Tagore`s ancestral property in ruins in Orissa

Last Updated: Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 09:25

Kendrapara: As the country celebrates Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore`s 150th birth
anniversary, the Nobel laureate remains unsung and unrecognised in a village in coastal Orissa which once was his home.

The bard`s ancestral house at Pandua village under Kujang tehsil in Jagatsinghpur village faces the imminent threat of being reduced to rubble in the absence of any conservation
effort.

The house was one of his most preferred retreats and it was here that the poet had penned his immortal dance drama `Chitrangada` based on Pandava prince Arjun`s visit to Manipur
and his marriage to the valiant princess by that name.

Pandua was a part of the erstwhile vast zamindary estate of the Tagores and like other rural settings, the village portrays poverty, backwardness and unemployment.

The neglect is evident as the drive down to the village on a winding road is nightmarish as it is full of potholes.

The locals have named the village road that connects it
to the highway as Rabindra Sarani. But the road expansion work
has left the stone plaque on which the road`s name is
inscribed twisted and uprooted. Tagore`s bust in the village
is uncared for and covered with thick layers of dust.

"The Orissa government has completely ignored the great
poet here," says Basudeb Das, a researcher.

"We are proud that our village once housed a great son of
the country. But we are sad at the same time that nobody seems
bothered to preserve Tagore`s legacy," says Surendra Nath
Swain, a retired school teacher.

Swain rues the condition of Tagore`s house. "It is in
complete ruins. The 1999 super cyclone ravaged it. Now the
apathy of the government is appalling. It will be soon reduced
to rubble. It could have been well preserved and turned into a
major tourist destination."

Pandua, he said, was one of the 53 villages that
comprised the Tagore estate and noted Tagore biographer
Prabhat Kumar Mukherji in his book `Rabindra Jeevan Katha` had
mentioned the name of the village.

"I was a member of the Tagore birth centenary committee.
The late chief minister Harekrushna Mahatabh had paid a visit
to the village and had also committed that the Tagore house
would be preserved at government cost. He had also assured
that an auditorium named after Tagore would be built at the
village.

That was the lone occasion when a VIP paid a visit to
the village housing Tagore`s ancestral property. The
auditorium was built at Bhubaneswar. The Rabindra Mandap
auditorium complex in the state capital was originally
planned to be located at Pandua, he said.

Though the government agencies forgot, Tagore`s 150th
birth anniversary last week was celebrated in a function
organised by local Rabindranath Youth Club.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 09:25

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