A summary of the lecture
by Sridevi Prasad, ISAS Program & Publications Assistant
On Friday, October 30, the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies had the pleasure of hosting Professor Mousumi Banerjee, Rabindrasangeet singer, in Wheeler Hall. Her talk title, Ocean of Stories: Telling Tales through Tagore’s Music and Poetry, was well suited for her lecture-demonstration as she used Tagore’s poetry to share stories from her own life. During the discussion with Tina Jabeen, Professor Banerjee highlighted the universalness of Tagore’s poetry and music. Tagore was shown to have the ability to cross national divides as both Bangladeshi Bengalis as well as Indian Bengalis grew up with the constant presence of Tagore’s Gitabitan. Exemplifying this, Professor Banerjee shared that when she came to the United States, she had ensured that her Gitabitan had a space in her suitcase. True to her own self-description as having Rabindranath living in her heart, Professor Banerjee’s exquisite abhinaya during the performance showed the immense passion that she had for Rabindrasangeet. In a unique performance format where stories in Bengali were interspersed between songs, Mousumi Banerjee was able to show to the audience exactly how relatable Tagore’s music and poetry are to everyone’s everyday life. The familiarity of Tagore in the Bengali community could be seen as the audience joined Professor Banerjee in singing a few of his well-known songs. Truly bringing Tagore to life, Professor Mousumi Banerjee created a space for those who were new as well as those who had grown up with Rabindrasangeet to fully appreciate the beauty of Tagore.
Video recording of the lecture
Photographs of the event. All photographs by Prasenjit Sengupta, DragonNet.Flix