Swapan Gupta

Songs of Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore is India's greatest modern poet.  Winner of the Nobel Prize, he was a great educator and philosopher as well as a major dramatist and novelist.  His poems captured the heart of his native Bengal, and all of India; and when he travelled to the West, his acceptance as one of the finest writers of the world was immediate and overwhelming.  Ezra Pound, William Butler Yeats and Romain Rolland recognized him as their colleague in the shaping of literature in the modern world.

His poems have lived, through the whole of the twentieth century, as songs.  Known as Rabindra Sangeet, these songs are central to the warp and woof of the texture of life in Bengal: they are learned in classrooms, heard on the radio, sung at family gatherings, and sung quietly to oneself as Bengalis work and walk and move through the course of their lives.

In composing the Randinra Sangeet, Tagore drew on western music as well as classical Indian music, making significant use as well of the traditions of Indian devotional music and Bengali folk music.  Although Rabindra Sangeet have remained a deeply popular form of music, they have also been the province of great singers: the songs are so simple that anyone can sing them, and so deep and complex that great voices bring out their most profound and beautiful elements.

By clicking on the song titles below, you can hear Rabindra Sangeet sung by one of the most renowned singers in Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal, India -- Swapan Gupta.

[To contact Swapan Gupta, write him by email at swapangupta@hotmail.com]

The songs, and English summaries by Tapati Gupta, are listed below.

There are two sections. To hear the first six tracks, click on image below

 (If you don't have RealAudio, youc an download it for free by clicking here: REALAUDIO.  Make sure you sign up for the free version, not the free trial!)

1. Choker aloye dekhechhilem  A devotional song.
The poet wants to feel God with the light of his inner being.  He has been long engrossed in the external apprehension of being, but now his vision is turned inwards.

    The poet implores God to purify him through forgiveness.  Only then could he take refuge in the purity of God for whom he yearns with his entire being.

3.  Nai ba holo
Perhaps I shall never reach the other bank, never get on to the boat.  I can at least sit by the river and watch others sailing past.  What I have with me is enough, and what is unattainable will be compensated for by my life.  My whole day’s occupation will be to look towards the other bank with yearning and tears.

5.  Bani mor hani
I have no word, no light.  But like silent stars I wait with futile hope.  I hear your flute through an ocean of dreams and return the echo.  Does it penetrate this intense darkness to reach your dreams?

6.  Aji mormor dhoni
I hear footsteps within my being.  It awakens the whole of nature and wakes me up from slumber.  Who is it that comes demanding all that I possess?  My heart seems to know the answer and flowers bloom to music.

To hear the Second Part, also with six tracks, click on the Bengali text below:

1.  Tomaye natun kore pabo bole
I have to lose you over and over again so that I might possess you anew. O my beloved!  Your absence leads to the joy of reunion.  Though immersed in the world of transience you are actually timeless.  My search for you is tinged with anxiety and passion.

2.   Shapane dohe chhino ki mohe  A love song
The dream is now ended.  Before you go do leave something behind,. A tear-stained glance, so that parting is memorable.  Only sweet memories shall remain like the polestar or a melody…

3.  Eto din je boshechhilem   A song of spring
I have waited so long counting moments.  Now I meet you in spring.  Like a young warrior you have conquered.  I wonder at you and your song.  Your smile conceals the fire within.

4.  Ami keboli shapano
I have lived in a world of dreams and imagination, building castles in the air.  My desire has been unfulfilled, my aspiration has been in vain.  I have played with fire.  Nothing remains now except the ashes.

5.  Kachhe theke dur rochilo   A love song
Though so near, yet you are far.  You create separation within union.  The sea of nectar lying ahead is a mirage.  I cannot quench my thirst.  I know you, yet I know you not.

6.  Jokhon tumi bandhchhile taar   A devotional song
When you were tuning this veena, there was intense pain.  Sorrow disappeared when you started playing it.  What lay deep within you is now expressed through me.  Do not delay for time is short/. Death is listening at my door.  The melody you have created rings through the universe in an eternal shower of fire.  Let you music fill my heart with longing for you.

Tagore Web Pages

Biography and bibliography


A photo and links

A conversation between Tagore and Einstein

Tagore and the United States

Nobel Prize Tagore site

Links to fifteen sites with poems

Santaniketan --University Tagore founded

Articles in English and Bangla from a special issue of PARABAAS on Tagore

Brief biography, two poems in Bengali and English


Article on Rabindra Sangeet

 Excellent link to many Rabindra Sangeet sites and songs

Rabindra Sangeet, site in Bengali but many songs audible through moderately audible RealAudio

Rabindra Sangeet, site in Bengali, better quality audio songs through RealAudio

Another, like the one above

Rabindra Sangeet, site in Bengali, origin Bangladesh, better qualtiy songs through Real Audio

Brief description of Rabindra Sangeet

To buy Rabindra Sangeet from India in US dollars

List of many Randindra Sangeet CDS available for sale from Biswas CDs, distributor in Delaware, USA