“True happiness is not at all expensive. It depends upon that natural spring of beauty and of life, harmony of relationship. Ambition pursues its own path of self-seeking by breaking this bond of harmony, digging gaps, creating dissension. Selfish ambition feels no hesitation in trampling under foot the whole harvest field, which is for all, in order to snatch away in haste that portion which it craves. Being wasteful it remains disruptive of social life and the greatest enemy of civilization.” | Read the full lecture >>
Source: Rabindranath Tagore in “Robbery of the soil” (Calcutta University, 1922), posted by Tony Mitra on a blog “Exploring citizens duty on food security, environmental sustainability, covid and freedom issues” (27 September 2015) https://www.tonu.org/tag/robbery-of-the-soil/ Date visited: 12 January 2021
Believe me, my friend, my heart goes out to you but I am inarticulate. I have to speak to you in a language not my own. The best that I have in me I give out in songs – no, I can not even say that I give it out – it comes out of itself. The superconscious self of mine which has its expression in beauty is beyond my control – and my ordinary self is stupid and awkward before men. Very often I think and feel that I am like a flute – the flute that cannot talk but when the breath is upon it, can sing.)1
From a letter to his Dutch translator, writer Frederik van Eeden (signed in London, 9 August 1913)
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), India’s first Nobel laureate, established his Santiniketan school and Viswa-BharatiUniversity on and amidst several Santal villages. It is therefore hardly surprising that he often compared the Infinite Being to a flute player whose “music of beauty and love helps us to transcend our egotistic preoccupations”.2
Such longings, here reiterated by one of world’s most celebrated poets – belong to a greater tradition that seeks to overcome barriers such as language or faith with the help of music. This is more than evident from sources that reveal his admiration for both, the “mad” Baul minstrels and Kabir, an equally rebellious poet whose song lyrics he knew and recommended:3
In several plays Tagore introduced a baul inspired character who would voice his message and philosophy […] roles that Tagore himself delighted in playing with abandon.
Reba Som, Rabindranath Tagore: The Singer and His Song (New Delhi, 2009), p. 76
The play he was most fond of himself, playing the role of the “fakir”, is Dakghar, translated into English under the title “The Post Office”, and Dutch (De brief van den koning, first published in 1916 and again as Amal en de brief van de koning in 1992).4
Its essence seems as relevant in today’s world as in Tagore’s own times, as Bhaswati Ghosh would put it: “In Dakghar (The Post Office), young Amal, the protagonist, bonds with numerous strangers with the spontaneity and guilelessness typical of most children. The play cleverly unravels Tagore’s thoughts on freedom.” Quoting from his Foreword to S Radhakrishnan’s The Philosophy of Upanishads,
When our self is illuminated with the light of love, then the negative aspect of its separateness with others loses its finality, and then our relationship with others is no longer that of competition and conflict, but of sympathy and co-operation.5
The essay by Bhaswati Ghosh is aptly prefaced by Tagore’s forceful proclamation, one worth pondering time and again: ours being a moment in history when freedom – human rights and democracy – can no longer be taken for granted, anywhere. So it is may be read as an urgent appeal directed at aspiring artists, educators, even “opinion and decision makers”; namely to take and share responsibility for this may well decide over their own survival when modern society relentlessly puts their very legitimacy into question in times of perpetual crisis:
My freedom lies not in pursuing detachment. Amidst a thousand fetters shall I savour the taste of freedom in delirious joy.
What makes his all-embracing outlook so relevant for all of us – to this very day – is this: “Tagore remains a staunch votary of exercising individual exploration as a key to finding freedom.” (Bhaswati Ghosh, Parabaas 2011)
This call for making individual choices in the face of social or political pressures, runs like a red thread through Tagore’s life and work, as can be gleaned from his letter written to the aforementioned Dutch writer, Van Eeden in 1924 (quoted by Rokus De Groot, p. 123):
Men like yourself in Europe prove that her soul is not dead and that the stream of life giving water runs deep under her spiritual soil, seeking its outlets in individual lives.
