Rabindranath Tagore and the Sikhs

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Old 13-Feb-2007
Rabindranath Tagore and the Sikhs

Guru Rabindranath Tagore wrote a number of poems that rank among his finest compositions and are known to every Bengalee, man and women, who has had some school education. In 1900 were published two volumes of ballads and narratives which are now combined in a single volume entitled Katha-O-Kahini (Tales and Legends). Some of these poems are based on Buddhist legends, some on Toddís Rajasthan, and some on Sikhs history - one around Banda, another around Taru Singh, two others concern Guru Gobind Singh.

Of the two poems on Guru Gobind Singh, "Shesh Siksha" (The Last Lesson) tells the story of how the Guru had, once in sudden anger, killed a Pathan creditor; how, to atone for this act, he brought up the Pathanís son, treating him as a son, and how the young Pathan became deeply devoted to the Master; how the Guru tried to arouse the young manís vengeance but failed once, and how eventually the Pathan was made to fly into a rage and to plunge a dagger into the Masterís body; and how the dying Guru said, ?My son, this is my last lesson for you, you must take revenge for a wrong done.? This too is a great poem bringing out the Guruís complex personality but the other poem, entitled Guru Gobind is, to my mind, the greatest of this group, great because of the rhythm and imagery, great because of the excruciating psychological self-exploration of the Guru during years of solitude.
(Can anyone get us a translation of Shesh Shiksha?)

Rabindranath Tagore was granted Knighthood by the British Government, which he renounced in protest of the British massacre of peaceful protesters at Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919.

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An English translation of "Bandadir"(The Chained Hero) written by Rabindranath Tagore. This poem was originally written in Bengali.

In the prominent royal Mogul court of Delhi
King's sleep will break-up hundred times daily
There was such a dreadful fright in his heart
In his consciousness painful sighs were brought

What fire scorched his heart no one knows
All of a sudden he was jumping in fiery blows
It appeared like red hot sky from the Delhi court
King's heart shaking, seeking Godly support

Rivers of blood were flowing on the five rivers' land
Sikhs were facing persecutions for some ideal ground
Smeared in blood, they were saying thanks in gratitude
Patiently, regardless of comforts, they were in solitude

They crossed their way with the Moguls might
With faithful heart they remembered God in sight
Maiden decorated with mark of blood, their foreheads
What sort of people are Sikhs, with such eagerness

They move like moth, looking at burning all around
Without delay they line up ready to fight duty bound
They play jokes with death, and like lions they roar
Wherever they stare and rebuke, enemy is no more

Brave warriors jumped in fray with hand to hand attack
They quickly hawk assaulting caught the deadly foe
Like flying hawk assaulting a deadly poisonous snake
Squeezing them in his claws from tip to toe

Innumerable was the enemy army, Sikhs were very few
They were surrounded in chains and were put in queue
Clothes soaked in blood, bodies full of wounds and bruises
Intestines fall in tummy but they had faith and confidence

The enemy was battered by the dashing Banda Singh sage
Moguls fought back and tied him like brave lion in cage
Surrounded him from all the sides and imprisoned the hero chum
Then they moved towards Delhi, on the beat of kettle-drum

The Mogul army departed towards the Capital of Delhi city
They moved like hurricane, without stopping or any pity
Seven hundred Sikhs were imprisoned and curled-up in chains
It was a disgusting sight, an extraordinary incident, full of pains

On every pointed spear, the head of Sikh was hanging
Streams of blood dripping, the sight will give a panging
Sikh prisoners shackled in chains, shouted this voice of cry
O! our true saviour preserve thy honour, don't let panth shy

Spectators gathered in the heart of Delhi's Chandni Chowk
This caravan of Sikhs was quite out of strength and in shock
Outside they were dull and defeated, inside enjoying thrill
Greeting loudly the victory of Guru and obedient to His will

The onlookers revealed an extraordinary and peculiar tale
The prisoners started argument as no body wanted to fail
Everybody wanted to be first in their turn to meet the fate
All wanted to meet the Beloved, Gobind through life's gate

The wheel of death started, the murderers were on assault
An applause was echoed, whenever the sword was at fault
The Sikhs were being butchered, going forward for sacrifice
It was game of seven days for seven hundred heroes nice

Chief Banda Singh was in the clutches of destiny or fate
Next they brought forward to kill his little son ever so great
The Kazi passed on to banda Singh the killer sword grand
He ordered to cut his son's head as it was royal command

Sons are symbols of worldliness for formality in social affairs
If someone rebukes them one feels like to pull his hairs
What sort of test in life, to kill one's own son, was shaping
The thing one can't even imagine, the same was happening

Banda first picked his son and loved and caressed him
Then he tried to explain the role and character of Sikhism
Prince Fateh and Jujhar Singh were also children like you
Now in the test time and what they achieved you can also do

Greeting the victory loudly, the little son was revitalized
If life goes, the custom of Sikhism is, let it be sacrificed
For holder of righteousness definite victory will be at last
His love won't be wasted, he meets the Beleoved very fast

The Kazi became angry as he could not bear the splendour
The executioner attacked the child and he started to flutter
Even then this strange trick of destiny could not succeed
Plump intestines jumping softly, the earth was red indeed

It is written in the history that Banda remaned unmoved
In his mouth soft plump heart of slayed child was forced
In this hard probation Banda remained unshaken, steady
The history will cry when going through its own study

It was such a dreadful scene that onlookers could not spy
Snatching with pincers first they took out his both eyes
Iron bars were made red hot to burn his body limbs ready
The Sikh greeted the victory loudly and soul left the body

The Sky echoed with kettle-drum beat, banner flying like kite
Once a hero takes a battlefield, he is eager to show his might
A true warrior is one, who fights for sake of humble and meek
He might cut into the pieces, but to leave battlefield will never seek

SOURCE : sikhspectrum.com Register


Old 02-Aug-2013
Re: Rabindranath Tagore and the Sikhs


Old 03-Aug-2013
Yaar Punjabi
Re: Rabindranath Tagore and the Sikhs

Rabindranath Tagore,was a great philosopher, poet, writer and truely a legend. He studied the Sikh Religion and history and was very impressed by the splendid philosophy of Sikhism and the Sikh way of life. When the 'Jallianwala Bagh Massacre' took place he was so deeply pained , that he returned his Knighthood. This event increased his admiration for theSikhs so much, that he wrote a great deal in his poems praising the Sikh heroes and warriors, who with their brave efforts manifested the unparalled race of Sikhs on the map of India.
Thanks to RN Tagore FOR THIS pOEM My Salute to the great warrior Banda Singh Bahadur and tribute to the great poet Rabinder Nath Tagore.

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