‘Revisioning’ Tagore’s masterpiece – The Hindu BusinessLine
* A poet, translator and author, Chabria has labored with Sanskrit and Tamil Sangam poetry as a translator. However her method with Tagore is kind of totally different
* The Gitanjali in English was translated by Tagore himself. Whereas the Bengali model had 156 poems, for the English model he determined to redo them as prose translations
* I used to be to see how Chabria overcomes specific issues whereas retaining the fantastic thing about the unique
Couple of months in the past, because the world round us was limping its method out of a bruising part of the pandemic, I used to be on the telephone, listening to my father recite Rabindranath Tagore’s iconic poem Nirjhorer Swapna Bhanga. As I listened to his voice articulate these well-known and well-loved strains, not for the primary time, was I immensely moved by the ability of poetry. The poem is considered one of regeneration, an awakening to the limitless prospects life has to supply. The imagery is fiery and dramatic, and the imaginative and prescient of nature evoked is considered one of power personified. But, if I attempted to translate the strains, I do know I’ll fail miserably. Gone can be that zeal, dissolving in phrases that can’t precisely evoke the surprise that the poet writes of — and therein lies the conundrum of Tagore’s works. He continues to belong to nearly each Bengali-speaking particular person — showing within the consciousness in poetry, track, story, concepts, and even as only a image on the partitions. And whereas he additionally stays considered one of India’s most beloved and towering mental figures, many Bengalis are arduous put to elucidate precisely how a lot his phrases can transfer when learn within the unique context.
On this situation, Priya Sarukkai Chabria’s ‘revisioning’ of the Gitanjali in Sing of Life makes for a rewarding studying. A poet, translator and author, Chabria has labored with Sanskrit and Tamil Sangam poetry as a translator. However her method with Tagore is kind of totally different. As an alternative of a line by line or phrase to phrase translation, she seems to be on the poems as a connoisseur of phrases would, and plumbs the depths of its which means, savouring the ideas and feelings behind the strains. In her detailed introduction, she writes of a magical day within the mountains when she occurred to come back throughout a duplicate of the Gitanjali, and began studying it. “I’m tingling with elation,” she says. “As I learn, or fairly plunge into it, sure phrases from every of the Songs carry like swans into my thoughts.” She proceeds to notice these “risen phrases” down in a pocket book. And from there births a novel method of approaching Tagore.
The Gitanjali in English was translated by Tagore himself. Whereas the Bengali model had 156 poems, for the English model he determined to redo them as prose translations. As Chabria writes, the Gitanjali that a lot of the world learn — in English, and for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, was itself one which had undergone a remaking already. She additionally writes, “…an excellent poem is one that always serves as a draft or raft for another person’s poem… A spark or a shift in one other’s unconscious.” Clearly, that is the purpose from which she approaches this textual content. The poems of the Gitanjali can transfer one immeasurably. Whether or not it’s the strains of “The place the thoughts is with out worry” that just about each little one can recite, or the festivity of the sunshine divine in “Mild, my gentle, the world-filling gentle…” can carry the center or fill one with melancholy. Lengthy after the phrases have been learn or spoken they continue to be, floating within the bloodstream “like an electrical eel” is how Chabria describes it fairly aptly. But, it is usually true that the English model typically reads wordy, even archaic, the language at occasions an obstacle, obscuring the vivacity of the strains which have withstood time for over a century.
And so I used to be to see how Chabria overcomes these issues whereas retaining the fantastic thing about the unique. She describes her course of in some element to start with, the place she exhibits how she picked out phrases and phrases from Tagore’s variations and used them in a primary model of her recreation. This she additional distils to create a second model, which is much more spare, consisting of only some phrases and contours every, the place the very coronary heart of the poem beats to life. The e book has an fascinating construction, and every poem will be learn in quite a few layers. There are Chabria’s two visions of every of the poems, and if one needs to, then Tagore’s English creation, which has additionally been included in a piece ultimately.
As an example, right here is, as soon as once more, my beloved ‘Alo Aamar Alo’, or ‘Mild, my gentle’:
Coronary heart-sweeting gentle
The sky opens
Wind runs wild
Laughter passes over
And in its even freer model:
Butterflies unfold sails
On the ocean of sunshine
Jasmine & lilies surge
On waves of sunshine
Mild shatters gold on cloud
& scatters gems
Heaven’s river has drowned
on the centre
Sing of Life is a e book that one can maintain dipping into, studying a poem now, discovering an emotion there. It’s all in regards to the coronary heart, as most poetry is, notably Tagore’s. But there may be clearly a pointy poet’s thoughts at work that may discern the motion of phrases by the web page and the way they imprint on the consciousness. Chabria is ready to, in most cases, seize that ineffable feeling of surprise and melancholy combined with pleasure that accompanies studying or listening to the phrases of Tagore. The great thing about the poems of the Gitanjali, with its motion within the poet’s ideas as he nearly traces his whole life’s course inside the hundred odd poems, is an expertise everybody ought to have the ability to savour. With this revisioning, it reaches a brand new readership — maybe youthful, maybe extra fashionable — whereas conserving intact the everlasting and the immortal in its strains.
Sudeshna Shome Ghosh is a Bengaluru-based editor
https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/blink/learn/revisioning-tagores-masterpiece/article36027689.ece | ‘Revisioning’ Tagore’s masterpiece – The Hindu BusinessLine