In hindsight, such high expectations may hardly seem justified given the many failures of judgement among Europe’s leading men (women having little, if any, say in such matters), such as preventing or mitigating the unprecedented suffering of yet another “World War” that was to follow the first one; an equally senseless one yet even more cruel war than the war that had just ended when Tagore visited the Netherlands in September 1920. It had caused untold suffering to millions of Indians.
Historical facts such as armed conflicts must not, however, dishearten those presently working towards lasting peace and intercultural dialogue, irrespective of one’s national, religious or class identity – the very notions Tagore had reason to question when seeking support among responsible fellow citizens at home and abroad. This may explain why music seemed best suited to the purpose of transcending even those obstacles others would have despaired of:
Tagore was “attracted by the distinctive styles of regional music [he] wrote about the great evocative power of tunes wafting across distances–carrying the message of an unknown address whispered in the ear by a traveller–bringing a note of hope and encouragement across oceans of divide.”6
The above quote also reminds us of the fact that reed and bamboo flutes are the world’s most “democratic” to this very day, both literally and figuratively. His interdisciplinary approach to any major challenge – as pioneer in rural education, campaigner for social reform and international peace activist – remains likewise inspiring for countless artists, both well known (especially those with Bengali roots) and otherwise. His continuing influence reflects his prolific output and depth of thought on important issues, in the form of novels, theatre plays, poetry, stories, and essays.
Tagore’s commitment to bridging the divisions in India’s social fabric was unwavering even in the face of enormous pressure and political unrest. The wide appeal of his quest is evident from the fact that over two thousand of his songs continue to be sung by Bengali speakers in and outside India; and this in spite of the fact that these are spontaneous outpourings in need of being memorized while he sung them “without knowing how to write music” (Reba Som). One notable exception from this rule may be a poem that was later arranged in his presence and therefore lent itself to becoming independent India’s national anthem: “Jana-gana-mana”.
In later life he immersed himself in painting. His unusual oeuvre comprises seemingly surreal paintings besides hundreds of drawings resulting from a long habit of “doodling” in his manuscripts. Rejecting both academic Western and “Oriental Art“, Tagore is now regarded as path-breaking visual artist in his own right, initially by the surrealists who arranged an exhibition in Paris at short notice. As he told Romain Rolland during a conversation in Geneva (1930),
Words are too conscious; lines are not. Ideas have their form and colour, which wait for their incarnation in pictorial art. Just now painting has become a mania with me. My morning began with songs and poems; now, in the evening of my life, my mind is filled with forms and colours.7
Tagore believed that art, music, painting and dance elevate man from a mere being to a personal man:
Personality [is] conscious of its inexhaustible abundance; it has the paradox in it that it is more than itself; it is more than as it is seen, as it is known, as it is used. And this consciousness of the infinite, in the personal man, ever strives to make its expressions immortal and to make the whole world its own.8
This he amply illustrated by his own song lyrics, as it were, imbued with synaesthetic connotations such as these:
A light touch do I feel, a few words do I hear / And I conjure in my mind spring’s full moon / The intoxicating red of the ‘palash’ / Mixed with a dash of champa’s heady fragrance / I weave with music into a net of colour and fervour / Whatever comes close through intervals of time / Paints dream in the startled nooks of my mind / Whatever goes afar sets my tunes atremble with emotion / And with these I pass my days / Keeping count to the beat of anklets.9
Ludwig Pesch specialized in the Carnatic bamboo flute under the guidance of H. Ramachandra Shastry (1906-1992) whom he accompanied on many occasions.
At the invitation of Smt. Rukmini Devi-Arundale, a gurukulavāsa type of personalized apprenticeship became possible thanks to Kalakshetra College (today known as Rukmini Devi College Of Fine Arts), the “institution of national importance” inspired by Rabindranath Tagore: it was his pioneering institution, Santiniketan, that provided a model for the revival of South Indian performing and visual arts just as related crafts.
