Nostalgic Bengali songs and poetry

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#1 Jul 1st, 2011, 05:52
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  • arindamdas is offline
#1
Hi folks,

We know there's a Kolkata nostalgia and gastronomy thread. How about a 'Nostalgic Bengali songs' thread, possibly also including poetry? I'm just trying to gauge potential interest in such a new thread.

Any takers?
#2 Jul 1st, 2011, 06:31
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  • machadinha is offline
#2
For starters, there's this old thread: Bengali Poetry - Where the mind is without Fear.

I know that thread starter ended up deleting some of his threads, back when this was still possible, including the best and most comprehensive write-up (in my humble opinion) I ever did here on the Bauls and what little I know of them, and regarding a major festival of theirs I once attended... *sigh* (So that's now gone. As you can see, he deleted his starting post on this one, even. I guess that must have been around when deleting threads you'd started was made impossible.)

But maybe that particular thread still makes for a start
#3 Jul 1st, 2011, 06:55
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#3
I remember that thread (sigh)..
#4 Jul 1st, 2011, 07:46
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#4
Aah, I see. I'm not sure what would be better, resurrect the earlier one, or start a new one. Ideas?
#5 Jul 1st, 2011, 07:52
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#5
Nah, I'd just take it from here. That other one has long been forgotten, and anyway so the poster seemed to be getting a little confused.

And regarding your earlier question: There appears to be some active interest with no few, yes. So I'd just steam right ahead There's amazingly quite a handful of foreign members even with an active interest in Bangla literature and the arts, and stuff (not to mention the many whether foreign or native with some Bong connections one way or another). So do kindly continue, I'm sure they'll fill it in, and will be grateful to you for starting it

--> I was just mentioning this site again to another poster, http://www.musicindiaonline.com/, has some (more than you might think) great free online material, and it of course has a Bengali section as well, found for instance through their "radio" button.

So how's that for a start

And ps

Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardseco View Post I remember that thread (sigh)..
That's amazing that you would, really. Ah... all the stuff that happens, eh
#6 Jul 1st, 2011, 08:02
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#6
Thanks so much for your encouragement Mach. Are you one of them? If so, would you like to start? Anything you want, a song you cherish, a poem you remember, anything ... I had posted a translation of a famous poem on another thread, I could repost it here.

Great poetry, to me, is like an unsolved mystery ... the reader is left to draw his/her own conclusions and/or interpretations. It's this aspect which fascinates me, hearing other peoples interpretations. But I am not sure if folks here would be interested.
#7 Jul 1st, 2011, 08:12
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by arindamdas View Post Thanks so much for your encouragement Mach. Are you one of them? If so, would you like to start? Anything you want, a song you cherish, a poem you remember, anything ...
Nah, sorry, know very little of it. The Bauls are one of such groups that I feel some natural affinity with. They're hard to find out anything definitive about though, they have an aversion to literature, and to leaving behind any definite traces. And good for them, I'd say, heheh

Bangla culture I'm otherwise not that well versed in. Though have some tapes lying around (could give you the titles, but I don't have them where I'm at right now. Religious stuff. Bhajans or the likes, I reckon.) And some Tagore volumes and stuff I still really need to pick up. I've traveled there, in the countryside, too (to that festival, notably), but only on my first trip, quite some time ago now. I was quite young. Wouldn't mind, at all, returning to explore more in-depth. But then as we all know, wouldn't we not mind a lot of things. We'll see.

But so: I'll gently leave this over to others. May not so gently poke in my big nose sometimes, of course

But do kindly continue My gut feeling is this thread may pick up in no time. Or then it may just pass away, it's always unpredictable. Pay it no mind if it does.

(Or then gently give it a bump whenever you feel comfortable with it )

--> Wikipedia again gives this example of what they call a Rabindrasangeet (a Rabindranath Tagore song, who was himself or so it is said heavily influenced, or impressed, by the Bauls):

Quote:
amar paner manush achhe prane
tai here taye shokol khane
Achhe she noyōn-taray, alōk-dharay, tai na haraye--
ogo tai dekhi taye Jethay shethay
taka-i ami je dik-pane


The man of my heart dwells inside me.
Everywhere I look, it is he.
In my every sight, in the sparkle of light
Oh, I can never lose him --
Here, there and everywhere,
Wherever I turn, he is right there!
That about does it for me, really, and is just about all I need to know in life. They have endless variations on the theme, of course, but that really is sort of the central message.

