by Aharon Rothschild
I must admit that to me Rabindra Nath Tagore was one looming cultural
figure with a flowing beard who had started Shantiniketan, who was
the first Indian to win the Nobel prize and his poetry was sung by
my Bengali friends in syrupy sweet voices. It was in fact the attitude
of sweetness surrounding his work that made it opaque and uninteresting
for me. But the process of making this piece has been an eye opener
and I feel utterly grateful for it. Today, I am in total awe and admiration
of the man for his sheer humanity, his love and respect of Nature,
his unflinching faith in "life" even in the face of recurring tragedy,
his liberating views on education, art, spirituality, his child-centered
focus on life, his radical views on women and his touching love for
Bengal and Bengali. I feel that he wished to bring the world to Bengal;
whatever he appreciated anywhere in the world he wished to bring it
back to his people almost with a child-like eagerness. But most of
all I am stunned by his incredibly liberating views on nationalism.
I truly salute the man to be relentlessly Real and Human; he was absolutely
no romantic as he had earlier seemed to me from the outside!
Undoubtedly Real is a homage to his repeated journeys to the
same vantage point where he would strike an interface with the Real.
His forms are always touchingly simple and human, free from the burden
of perfection, convention and respectability. This work brings into
play chance meetings between many of Tagore’s expressions: a collage
of his writings, musings, letters, paintings, songs, plays as well
as his letters and political commentaries.