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Heceivad hi. In memory of Rabindranath.
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Tagore No sooner was the lovely moon full of all the digits T han she was seized by the jaws of Rahu : dust when the water-hearing cloud had turned sombre It was shattered by the force of the gale ; No sooner was the noble tree laden with fruit Than it was consumed by the forest fire: dust when you had become the crest-jewel of the world You have yielded to the sway of Death. But it was Ranjit's special desire endorsed after his death, almost a year ago, by his wife Vijayalakshmi Pandit, that I should bless and commend Ritusamhara, his last legacy to the world of letters.
He was essentially a poet by temperament, immediately and exquisitely aware of every claim of beauty in all its myriad forms, whether in nature or art or in human ideals and achievements. He was a man of a singular sweetness of character and a singular charm of personality. He was a scholar of deep learning and wide culture which divided itself in some strange though harmonious diarchy; his brilliant mind touched by Western influences responded eagerly to the challenge and stimulus of modern thought and revelled in the miracle of modern progress, but his spirit, proud and jealous of its splendid heritage, sought its sanctuaries of delight and consola- tion hi the glory of the sacred and secular classics of anciejnt India.
The simple story of his brief half century is quickly told. He was born in of a Saraswat Brahmin family of Maharashtra with a tradition of learning, settled in Rajkot. He received his early education in India and completed his higher studies in European Universities choosing the profession of Law.
In soon after his marriage to the beautiful daughter of Pandit Motilal Nehru, he made his home in Allahabad. But not for long could this soldier in the battle of freedom tarry in the paradise set among blossoming orchards in the shadows of the Himalayas. For him, as for countless of his fellows, his duty involved constant travail and continual sacrifice interrupted only by frequent and protracted terms of imprisonment.
The final phase of his illness caused him intense physical suffering which he endured with heroic serenity and fortitude. At dawn, on the 14th of January this year, he passed away in Lucknow mourned by the entire nation.
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His body was taken by his family and friends to Allahabad for cremation; on the 3rd day with due rites and ceremonies his ashes were scattered on the waters at the confluence of the Ganga and the Jamuna, considered holy by the Hindu race. My words are not intended to be an eulogy of one who is beyond the reach of mortal praise, nor are they meant to be an epitaph of one who has ensured his own immortality. They are a salutation of love to a gallant and gifted comrade who has passed into the region of his dreams and visions, where the seasons have yielded up to him the secrets of their changing magic and his soul has found the ultimate answer to the mystic issues of life and death.
Hyderabad Deccan. Since the sale of his own orchard at Ramgarh many years ago he had not visited these hills.
Kalidasa’s ‘Ritusamhara’ now in English
The Khali house was given to the Congress Socialist Party for their summer camp and Tagore accepted the offer of the best house in Almora where I called on him on a June morning.
Tagore was a great gardener. We soon drifted on to Sanskrit poetry and our flowering trees. It is customary in the hills for the individual house to have its own name. Khali has fresh! Tagore suggested that I should translate the Sanskrit lyrics of Kalidasa into English and add accurate notes on the plants, flowers and birds mentioned in them. From July the world of affairs had claimed me.
The work of the U. Legislative Assembly, which began to function from the end of the month, was an addition to our nonnal activities. I can hardly express the depth of response his message evoked in our hearts. Three months later we heard of the passing away of this great son of India. The Sanskrit verse which then occurred to me forms the dedication of this book. At the time I was engaged in completing the translation, from Sanskrit, of Mudra- JRakshasa, a pohtical play which deals with war and strategy.
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He considered that the time was ripe for the revaluation of many Western concepts and theories concerning India. Accordingly, after finishing the work in hand I commenced the examination of the original text of Ritusamhara in the different editions avail- able to me including the first Calcutta edition of Most prisons, unhappily, have wide gates!
The gateway to prison leads to the grinding mill of reality. Life in prison is a day to day affair. One faces a new day with no possibilities of hiding oneself from it.
The day itself loses its individuality and the week-ends have a strong family resemblance in their rigid sameness.
One misses the usual surrounding objects, the carpets, the soft lights, the numberless pleasant unnecessary things that colour and oil the wheels of life. To enjoy the luxuries of life one must go long.
Apart from the usual discomforts and restrictions there is a lack of privacy. One is accustomed to take privacy for granted; it is only in prison that one realizes that it is a great and precious luxury.
Then one has to learn to grow invulnerable to the pricks and pettiness of prison life. And, above aU, there is a tense atmosphere in jail. Literary work can hardly be attempted until the prisoner settles down to his cage.
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The powers that be, had apparently planned to keep us, if they could, in concentration camp for the duration of the War, and possibly also during the swell after the storm until the still more complicated peace could be settled to their own satisfaction. This was a disturbing factor and, for sometime, I was unable to compose myself.