Take also these further examples by him given there, these are presented on that page at least as direct renderings of Baul songs:

Quote:
Where shall I meet him, the Man of my Heart?
He is lost to me and I seek him wandering from land to land.

I am listless for that moonrise of beauty,
which is to light my life,
which I long to see in the fullness of vision
in gladness of heart.
And:

Quote:
My longing is to meet you in play of love, my Lover;
But this longing is not only mine, but also yours.
For your lips can have their smile, and your flute

its music, only in your delight in my love;
and therefore you importunate, even as I am.
#8 Jul 1st, 2011, 08:53
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#8
Thanks so much, Mach. I am sure we would delve into Baul soon if this thread shows some life.

As much as I like great music, great poetry is closer to my heart. That said, here's an extremely popular Bengali poem (re-posted from the Antakshari thread). The poem is titled 'Banalata Sen', by Jibonananda Das ... here's the wiki page (in particular, check out the section titled "Translation into English"). A lot of people have translated this poem into English, including Jibonananda himself.

Here's the English translation by the poet himself (http://avinashkishoreshahi.wordpress...das-1899-1954/).

There are some historical references in this poem ... I have provided links to wiki for those, if you are interested.

-------------------------

For thousands of years I roamed the paths of this earth,
From waters round Ceylon in dead of night to Malayan seas.
Much have I wandered. I was there in the gray world of Asoka
And Bimbisara, pressed on through darkness to the city of Vidarbha.
I am a weary heart surrounded by life’s frothy ocean.
To me she gave a moment’s peace - Banalata Sen from Natore.

Her hair was like an ancient darkling night in Vidisa,
Her face, the craftsmanship of Sravasti. As the helmsman,
His rudder broken, far out upon the sea adrift,
Sees the grass-green land of a cinnamon isle, just so
Through darkness I saw her. Said she, “Where have you been so long?”
And raised her bird’s-nest-like eyes - Banalata Sen from Natore.

At day’s end, like hush of dew
Comes evening. A hawk wipes the scent of sunlight from its wings.
When earth’s colors fade and some pale design is sketched,
Then glimmering fireflies paint in the story.
All birds come home, all rivers, all of this life’s tasks finished.
Only darkness remains, as I sit there face to face with Banalata Sen.

-------------------------

Another translation of the poem can be found here.

As you can see, there's no indication whatsoever in this poem of the identity of Banalata Sen. A popular belief goes that the poet had a famous Bengali actress (Suchitra Sen) in mind when he wrote this poem. For all I know, that could well be true. But, I have two different interpretations of Banalata Sen (more 'what' than 'who'). If this poem interests or intrigues you, I would like to know yours, before I divulge mine.

P.S: Readers, if any of you have some other translations to post, please feel free. Besides Robindronath, Bengal has seen several outstanding poets (such as Nazrul Islam, Satyendranath Dutta, Nirendranath Chakraborty, Sukanto Bhattacharjee, Shonkho Ghosh, Joy Goswami, ...), who have unfortunately been somewhat overshadowed by the master himself. Translations of their poems are particularly welcome.

P.P.S: Mods, if you want to edit the title of this thread (to reflect poetry too), and/or move this to a more suitable forum, please.
Done
Last edited by JuliaF; Jul 1st, 2011 at 15:43..
#9 Jul 1st, 2011, 09:06
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#9
Possibly a bit tangental but readers of this thread may be interested in this archive of north indian classical music, which includes Bengali artists: http://www.archive-icm.org/

There is also a project to preserve Bengali texts, particularly popular literature: http://www.bl.uk/about/policies/enda...chaudhuri.html
#10 Jul 1st, 2011, 09:13
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#10
Thanks for that info, ellienai.
#11 Jul 1st, 2011, 15:30
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
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#11
Interesting Youtube here about Baul music:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-KUUDi11R0
"Only the guy who isn't rowing has time to row the boat."
(Jean-Paul Sartre)
#12 Jul 1st, 2011, 15:37
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#12
I would love to translate some of the sonets of Michael, but that would be one of the tuffest job to do!
#13 Jul 1st, 2011, 15:38
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#13
Thanks for starting the thread Arindam . I look forward to reading along.
#14 Jul 1st, 2011, 15:56
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#14
Great to find this thread.
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#15 Jul 1st, 2011, 18:37
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
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#15
Mod Note
Some off topic posts have just been deleted.
Last edited by Forum Leader; Jul 1st, 2011 at 23:05..
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