It is the first draft of original manuscript with poet's translations of the Gitanjali
Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee released a special edition of Rabindranath Tagore's diary with his translations of Gitanjali, as part of the poet's 150th birth anniversary celebrations here on Saturday.
The edition, with an index to the translation from Bengali sources, is the first draft manuscript of the original work, which has been preserved in the Houghton Library of Harvard University, U.S.
“It is indeed sentimental to have a look and feel of the diary in which Tagore made his English translations with his own hands,” said Mr. Mukherjee while unveiling the edition at Asiatic Society.
He said Harvard University had permitted the Indian government to make replicas, the first of which are being released, but the copyright does not permit the government to sell these copies.
The original work was a part of the Rothenstein Collection. Mr. Mukherjee said it was inscribed by Sir William Rothenstein as “Original manuscript, which the poet brought me from India on his visit to us at Oak Hill Park.”
Another book, Nameless Recognition: The Impact of Rabindranath Tagore on Other Indian Literatures, released by the Minister at the event, is a compilation of papers presented at a national conference on ‘The Impact of Rabindranath Tagore and other Indian Languages' in January, 2011.
Mr. Mukherjee, who chairs the National Implementation Committee (NIC) constituted for guiding the celebrations of Tagore's 150th birth anniversary, said that through collaborative effort between India and Bangladesh the “Rabindra Nattayan Project” has also been launched.
Stating that two sons of Bengal — Rabindranath Tagore and Swami Vivekananda — had the maximum influence on modern Indian history, he said the Central government had set up a National Committee to observe the 150th birth anniversary of the two eminent Indians.
Mr. Mukherjee said he was “happy” that the government had been able to install a memorial plaque on January 28 this year outside the auditorium in Chicago where Swami Vivekananda delivered his famous Chicago address about 119 years ago.
He said what Swami Vivekananda said during his Chicago address at the World's Congress on Religion was still relevant even after so many years.
Quoting from the speech “Religious fundamentalism, if not checked right now, will become biggest threat to civilisation,” Mr. Mukherjee said it was ironical that after so many years the speech delivered on September 11 in 1893, 9/11 had become the catchword for terrorism across the world.