|Photograph - Anirban Saha | www.anirbansaha.com|
Rabindranath Tagore’s name is synonymous with Bengali culture. His contribution to literature, especially to Bengali literature is unquestionably towering. However, the worth of Rabindranath Tagore cannot just be measured in the songs, novels, poems, stories, plays and essays he has composed. The legacy of Tagore lingers on even today, more than seven decades after his earthly demise. His influence is still evident in modern works of literature.
As a Bengali kid growing up in a culturally inclined household, Tagore was always a part of every little aspect of my childhood. I knew that he was the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature before I even knew what the Nobel Prize was all about. I grew up listening to his songs, listening to his poems, appreciating his art, and watching his plays. The fact that I grew up in a culture so entangled with the works of Rabindranath Tagore allows me to see exactly how vivid, how obvious his influence is among modern writers and poets.
Tagore reshaped Bengali literature with the introduction of revolutionary themes in simple languages. He was a writer than the common people could relate to, breaking the shackles of elitist language that was prevalent among authors before him. His fluency of thought, combined with his presentation, made him a crowd favourite. Some of the themes he introduced still resonate very strongly with modern writers – the most obvious examples being the doctrine of women empowerment, the tenderness of love and the intricacies of human ties, and worship through good deed. These basic aspects continue to find their importance in modern writings. The influence of Tagore is unmistakable in this regard.
Rabindranath Tagore is credited with putting Bengali Literature on the international radar. The Nobel laureate paved the way for generations to come, generations of Bengali authors who would find a global audience for their works. Their works reverberate their take on the themes that were highlighted by none other than Gurudev himself. Because of his unthinkable variety in composition, there always seems to be a Tagore work to fit any mood, any emotion, any season, any time. He has firmly established himself as the backbone of modern Bengali literature, and as such, his influence in modern works is all-enveloping.
Tagore was more than a writer. Tagore was a visionary. He looked forward to a world way ahead of his time, a world that we are only beginning to comprehend today. Such was the genius of the man that he foresaw the social, economic and political scenarios that are proving true almost a century after his compositions. In his writings, Tagore spoke of a world that the modern writer has grown up in. If we are to accept that a writer is undeniably influence by his times, we directly understand the quintessential influence of Tagore on the thought processes and sensitivities of the 21st century author. Rabindranath Tagore, by sheer genius, is both a reference point and a benchmark for the modern writer. He is the beginning and the end of thematic brilliance.
There is no escaping the fact that Rabindranath Tagore is the greatest influence for a modern writer, even more so for a Bengali writer. His simplistic approach and his graceful tones can never be overlooked. The new millennium welcomes his words with open arms and a glad heart.