Glimpses of Bengal: Select Letters



In the 1890s, Nobel Laureate Rabindrana­th Tagore, travelled across Bengal to manage his family’s far-flung agricultur­al estates. Travelling in his houseboat, up and down the Padma River and its many tributarie­s, Tagore vividly captures the breathtaki­ng imagery of the Bengali countrysid­e and the reticent grace of the dayto-day village life. Sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, the settings of his letters formed the backdrop of many of his poems and plays (e.g. The Post Office). His letters, many of which were addressed to his niece Indira Devi, make for a lightheart­ed and captivatin­g reading. Tagore is sure to charm you with his wondrous story telling and powerful imaginatio­n.

Bandora by the Sea:

October 1885

The unsheltere­d sea heaves and heaves and blanches into foam. It sets me thinking of some tied-up monster straining at its bonds, in front of whose gaping jaws we build our homes on the shore and watch it lashing its tail. What immense strength, with waves swelling like the muscles of a giant! From the beginning of creation there has been this feud between land and water: the dry earth slowly and silently adding to its domain and spreading a broader and broader lap for its children; the ocean receding step by step, heaving and sobbing and beating its breast in despair. Remember the sea was once sole monarch, utterly free. Land rose from its womb, usurped its throne, and ever since the maddened old creature, with hoary crest of foam, wails and laments continuall­y, like King Lear exposed to the fury of the elements.

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