For Rabindranath, who was essentially a poet and artist, the realization and the expression of beauty was the supreme objective in human life. His concept of beauty, according to true Indian tradition, was inseparably connected with truth and goodness. Whatever is true and noble in life, nature and art is also beautiful. Thus, aesthetic sensitiveness, in the true sense, is a fundamental aspect of spiritual education. A proper aesthetic culture should also include the perception and expression of the beautiful in human life and social conduct, as well as in art and literature. Rabindranath stated in no uncertain terms that man’s sensory encounter with the environment was as important as his mind’s enquiry into its inner mystery, and any worthwhile society should provide for both.10
“Whatever is true and noble in life, nature and art is also beautiful” – Rabindranath Tagore quoted by the Archaeological Survey of India (Unesco)
Book recommendation: Pidhana – The Canopy of Life Tagore’s ideal of uniting practical, academic, artistic and spiritual education amounts to “lifelong education” and “ecology” in the most modern and comprehensive sense, namely in harmony with nature. Kalakshetra’s unique ecology, like Santiniketan, was painstakingly created from a barren stretch of land, over a period of several decades. This process and the unique environment resulting from it are documented in a beautiful book titled Pidhana – The Canopy of Life (Chennai, 2014, ISBN: 978-81-921627-3-7): richly illustrated, this publication tells the story of the trees found in the 99acre campus of Kalakshetra Foundation.
See abstract and article (in Dutch) by Rokus De Groot: “Van Eeden En Tagore. Ethiek En Muziek.” Tijdschrift Van De Koninklijke Vereniging Voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis, vol. 49, no. 2, 1999, pp. 98–147. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/939183, p. 109 (visited 11 June 2020[↩]
My memories of Einstein (German ed. ’Meine Erinnerungen an Einstein’, 1931) in Das Goldene Boot, Winkler Weltliteratur, Blaue Reihe (2005) – WorldCat.org >>[↩]
“Tagore wrote The Post Office in Bengal in 1911, not long after losing his son, his daughter, and his wife to disease. In the middle of the night, while lying under the stars on the roof of his house in Shantiniketan (the ‘Abode or Peace’), he had a strange experience. ‘My mind took wing. Fly! Fly! – I felt an anguish … There was a call to go somewhere and a premonition of death, together with intense emotion – this feeling of restlessness I expressed in writing Dak Ghar The Post Office.’ Soon afterward, Tagore’s worldwide odyssey began.” – Translators’ Preface to The Post Office, translated by Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson with illustrations by Michael McCurdy and an Introduction by Anita Desai, St. Martin’s press New York, 1996. (Amal’s dialogue with the Thakura, Tagore’s alter ego, is found on p. 35.[↩]
Reba Som, Rabindranath Tagore: The Singer and His Song (New Delhi, 2009), p. 147; this can be read quite literally, given “he stepped into the streets singing songs and celebrating Rakshabandhan between members of the Hindu and Muslim communities (1905)” as noted by Abhijit Sen in “In Search of a New Language for Theatre” published on the in a special issue that celebrates the 150th year of Tagore: Indian Horizons, Vol. 24, No. 2/2010 p. 42[↩]
The Oxford India Tagore: Selected Writings on Education and Nationalism, pp. 190-1[↩]
I see one India in the pattern. You see another. Light and shadow play. History and modernity collide. Superstition and myth, Rabindrasangeet and rap, Sufi and Shia and Sunni, caste and computers, text and sub-plot, laughter and tears, governments and oppositions, reservations and quotas, struggles and captivity, success and achievement, hamburgers and Hari Om Hari, Sanskrit and sms, the smell of rain and the sound of the sea. A seamless stitching. Many, many hands have stitched, are stitching and will continue to stitch India. […]
I cling to the belief that for any culture as old and ancient as ours to have survived over time and in time, there could only be one basic common and acceptable core thought: humaneness. To accept each other’s right to be human with dignity. This then is my fight. My dream. In my life and in my literature. – Mahasweta Devi during her inaugural speech for the Frankfurt Book Fair titled “The Republic of Dreams”
What Are Human Rights? “Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.” Learn more : Human rights | United Nations >>
Every dream of homogeneity stares at an infinite regress: there’s always some aspect of identity, some sect, some culture or language, that doesn’t fit it. To pursue homogeneity is to enter an endless life of purging, secession and self-destructive violence. […]
Khilnani’s heroes, such as the emperor Akbar and his great-grandson Dara Shukoh, tend to be those who build bridges between India’s varied communities and religions; his demons are those, such as Jinnah, who believe “that there was one key identity, religion, which could lock in all the others”. This, believes, Khilnani, is profoundly wrong: “Every dream of homogeneity stares at an infinite regress: there’s always some aspect of identity, some sect, some culture or language, that doesn’t fit it. To pursue homogeneity is to enter an endless life of purging, secession and self-destructive violence.”
