New Delhi: A major project jointly launched by India and Bangladesh aims to dramatise some of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore`s short stories, novels and poems into an anthology of 24 plays.
"Rabindra Sahitya Natyayan" (Dramatisation of Tagore`s Literature) is a part of a literary outreach campaign to make the poet relevant to the masses on his 150th birth anniversary.
Culture Secretary Jawhar Sircar said: "We have undertaken an extensive dramatisation of Tagore`s poetry, novel and short stories so that they are remembered as performances in an age when more people hear and see than read."
He said 10 young playwrights from Bangladesh and 14 from India will "delve into the treasures and convert them into dramas".
The project is being supported by the International Theatre Institute, a global theatre platform that promotes theatre for world peace and as a means of cultural exchange under the umbrella of UNESCO.
According to Ramendu Mazumdar, president of the International Theatre Institute, "the young playwrights will meet in Shantiniketan for a 10-day workshop mid-June to discuss and dramatise the literary works of Tagore that they have chosen".
"They will be guided by senior playwrights," Dhaka-based Mazumdar, who was in India for two days as part of a cultural delegation from Bangladesh, told IANS.
"We had advertised in newspapers and received several applications. We chose from the entries," Mazumdar said.
"The plays will be published in a volume and staged later. They will add to the body of existing plays by Tagore," he added. The medium will be Bengali to begin with.
Tagore was known for his powerful plays that reflected socio-cultural milieu and realities of his time.
They touched on controversial themes like women`s empowerment, discrimination against castes, marginalisation of fringe ethnic groups, conflicts of faith and even threat to ecology - concepts that were new to that time.
His characters come across as radical; and the plots were dramatic.
The poet was known to have staged his plays at home in Jorasakno with members of his family, including women, and later at Shantiniketan.
Some of his popular plays include "Visarjan", "Rakta Karabi", "Shesher Kabita", "Dak Ghar", "Baikunther Khata", "Chirakumar Sabha", "Shesh Rakkha" and "Achalaytan".
Interpretation and conservation of Tagore`s literature and manuscripts forms an important component of the joint endeavour undertaken by the India and Bangladesh governments to celebrate the poet`s 150th birth anniversary, Sircar said.
The Dhaka-based Bangla Academy, which promotes Bengali as language and medium of literature in Bangladesh, will publish 30 books on Tagore in 2011-2012.
"Three treatises on Tagore have already been published and fourth book, `Social and Mental Thinking of Tagore` by Anisur Rahman of Dhaka University will be published next week," Shamsuzzaman Khan, director general of the Bangla Academy, told IANS.
Khan was a part of the cultural delegation from Bangladesh.
In the pipeline is a 1,000-page biography of Tagore, a reprint of "Nasta Nir" (Tagore`s novella), "Ektu Khani Rabindranath" (A Bit of Tagore), Khan said.