Professor Emeritus Serajul Islam Chowdhury on the session ‘Rabindranath and English Language Essays, Translations and Letters’

Shadman Muhtasim Chowdhury
The two-day ‘Rabindra Utsab’ concluded on Wednesday at the capital’s National Museum, with a vow to uphold the achievements of World Poet Rabindranath Tagore and making it easier for the mass people to understand his work. The speakers expressed their views and ideas on the large volume of work left behind by the renowned poet.
Organized by Rabindra Academy, the festival was inaugurated on Tuesday by Professor Emeritus Anisuzzaman with the International Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr Gowher Rizvi as the chief guest. Rabindra Academy President Azizur Rahaman Aziz was

Ramendu Majumdar concluding the session ‘Rabindra Natok’

present as the chair, while the opening ceremony was addressed by Dhaka University Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Pro-VC) Muhammad Samad who was the special guest. The inaugural speech was delivered by Rabindra Academy’s General Secretary Bulbul Mahalanbish.

Renowned actor Pijush Bandyopadhyay at the session ‘Rabindra Natok’

The second day’s seminar began with a session on ‘Rabindra Natok’ at the Nalini Kanta Bhattasali Auditorium and Cineplex. The keynote speech of the session was given by renowned dramatist Ataur Rahman. Other speakers included television actors Lucky Enam and Pijush Bandyopadhyay. The seminar was headed by Ramendu Majumdar with the General Secretary of Rabindra Academy Bulbul Mahalanbish conducting the whole session. Many notable guests were present in the audience among whom were the Editor-in-Chief of Bangladesh Post Sharif Shahab Uddin. Dramatist Ataur Rahman in his presentation touched over the superstitions and the political issues Tagore tried to address in his writings. Actor Lucky Enam said, “In ‘Bisorjon’ I portrayed the character of Aparna. The drama was a great experience for me. When Aparna sang in the play trying to impress Jayoshinga, it was very hard to express. It was written beautifully by Tagore where he expressed his solidarity with the ongoing political movement of that time. The play ‘Bisorjon’ should be performed frequently to spread the message left behind by Tagore as he expressed in his own words- ‘Bloodshed has to be stopped, wars have to be prevented in order to restore peace in the world’”.
This was followed by a seminar on ‘Rabindranath and English Language: Essays, Translations and Letters’, headed by Professor Emeritus Serajul Islam Chowdhury of Dhaka University. The keynote speech was given by Professor Shafi Ahmed, former head of English department, Jahangirnagar University. The other speaker of the session was Professor Fakrul Alam, English Department, Dhaka University. Emphasizing on the essays of Tagore, the translations of his works and the letters written by him Professor Seraj stated, “When speaking about the translated works of Rabindranath, in reference to Gitanjali, it is very hard to translate a poem. Robert Frost stated that a poem is lost when it is translated. While a poem may be translated, it is difficult to include the rhymes, songs and a background form the original version. He was awarded with the Nobel Prize, that too as the first Non-European writer and the reason for that was, Europe was waiting for such an extraordinary discovery which provided them with solace from the ongoing wars and inequality. His writing provided an alternate voice to a civilization that was different from theirs.”
The festival ended with an evening of cultural programmes being held at the museum’s main auditorium. Professor Md Akhtaruzzaman, Vice Chancellor (VC), Dhaka University was present as the chief guest with Md Abdul Mannan Ilias, Director General, Bangladesh National Museum as the special guest.