Monday, March 16, 2015

How I met Tagore twice during my travel

Yes. I met Rabindranath Tagore twice within few months during my travels outside India. 

First meet 
It was early in the morning. I boarded  a taxi to  hotel from the Berlin airport. My eyes were glued  outside the windows enjoying the fresh morning and the trees in autumn colors.

I expected a least to hear anything about India in the foreign land. Driver of the taxi pulls me into a conversation with general questions about my whereabouts. The moment I mention I am from India, he says ‘ Do you know Rabindranath Tagore ?’. He picks up a book next to him and says ‘ I am reading his Gitanjali poems for the 2nd time’ .  Ah! What a morning  it was when I was hearing a driver in foreign land reading India's one of the finest poets of the last century. 

Tagore is a part and parcel of my life like millions of Indians. More than a poet who wrote Indian national anthem, his feminish kind of writings, depiction of babu class of Bengal, inspired lines from Vaishnava poets and bahuls of Bengal –all gushed in to my memory lane. I also felt amazed by thinking about the kind of general eduction this country provides where a driver can read poetry in  translation.

Second meet
I had opted for walking tour in Seoul. Mr. Lee was assigned as  walking tour guide to show some of the alley ways and Korean market place. He was such a sweet enthusiastic person and was probably in his sixties. While walking through the alleys Mr. Lee, hesitantly asks me ‘ Do you know Rabindranath Tagore ? I nod  'ofcourse yes'. He continues with growing enthusiasm ‘ after knowing  that my todays guest is from India I was thinking how do I make her happy by saying something good about India. Then Tagore came to my help’. I was like wow! Here once again Tagore . The bygone yet remembered poet of India came in the midst of travel like he came in Berlin.Mr. Lee was holding a photocopy of the pamphlet in his hand which contained excerpt from Tagore’s poem ‘ Lamp of the East’.

 In 2011 Korean govt joined hands with India to commemorate Tagore's 150 birth year. Koreans  fondly remember Tagore and his poem ‘Lamp of the east.’  He wrote the poem when Korea was under Japanese imperialism during his visit to Japan in 1929, prophesizing Korea will emerge like a star in the coming years.  This piece of poetry influenced thousands of Koreans under slavery to get inspired and fight back Japan.And they made it. We know where Korea is in the world map today. Tagore wrote the poem  about Korea , the place he never visited.  Recently in 2011 , Korean government has  installed a bust of the ever charming poet in Dehangro,the cultural heart of  Seoul city.
Poetry  has no boundaries !! Politics divides people, where as poetry unities them.


  1. Truly! Poets & poetry charms all! No boundaries :)
    Nice to learn about your experience.Proud to be an Indian.

  2. Thanks Anita! Very true.. That was a proud moment Indeed !