Saturday, January 28

Mongpu bungalow with Tagore link restored, to become seat of research

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The Mongpu Bunglow, where Rabindranath Tagore spent some time in his last few years, has finally been restored from its state of utter disrepair and will soon be opened to research scholars. Renovated by West Bengal Heritage Commission, the bungalow at the Himalayan hamlet in Darjeeling, houses a museum that has several of Tagore’s original artworks, self-portrait, handwritten documents and old photographs, which are likely to be digitized shortly.

Artist and commission chairman Suvaprasanna said the bungalow housed invaluable documents on Tagore’s connection with Mongpu and the strong bond he shared with the family of writer Maitreyi Devi, who authored ‘Na Hanyate’. “The Rabindra Bhavan museum will be a seat of research. Plans for scholarships are in the offing to encourage research so that the assets in the museum are utilized properly. People will also learn about Mongpu and its rich legacy,” he said. Baisakhi Mitra, head of the museumology department and curator in-charge at the museum, welcomed the initiative: “After years of neglect, this move by the government can revive its lost glory,” she said.

Visitors to Rabindra Bhavan museum can find the wooden desk where the poet wrote and the mahogany bed he slept in. The museum also has furniture designed by Tagore and carved by his son, Rathindranath. Evidence of the lesser known facet of the poet, that he practised homoeopathy, is also displayed at the museum.

Tagore first visited Mongpu in 1938 on the invitation of Maitreyi Devi and stayed at her house. The bungalow belonged to her husband Manmohan Sen, who served the government at that time. The house was rechristened ‘Rabindra Bhavan’ in 2009. It is there that Tagore wrote ‘Janmadin’ on his 80th birthday on Maitreyi Devi’s request. He recited the poem for AIR Calcutta over telephone from Kalimpong. His stay is recorded by Maitreyee Devi in her ‘Mongpute Rabindranath’.

Source: Times of India

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