Lata Mangeshkar ushers in Rabindranath Tagore anniversary tribute

Kolkata: `Nightingale of India` Lata Mangeshkar along with her siblings, including Asha Bhonsle, led a musical night at a city auditorium Sunday to mark the 70th death anniversary of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced a three-day long celebrations to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore, starting ironically on Aug 8 which is his 70th death anniversary. The day has also been declared as a holiday in the state.

The 82-year-old Lata lent her voice to `Tomar holo shuru`, a famous Rabindra Sangeet which she had sung along side famous composer and singer Hemanta Mukhopadhyay.

The evening saw the Mangeshkar siblings Lata, Asha, Usha, Hridaynath and Meena all sharing the dais as a group. The musical evening also saw National Award winning director Rituparno Ghosh reciting creations of the bard along with several famed singers rendering Rabindra Sangeet.

"Tagore`s 150th birth anniversary has not been suitably celebrated so far. So we have decided to hold programmes around his death anniversary," Banerjee had earlier said, announcing the celebration.

Cultural programmes would be held in all schools, colleges, other educational institutions, government offices, state public sector undertakings and city police headquarters with the main programme organised at Netaji Indoor Stadium.

All government buildings, railways offices and stations across the state are to be lit up on the occasion.

Four huge and colourful rallies will be brought out from the Jorasanko Thakurbari - the poet`s ancestral house where he was born - Park Circus, College Square and Harish Mukherjee Road at 10 a.m. Monday.

All four rallies will terminate at Shahid Minar in the heart of the city.

Banerjee would join the rally from Harish Mukherjee Road.

She said the state government was also renovating a house in Mongpu village in Darjeeling district which hosted Tagore on several occasions.

"We have plans to set up a Nepali Academy there."

The state government has organised a cultural festival at Netaji Indoor Stadium here where leading singers and elocutionists will take part.

Tagore in 1913 became the first Asian Nobel laureate and the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for literature.

He also holds the distinction of having authored the national anthems of two sovereign nations -- India and Bangladesh, and his rich, diverse and vast literary ouvre is virtually unmatched in the world. He was also a painter and a composer par excellence.


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