver lectures at different places across India. He decided to go to a hill station to unwind and relax; Kashmir happened to be a place of interest for him. Rabindranath Tagore visited Kashmir on October 15, 1915, but he wasn’t alone. He was accompanied by his son, wife and fellow poet Satyendra Nath Dutta. When he came to Kashmir, he was captivated by the sheer beauty of this place, the snow capped mountains, the lush jungles and the awe striking rivers and lakes. Tagore would spend his time composing poetry along the banks of Jhelum, and one of his most famous poems “Balaka” (Fight of the Cranes) was composed in Kashmir, alongside the river Jhelum. He had this to say about how the Jhelum inspired him to write “Balaka”- “I was in Kashmir. One evening, I sat by the river Jhelum. There was stillness all around. I felt I was sitting beside the Padma. Of course, when I lived on the banks of Padma I was a young man, now I am old. Yet that difference seemed to have been wiped out by some link transcending time. A flock of geese flew over my head across Jhelum…I seemed to hear some ineffable call, and be led by its impulse to some far journey.” During his stay in Kashmir, he was visited by many aspiring poets of Kashmir and was invited by them as well. One of the most prominent invitations he accepted was of Pandit Anand Koul, at whose place he had a poetic gathering with the valley’s famous poets. Some say Mehjoor was also present, but it’s an unconfirmed fact. His journey was more spiritual than just a leisurely visit; he felt that he was in a state of nirvana in Kashmir, and that was what he took with him when he went back.

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