My mind was sorting out the details of the past two decades. Gandhi, the great awakener, had, since the end of World War I, set up a vast churning process in India. He taught the people to fight non-violently and courageously for a principle and to choose the peine forte et dure until the movement for freedom had become a mighty wave in an unfathomable ocean.
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Gandhi had voiced the ideas of his people and had thus revitalized them. Both Tolstoy and Gandhi built on the foundation of ancient convictions and gave an outlet to the currents of their times and in each of them the genius of his own nation found expression for itself. The adoption of their ideas by multitudes has worked a miracle which in fact has been the logical and inevitable outcome of the situation.
So it has always been in history, that an entire generation has owed its outward freedom to the inner freedom of one individual. Foreign rule in India is now doomed. There is too much sheer devotion and determination in the ranks for failure to be even remotely possible.
The policy of the foreign rulers could affect, for a time, the political attitudes of a handful but the fundamental loyalties of the millions are unalterable. But what kind of India will they leave behind, what stark misery? The author describes the rapid progress of education and the founding of colleges and universities after the colonists had won the War of Independence and cast out British rule.
The Americans, liberated from British imperialism, achieved a phenomenal rise which had no parallel in history until the Russians, freed from Gzarist imperialism in recent times, proved the possibilities latent in the masses of the people. In then- thirst for knowledge. Brooks tells us, the Americans turned to Europe as well as to the Orient for knowledge and distant India was selected, together with ancient Greece and Rome, for sources of the wisdom of the ancients.
Early in the nineteenth century Sanskrit attracted the attention not only of the American scholars but of the lay people. This well known self-taught linguist who, as an apprentice, had kept a Greek grammar in the crown of his hat to study while he was Ccisting brass cow-bells made a version of Longfellow in Sanskrit. The Bible had lost its bloom for both; but the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita came to Henry like desert winds, blown from some Eastern summit.
What rhythms, what a tidal flow! Henry Hked to remember that the barn-yard cock was originally the wild Indian pheasant such as the poets of the Upanishads knew. Thoreau doubly paid the debt, for he furnished the Indians with a weapon to become a free and independent people. After the conquest of Abyssinia, MussoHni had announced that he had adopted the British administrative system in India, lock, stock and barrel, from viceroy to district officer.
Ritusamhara english translation pdf file
And, like the British government, he too was good enough to declare that the government of Fascist Italy, was the trustee of a backward people! Apparently it is necessary in order to redeem and free a people to have secret police, tapped telephones and concentration camps. The axis of dictatorship is the secret poHce. The G. The history of regimes contains periods when the rulers are only able to maintain themselves in power at the cost of their own legal system.
Gandhi and Nehru, and all those who were anti-fascist when the rulers of Britain were appeasers of the Nazis and the Fascists, are in detention and over a hundred thousand Congressmen and Congresswomen have been arrested and imprisoned.
The thick barrier of World War II had already hid the people of all nations one from the other, for three years and communication between them had almost ceased. He was the first American scholar to edit a Sanskrit text of the Vishnu Purana. Gandhi and Nehru are not narrow-minded nationalists.
They have the cause of world freedom and brotherhood at heart. Whatever action I may recom- mend will be governed by the consideration that it should not injure China Or encourage Japanese aggression in India or China. They are deprived of the right of correspondence and interview with relatives which are allowed to convicts. For, in this unhappy land to be accused, or even suspected, is worse than being convicted.
They are denied newspapers though these can now only publish censored news, the publication of which is officially encouraged for propaganda purposes.
Apparently the authorities desired that the mind of the political prisoners should not be jarred out of the lethargy into which they hoped it would settle. We tried to gather some measure of serenity with which to face the anxieties and strains of this greatest tragedy in human history.
Despite the rules and regulations of the high and mighty, human curiosity about the news of the war fronts and the Indian political situation broke down, in course of time, the barriers between the gaoler and the gaoled. The prison buzzed with news and rumours like a bee-hive and we were aware of the growing unrest in the country, the murmur of which seemed to pulse in the air.
The lack of accurate news of the world convulsion was at first a sore trial, and yet, in course of time, it helped to induce a mood of harmony. Other things helped still more. By a curious coincidence I found myself in the same barrack in the Central Prison at Naini on September 19th, the identical date on which in I had come here to join Jawaharlal Nehru and other comrades.
In the course of these twelve fateful years which have been longer, fuller, more important than the rest of my life taken together I was brought five times to this very bairack before transfer to other prisons.
Habit has its good side. It makes one inured to local contacts. None can take away the joy we have had in reading lovely books, or listening to great music and poetry. These years had been lightened for me by new friendships opening out new mental horizons.