Sunday, January 21, 2018

Featured Author: Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore was born in Calcutta in 1861, and he died in 1941; during his extraordinary lifetime, he helped to define modern Indian literature and music, writing poetry, plays, and stories, along with songs and dances; later in his life he took up painting too. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, the first non-European author to do so.

Throughout his lifetime, Tagore was an advocate for India's independence from Britain, and he helped to found the Visva-Bharati University in West Bengal. Both India's national anthem Jana Gana Mana and Bangladesh's Amar Shonar Bangla are Tagore compositions. You can read more about his life and accomplishments in this detailed Wikipedia article.

You might do some reading from Tagore later this semester! For the Tagore reading unit in this class, I chose Tagore's short play Karna and Kunti, and also his play Chitra about Arjuna, along with his translations of the mystical poet Kabir. All three of these items are free books you can read online.

You might also be reading the Tagore comic book from Amar Chitra Katha which is on reserve in the Library: Rabindranath Tagore: India's Gentle Torch-Bearer. (call number: PN 6790 .I443 A437 v. 548)

At YouTube, you might enjoy watching this 1961 documentary about Tagore written and directed by Satyajit Ray, one of India's greatest filmmakers.

This YouTube video made in 2011 on the 150th anniversary of Tagore's birth — A Tribute to Rabindranath Tagore — contains excerpts from the Satyajit Ray film along with photos over the course of his lifetime.

This portrait of Tagore was taken in 1909:

This image shows Einstein with Tagore in 1930:

The image below shows Gandhi and his wife Kasturba visiting Tagore in 1940:

Friday, January 19, 2018

Yesterday's Twitter: Nirali Kartik - Raag Bhairavi

I follow Maati Baani at Twitter, and that's how I learned about this new YouTube video from Maati Baani's Nirali Kartik. This performance is part of a concert entitled "Krishna and I," and as she says in the YouTube notes: This concert celebrates Krishna in all his beauty! The lyrics are by Surdas, who you can read about at Wikipedia.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Epified: Stages of Life

The theme of this Epified video is the stages of life, or ashramas, is one that you will see again and again in the stories from India. You can find out more at Wikipedia: Ashramas (stages): Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (retired) and Sannyasa (renunciation).

Monday, January 15, 2018

Featured Author: Tulsidas

One of the most famous versions of the Ramayana is the version by Tulsidas, a poet and saint who, in the 1630s, composed a Hindi version of the Sanskrit Ramayana called the Ram Charit Manas. This version of the Ramayana, being written in the vernacular, is far more widely known in India today than the Sanskrit version, and it forms the basis for the popular Ram-Lila performances. Tulsidas is also credited with composing the Hanuman Chalisa, a hymn in honor of Hanuman the monkey-god and most devoted follower of Rama.

You can read more about Tulsidas's life and career in this detailed Wikipedia article, and you might also enjoy this Amar Chitra Katha comic book about him: Tulsidas: The Poet Who Wrote Ram-Charit-Manas.

There is also a multi-issue comic book edition of the Ram Charit Manas consisting of five separate comic books bound in a single volume.

If you are interested in looking at a literal English translation, the translation by F. S. Growse is available at Internet Archive and at Hathi Trust.