Londoners gathered at Kensal Green cemetery on Sunday afternoon to pay tribute to Rabindranath Tagore’s grandfather Drawarakanath Tagore on his 225th birth anniversary.
Bengal Heritage Foundation (BHF) and London Sharad Utsav (LSU) for the second consecutive year jointly organised a commemoration event for the “Forgotten Pioneer”.
Dwarkanath Tagore was one of the first Indian industrialists and entrepreneurs and is known for making substantial contributions to the Bengal Renaissance. Remembered as the grandfather of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, not many know about the huge contributions of the other ‘Tagore’ in the field of entrepreneurship and industrialisation in India. Long before Rabindranath Tagore became internationally acclaimed and created storm through his writings, his grandfather had seen the dreams of a revolutionised Bengal.
Dwarakanath, born in 1794, died in London in 1846 and was buried in Kensal Green cemetery. Since Dwarakanath was adopted, there are no records of the date of his birth through the year has been noted. He died on August 1 and was cremated in London on August 5, 1846. The tomb London’s Kensal Green was in an obscure situation until last year when BHF and LSU, with support from Ilead, friends of Kensal Green cemetery came forward to do restoration work. They decided to gather every year around the 1st week of August to pay tribute to this prestigious son of India.
This year’s commemoration reflected the many facets of his personality. Several Bengalis living in the UK gathered at the mausoleum to lay wreaths. Among those who spoke eulogies were Mohammed Rashid Khan (counsellor, Indian High Commission) and Henry Vivian-Neal (of Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery). The group then walked all the way from the tomb to the Dissenters’ Chapel singing “Anondoloke Mongolaloke”, famous Rabindrasangeet.
In the chapel, there was a small celebration featuring encomiums that delve into Dwarakanath’s life and works. There were speeches by Sagarika Golder (social researcher) on “Dwarakanath and the women in his life” focusing on his relationship with this wife, Digambari Devi. Sourav Niyogi (President, Bengal Heritage Foundation) spoke on Dwarakanath’s birth and early years, sharing insights with the audience on how he was adopted and raised by his own uncle. Amit Guha of BHF spoke on Dwarakanath’s lifestyle. Rabindra Bharati University (RBU) vice-chancellor, Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury, joined over an audio call to present his views on Dwarakathnath’s 225th birth anniversary. Tanusree Guha, Anamika Sarkar, Mahua Bej, Sambrita Das and Amit Guha presented songs and Amith Dey played a Beethoven number, remembering Dwarakanath’s love for western music. The session in the chapel ended with a short story reading by Koushik Chatterjee, who read Rabindranath Tagore’s “Jibito o Mrito”.
“This is the second successful year BHF and LSU organised the annual commemoration for Dwarakanath Tagore to mark 225th birth anniversary. We are happy that through this initiative we are making more and more Indians settled in the UK aware of Dwarkanath’s tomb being present here in London,” said Anirban Mukhopadhyay, president, LSU. The programme ended with the famous Rabindrasangeet “Aguner Poroshmoni”.
Source: Times of India