On November 28th, 2013, Prithwindra Mukherjee, Indian ethnomusicologist and poet, coordinated a series of events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the conferral of the Nobel Prize to Rabindranth Tagore, at the Indian Embassy in Paris, supported by FIND – India Europe Foundation for New Dialogues. The day event included a recital, a concert and a dance performance. Please find the article written by him for the FIND Newsletter Indialogues #3 – March 2014.
ʻFor about a decade after its creation, the Nobel Prize was an exclusive privilege of European − especially German− authors. The choice of Tagore, a little known citizen of British India showed a decisive turning point that politically-bound Western literature sought to follow with the imminent World War 1914-18: end of tension, for instance, with the exit of Wilhelm II; message of a new hope revealed in the pages of Tagore’s Gitanjali (which young Europeans like Jean Guéhenno discovered in the trenches). A hundred years after the joint effort of men like W.B. Yeats or André Gide, I wanted to help Western readers rediscover Tagore: whereas Gitanjali represented only a couple of years in the long creative career of Tagore, I picked up 108 of his poems and songs (he composed more than two thousand!) tracing back the blossoming of his poetic genius, rich in a complex bouquet of various moods, with love and concern for men (and also women!) predominating; behind the obvious prophet, I discovered and shared with my friends the world poet, fond of life with a contained passion. Having practised my mother tongue Bengali since my childhood with as much care as French and English, I wanted to show the inherent beauty of these poems and songs thanks to a trilingual anthology, A Shade Sharp, a Shade Flat, serving as a triple mirror. With the help of professional performers −French and Indian−, I conceived a tribute to this Centenary with texts recited and sung and danced. The FIND Foundation came forward to sponsor this exceptional recital where East and West met at the Embassy of India, in Paris.̛