Yet Khilnani is scrupulously meticulous, accurate and unromantic in his depiction of his characters – and never hesitates to show the flaws of even those he most approves of. For “by insisting that figures from India’s past be preserved in memory as saints”, he writes, “we deny them not just their real natures, but their genuine achievements”. […]
Livre-CD en Français (2001) recommendé par Ludwig Pesch
Cet essai éclaire les traditions millénaires de la musique classique de l’Inde de Sud, transmise le long d’une chaîne orale continue de maître à disciple. L’auteur nous plonge dans les arcanes du raga et des émotions qu’il suscite et développe les clés des concordances symboliques et de l’apprentissage de cette musique carnatique considérée comme une voie spirituelle pour atteindre la libération du moi individuel et son union à l’universel.
Le CD tente de reconstituer les différentes phases d’un concert de musique carnatique avec notamment la voix d’Aruna Sayeeram et le violoniste T.N. Krishnan.
Un extrait du titre n° 6 est disponible à l’écoute.
Les titres du CD 1. Varnam : Om pranava ; Raga : Mayamalavagaula ; tala : adi (Aruna Sayeeram : chant) : 5’36 2. Kriti : Marivere gati ; Raga : Anandabhairavi ; tala : misra chappu (T.N. Krishnan : violon) : 14’15 3. Kriti : Vallabha nayakasya ; Raga : Begada ; tala : rupakam (Dr Semmangudi R. Srinivasa Iyer : chant ; L. Subramaniam : violon) : 8’01 4. Raga : Alapana ; Raga : Kamboji (T.R. Mahalingam : flûte ; L. Subramaniam : violon) : 3’05 5. Kriti : Raga ratna malikace ; Raga : Ritigaula ; tala : rupakam (V. Doreswamy Iyengar : vina) : 15’50 6. Alapana et kriti : Marakata mani ; Raga : Varali ; tala : adi (D.K. Pattammal : chant) : 9’28 7. Padam : Ninnu juchi ; Raga : Punnagavarali ; tala : tisra triputa (Aruna Sayeeram : chant) : 9’28 8. Tillana ; Raga : kapi ; tala : lakshmsam (Trivandrum R.S. Mani : chant) : 2’02
Enseignante de formation, Isabelle Clinquart a vécu pendant dix ans au Kerala, où elle a appris la danse et le chant de théâtre kathakali, ainsi que la musique carnatique. Elle a donné ses premiers concerts en 1997 et s’est produite régulièrement au Kerala tout en poursuivant son apprentissage.
21,00 € disponible
Collection : musiques du monde
Illustrations 35 N&B
14 x 18 / Livre-CD broché / 2001 2-7427-3324-8
Source: Librairie en ligne – Cité de la musique
Address : http://www.cite-musique.fr/boutique/article.aspx?a=890
Date Visited: Wed Nov 02 2011
Voici un livre bienvenu pour le lecteur francophone qui ne disposait jusqu’ici d’aucun ouvrage général et synthétique sur la musique classique du sud de l’Inde abordant en sept courts chapitres à la fois son évolution historique, sa théorie esthétique (théorie des rasa), son système musical (théorie des raga et des tala, règles d’improvisation), les modalités de son apprentissage, ses instruments ainsi que la description générale du déroulement d’un concert.
