Monday, May 07, 2012

Tagore's birthday and the limitless Zohra Sehgal

Today, May 7, is the 151st birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, author of numerous works of prose and poetry, Nobel laureate (1913), artist, poet, philosopher, teacher, and the one who gave Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi the affectionate title of "Mahatma."

Verse 60 of Tagore's Gitanjali (the one that begins, "On the seashore of endless worlds children meet....") is a tender, beautiful ode to childhood, although as the Yeats foreword to the English edition suggests, perhaps it is about something else as well, something beyond human aspiration. Even in translation, its images are luminous, its energy transcendent. 

Tagore's signature in Bangla. Source: Wikipedia

Here's what Tagore had to say about education:
"...what happens within is much bigger than what comes out in words. Those who pin their faith on university examinations as the test of education take no account of this."
Too bad the test-makers and educational administrators of the world haven't been paying attention. Think K-12 and you'll see that faith, pinned like a butterfly on the specimen-boards of schools.

And here is the inimitable Zohra Sehgal, grand dame of Indian theatre and film, at 100 years, reading from a Karadi Tales book, The Case of the Stolen Smells. What an amazing woman she is--if the universe is listening, I'd like to be Zohra when I grow up!


  1. Oh, yes, isn't Zohra just wonderful? You must, must see this: