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Tagore Festival 2013 held in Canada

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Update: 2013-09-19 06:18:36
Tagore Festival 2013 held in Canada

DHAKA: The world famous writer of all age Rabindrananath Tagore has been recently remembered again hugely in Canada through West Coast Tagore Festival 2013.

The South Asian Renaissance man and polymath, Rabindranath Tagore (7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941), was a poet, novelist, musician, painter and playwright who reshaped Bengali literature and music.

At the same time he was a social reformer, educator, the ultimate humanist, environmentalist, champion of women’s rights, internationalist and an idealist philosopher who was considered among the great living men of his age whose voice was heard and listened to all over the world.

Tagore  espoused  a spirituality  that  transcended  religion,  followed  a humanism  that  transcended  nationalism, promoted  a  civilization  that  transcended  man-made  boundaries.  

He believed Man would ultimately rise to shed barriers of his own creation between civilizations, cultures, religions, languages and ethnicity.  His life work and writings provide a guide in the crisis of civilization which man faces today. Even these days his vision provides a beacon for our collective social consciousness.

The Mayor of the city of Richmond Malcolm Brodie inaugurated the third annual West Coast Tagore Festival on Saturday September 14, paying brief but rich tribute to Rabindranath Tagore and reiterating that Richmond is a central place where multiculturalism is celebrated and different community organizations are strongly supported to showcase their cultural diversity to fellow Canadians.

For the third year in a row the festival was hosted by Vancouver Tagore Society with generous support from the City of Richmond.

The Mayor was presented with a bouquet of flowers by founding-director and treasurer of Vancouver Tagore Society Raihan Akhter. A congratulatory letter from Premier of British Columbia, Ms Christy Clark, was read by Society founding-director and secretary Duke Ashrafuzzaman; and another such letter from the Honourable Consul General of India Shri Ravi Shankar Aisola was read by Society director Amlan Das Gupta.

A number of partner organizations including World Poetry Richmond, Writers International Network Canada, Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast and Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society participated in the Festival, with Vancouver Coop Radio and Shaw Multicultural Channel being the media partner.

After the inaugural speech by Mayor Brodie, the day`s program began with an opening dance by Keya Ghosh to the tune of Tagore song "Nobo Anande Jago" which was followed by the welcome speech of president of Vancouver Tagore Society, Lee Tan.

The morning session continued with Tagore songs, dance with Tagore poem by volunteers, followed by performances of Tagore songs, poetry and dance with Tagore song by Bengali children from greater Vancouver.

The afternoon session began with the trademark Woven Tapestry of Words by the World Poetry Reading Series. Multi-lingual poets Jemma Downes (English), Bong Ja Ahn (Korean), Frederico Gordo (Japanese), Selene Bertelsen (Middle English), Sanzida Habib Swati (Bengali) and others read different parts of Tagore`s poem "Thou Art the Sky" in different languages.

World Poetry presentation also included a delightful song by Selene Bertelsen. The session contained dances by Fayeza Islam, and Soumyee and Shaily Gupta, an audio-drama adapted from Tagore`s short story Punishment, written and directed by Debashis Mukerji (Director of Vancouver Tagore Society).

Ashok Bhargava, founder and president of Writers International Network Canada, presented a talk on how the works of Kabir, a 15th-century mystic poet, inspired and influenced Rabindranath Tagore. This talk was followed by presentation of Tagore`s poems and poems on Tagore by four renowned poets from the greater Vancouver area, Bong Ja Ahn, Bernice Lever, Carol Shillibeer and Lilija Valis.

The grand finale of the day was an hour-long scripted presentation of Tagore`s songs, poetry and dance on the theme of “The Woman in Tagore`s Dance Dramas”. Amlan Das Gupta wrote the script and directed the segment while renowned musician Sabuj Mazumder was in charge of music direction.

The cultural program was hosted by Duke Ashrafuzzaman, the beautiful screens that formed the backdrop was created by Shakhawat Hossain and the entire event was skillfully coordinated by Raihan Akhter with the help of a number of dedicated volunteers.

On the eve of the Festival on Friday, Dr. Sanzida Habib Swati and Duke Ashrafuzzaman hosted a 2-hour session that included a slide show of some paintings of Rabindranath Tagore. Dr. Tirthankar Bose, professor emeritus of Simon Fraser University and vice-president of Vancouver Tagore Society talked about the unique style and salient points of Tagore`s paintings.

After a video presentation of a short documentary, The Story of Gitanjali by Reba Som, poets from the World Poetry Reading Series, Selene Bertelsen, Jemma Downes, Anita Aguirre Nieveras and Frederico Gordo read poems honouring Rabindranath Tagore written by themselves or by fellow international poets.

This sort of programs can keep this great legend alive into the world’s people hearts for thousands of years with love, respect and dignity.

BDST: 1540 HRS, SEP 19, 2013
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