Source: Worldcat.org where you also may find a library copy near you >>
Der Begriff “Wechselbeziehungen” schließt einen bestimmten harmonischen Verlauf in sich ein, der diejenigen strengen Gesetze der Harmonielehre verletzt, deren eigentlicher Sinn ein glatter und wohlklingender Verlauf der Stimmen im Kontrapunkt ist. Die Musik unserer Zeit befolgt diese Gesetze nicht mehr, noch waren Meister je von Regeln abhängig. […]
Es gibt keinen günstigeren Platz als Israel, um die gegenseitigen Beziehungen zwischen den östlichen und westlichen Kulturen zu erforschen. Israel ist nicht nur geographisch an genau der Stelle gelegen, wo sich drei kraftvolle Ströme begegnen: aus Afrika, Asien und Europa; die Volksgruppen, aus denen sich die Bevölkerung Israels zusammensetzt, zeigen selbst ein dynamisches und lebendiges Abbild der äußerst komplexen und reizvollen Modelle, welche der Wechselwirkung dieser verschiedenen Ströme entstammen. So ist dieses Buch über eine wissenschaftliche Studie hinaus in lebendiger Erfahrung verwurzelt und daher ein aktuelles und fesselndes Dokument.
Ein Hauptbeitrag Europas ist die Kraft, die Fähigkeit, der Wille zur Synthese. In Europa haben sich all diese großen Ströme zusammengefunden: aus Asien von der Mongolei im Norden bis Indien im Süden – in den Magyaren und Zigeunern [Sinti und Roma]1 Ungarns vereint […]
Es ist deshalb umso mehr die besondere Pflicht unseres Zeitalters zu versuchen, diese unendlich komplexen Wechselbeziehungen mit einer Mischung von Voraussicht und Vision zu verstehen und klarzulegen und dabei die große Fähigkeit zu nutzen, die wir wie alle Völker und Kulturen besitzen: die Kraft zu geben und zu nehmen, zu lehren und zu lernen; denn wir werden stets voneinander abhängig sein. Nur in solchem Geist der Demut können wir das Bestmögliche erreichen, oder zumindest dem Schlimmsten entgehen, das immer vielfältigere und bezwingende Verflechtungen uns zu bringen haben.
Yehudi Menuhin London, Januar 1977 (aus dem Englischen übersetzt)
Zitat: Erläuterungen zum Begriff „Zigeuner“ über die Notwendigkeit einer differenzierteren Bezeichnung, die sich jedoch erst lange seit dem Erscheinen dieses Buchs im Jahre 1977 durchsetzen konnte: „Zigeuner“ ist eine von Klischees überlagerte Fremdbezeichnung der Mehrheitsgesellschaft, die von den meisten Angehörigen der Minderheit als diskriminierend abgelehnt wird – so haben sich die Sinti und Roma nämlich niemals selbst genannt. Die Durchsetzung der Eigenbezeichnung Sinti und Roma im öffentlichen Diskurs war von Anfang an ein zentrales Anliegen der Bürgerrechtsbewegung, die sich vor allem seit Ende der Siebzigerjahre in der Bundesrepublik formierte. Dadurch sollte zugleich ein Bewusstsein für jene Vorurteilsstrukturen und Ausgrenzungsmechanismen geschaffen werden, die im Stereotyp vom „Zigeuner“ ihre Wurzeln haben. […] Die Begriffe Sinti und Roma sind nicht, wie häufig unterstellt, „politisch korrekte“ Erfindungen der Bürgerrechtsbewegung, sondern tauchen in Quellen bereits seit dem 18. Jahrhundert auf. […] Als schillernde Projektionsfläche sagt es viel über die Fantasien, Ängste und Wünsche derer aus, die es benutzen. Mit der Lebensrealität der Sinti und Roma hat es schlicht nichts gemein. Zugriff: https://zentralrat.sintiundroma.de/sinti-und-roma-zigeuner/ [6. Juni 2022] Fettdruck zur Betonung hinzugefügt[↩]