What is Rabindrasangeet?

The songs of Rabindranath Tagore are known as Rabindrasangeet which number approx. 2500. It is no exaggeration to say that Rabindrasangeet has explored every corner of human emotion and perception to give them best possible expression. Their philosophical depth also is unparalleled in the music world. It may be claimed, Rabindrasangeet has climaxed wording of the ineffable in literature of all time. Anybody not knowing Bengali definitely miss this aesthetic treasure. A translation can at best explain the central idea of a song, but cannot surface the wonderful matching of music with the original poesy, both so intimate with its philosophical/spiritual canvas. Unfortunately, therefore, the best of Rabindrasangeet, with all its humanistic appeal of highest order, will remain confined within the Bengali circle. 

It may be possible, some highly talented musicians endowed with literary command also, will emerge with versions of Rabindrasangeet in other languages, equally appealing. Such experiment in Hindi has not been disappointing and has gained popularity. Hindi is of course quite close to Bengali which must have been a contributory factor to such success. But the Western languages are likely to pose insurmountable challenge to any such effort. 

While hoping that some highly talented musicians will someday perform this magic of perfect cloning of Rabindrasangeet even in the Western languages, a sensible suggestion in the meantime appears to be to keep its translation handy while the Westerners (and in general all not having access to Bengali) will give their ear to the original Bengali song and try to perceive its import. Those knowing Bengali can only sympathize those not so privileged for such a plight in their struggle to enjoy a song!

Some of my translations of Rabindrasangeets, appear under the theme of Rabindrasangeet, under the ‘Poetry’section. A few lines of the songs in original Bengali appear at the top in Roman script to enable the listeners to relate the translation to the song. More will be added as we move along.

Following quote from Tagore’s ‘Letters & Diaries’ may be found interesting and relevant –
About songs

For sometime, the debate on relative positions of ‘word’ and ‘music’ in a song is going on. I am not a maestro, but my common sense says this subject is not exclusively for a debate, but is very much inherent in Creation with its frolic. The high hand runs its steam roller on a fixed track to protect our rules and destinations. But, in the meantime, the Creator showers His creations in a myriad branches- where ‘words’ go alone and so does ‘music’ and, again, they go entangled too. In both this ‘isolation’ and ‘entanglement’ flowers joy. Those who advocate a ‘communal’ divide between the two, my appeal goes to them, to stop from hoisting these ‘class banners’ thus standing on the way of the creative streams only as a nuisance at the cost of peace.   

More By  :  Rajat Das Gupta

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Comments on this Blog

Comment hats of to these works

priya raga
11-Sep-2014 13:31 PM

Comment 10 June 2014 TO: Ms. Sonali Bhaumik I've checked your channel. There is good collection of Rabindrasangeet by various artists. However, my subject is translation of Tagore literature, including Rabindrasangeet, for propagation of Tagore's aesthetics and spirituality among those not privileged by the knowledge of Bengali language. These facets, one will agree, the Poet had climaxed in the literary history of all time. In fact, itself had uploaded a good number of my translated Rabindrasangeets (inter alia) which you may peruse. The Second edition of my book of Tagore translation was published in November 2013, the Centenary Year of the Poet's Nobel accolade. Boloji has recently published a review of this publication the 'link' of which is ~ Link for review of The Eclipsed Sun on If you are interested in this mission of propagating Tagore across the linguistic barrier of Bengali, I'll welcome your communication over my E-mail ID: Yours sincerely, Rajat Das Gupta

Rajat Das Guptya
10-Jun-2014 08:43 AM

Comment 9 May 2014 TO: Ms. Merry jana Thank you for your comment on my note on Rabindrasangeet. Second Edition of my book of Tagore translation was published in November 2013, the Centenary year of Tagore's Nobel accolade. A review of the book has recently been published in the 'link' of which is ~ Link for review of The Eclipsed Sun on Link for “My tryst with the Sikhs” If you'll be more interested in this publication, it'll be my pleasure if you'll contact me personally over my e-mail ID: Yours sincerely, Rajat Das Gupta

Rajat Das Guptya
09-Jun-2014 07:25 AM

Comment Great Rabindra Sangeet songs on the occassion of Rabindrajayanti. Please like our Rabindra sangeet and subscribe my channel Thanks, Sonali

Sonali Bhaumik
09-Jun-2014 02:12 AM

Comment just awesome.keep it on

Merry jana
19-Apr-2014 13:45 PM

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