Santiniketan/Kolkata: West Bengal Monday woke up to the strains of the sweet and deep melodies created by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, whose 150th birth anniversary is being celebrated in the state with songs, dances and poems of the bard.
From Kolkata's Jorasanko, where the poet-philosopher was born, to Santiniketan in Birbhum district, where he created the knowledge town of his dreams, people thronged in hundreds to pay their homage to the genius, whose appeal has remained largely undiminished even after 70 years of his death.
At Shantiniketan, where Tagore founded the Viswa Bharati university in 1921, the festivities began early morning with a "prabhat pheri" (morning choir) that went around the sprawling campus.
The teachers, employees, youths, children were all part of the choir as the knowledge- town wore a festive look.
With Rabindra Sangeet filling the air, the people then assembled at Chatimtala, the spot under a Chatim tree where the poet's father Debendranath had established an ashram way back in 1863, and took part in "Upasana" - a non-denominational and non-religious prayer.
Born on this day Vaisakha 25 according to Bengali calendar (May 7, 1861, according to the Roman calendar), Tagore in 1913 became the first Asian Nobel laureate and the first non-European to win the prize for literature.
He also holds the distinction of having authored the national anthems of two sovereign nations - India and Bangladesh.
The bard's rich, diverse and vast literary ouvre is virtually unmatched in the world. He was also a painter and a composer par excellence.
Sangeet Bhavan, the music faculty of the university, organised a programme where the works of the great poet were recited and sung by children.
To mark the occasion, commemorative five-rupee coins were given to all employees of the university.
An exhibition of Tagore's doodles has also been organised as part of the celebrations.
A piano concert will be staged Tuesday where 30 songs of Tagore will be played by renowned musician Jyotishka Dasgupta.
People from all walks of life queued at Jorasanko Thakurbari in north Kolkata, Tagore's sprawling ancestral home, since dawn to pay homage and respects to the bard and watch a cultural programme, where famed singers, elocutionists and dancers participated.
The room were Tagore was born was opened for the visitors.
The Rabindra Bharati Museum saw an unusually long line of visitors.
The museum contains more than 700 photographs and paintings of Tagore.
The union ministry of culture has organised an Indo-Bangladesh joint celebration in a city auditorium.
First Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 09:08