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Rabindra Rachnavali

I am gratified to hear from you that you are convinced that I am a poet because I have a beautiful grey beard.

books Updated: May 21, 2012 15:03 IST

Excerpted from Talks in China

I am gratified to hear from you that you are convinced that I am a poet because I have a beautiful grey beard. But my vanity will remain unsatisfied until you know me from my voice that is in my poems.

I hope that this may make you want to learn Bengali some day. I hope yonder rival poet, taking notes opposite me, will consider this seriously. I will admit him into my class and help him so far as I am able.

Now I must also let you know something of our Art movement. It was started by my nephew Abanindranath, and is full of promise. If my friend, Nandalal, over there, who is a great artist, would deign to speak he would let you know how it is growing in vitality and how its influence is spreading far and wide.

In regard to music, I claim to be something of a musician myself. I have composed many songs which have defied the canons of respectable orthodoxy and good people are disgusted at the impudence of a man who is audacious only because he, is untrained.

But I persist, and God forgives me because I do not know what I do. Possibly that is the best way of doing things in the sphere of art. For I find that people blame me, but also sing my songs, even if not always correctly.

Please do not think I am vain. I can judge myself objectively and can openly express admiration for tiny own work, because I am modest. I do not hesitate to say that my songs have found their place in the heart of my land, along with her flowers that are never exhausted, and that the folk of the future, in days of joy or sorrow or festival, will have to sing them. This too is the work of a volutionist.

First Published: Sep 26, 2002 09:00 IST