Kolkata: Are the cacophonous, chaotic roads of Kolkata game for a Tagore melody?
For, playing soulful Rabindra Sangeet at traffic signals is the Mamata Banerjee government`s solution to easing the rough ride on the city`s roads - though not everyone is singing its praise.
Songs composed by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore will be played from loudspeakers fitted at signals here whenever the red light comes on.
A pilot project will take off at two major intersections near the state secretariat Writers` Building and the state assembly. The scheme is part of a Rs.10 lakh project to beautify the city before the Durga Puja festival in October.
While singers and intellectuals are enthused, it has invited snide remarks from the main opposition Left Front.
Mohammad Salim of the Communist Party of India-Marxist drips sarcasm.
"They (Banerjee`s Trinamool) have let loose so much violence and committed such atrocities over the years that they now need the cover of Rabindranath to make people forget those days," Salim told reporters.
Another Left Front partner, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), said it amounted to "trivialising" Rabindra Sangeet (as Tagore songs are called).
"A primary feature of Tagore compositions is the depth of the songs. In the cacophony of the streets, one cannot soak in the spirit of such songs," said Khiti Goswami, a top RSP leader.
But noted painter Suvaprasanna differs.
"Our chief minister has some dreams for Kolkata. She wants it to regain its halcyon days when it was one of the leading and beautiful cities of the world. The plan to use strains of Rabindra Sangeet at traffic signals should be seen in that light," he said.
"But we have to first control use of car horns to reduce the cacophony on the streets," the painter added.
Veteran singer Haimanti Shukla said, "I am so happy. Tagore songs are a class in themselves. I am looking forward to enjoying them," Shukla told reporters.