Like a shy village wife
Our neighborhood stands
Covering its face with a shade like a veil.
Right in its middle is a pond
Along its bank stand the palms.
Along a narrow winding lane
To draw water the girls come
The branches of bamboo plants
Are bent over that lane
Their leaves flutter in the wind.
By the side of the village path
The grocer Hari keeps his shop
Rice, pulses, oil and salt he sells
He also sells betelnut and lime.
With a husking pedal
Paddy is husked by an elderly woman
She also fries rice on a frying pan
In the morning with her children
The milkmaid Bidhu milks the cows.
In their compound Kanai and Balai
Keep pulses and mustard in mounds
Their wives make cow-dung cakes
On their boundary walls.
Translation of the poem Amader para from the collection Chitra by Rabindranath Tagore. It is a faithful description of a typical Bengal village. For his school at Santiniketan text books were needed. Under the direction of the poet most of them were written by the teachers themselves, but the poet himself had to bear the largest load. As an educationist he felt that the small boys and girls should first be familiarized with their immediate environment. This collection contains poems on such themes. Written in a simple language, their rhymes and rhythms make them very pleasant as reading materials. His plan was to make learning not a painful but a pleasant activity. Corporeal punishment prevalent in those times was totally prohibited. Classes were held mostly outdoors under the shades of trees. Teachers were to be on friendly terms with the students. Where a student’s progress was not satisfactory it was the teacher’s responsibility to find out the reason and suitably modify his teaching technique.