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Storylines and Songscapes: Celebrating Tagore's short stories

LSE Literary Festival Tagore 150th Anniversary event

Celebrating Rabindranath Tagore's 150th anniversary, this production marks his seminal contribution to Indian fiction with his short stories. The presentation includes a reading of four short stories in English translations, live music and dance, and film clips.

This project celebrates the art of storytelling and live reading, the beauty of Tagore’s little gems. The readings are punctuated with appropriate music and songs and film excerpts illustrate the visual potential of these stories. The audience engages with the connections made between the spoken word, song and visual image -a stimulating and sensory experience as offered by the best short stories.

Rabindranath Tagore introduced the short story as a literary genre in Bengali literature. Most of these were written or drawn from his experiences of rural Bengal, when as a boy of 20, he was sent out to supervise the family estates lying on both sides of the mighty river Padma (East Bengal now Bangladesh). He spent many months in a houseboat on the river, met the village folk and soaked in the beauty of the land and riverscape. For a city boy from a crowded family, this was Tagore’s first experience of solitude amidst nature. He heard the boatman’s song and the village baul ( itinerant fakir) which probably sowed the seeds of Sufi philosophy reflected in his songs and poetry.

The stories, anthologised in Galpaguccha, claim a place in word literature besides the classics of Chekov, Maupassant and O’Henry. Who can forget the little orphan girl Ratan in Post Master ? Or the tomboy Mrinalini whop transforms into a passionate woman in Samapti? How moving is the unlikely friendship between Mini and the migrant Afghan in Kabuliwallah? Or Mrinal who steps out of her husband’s home never to return in Streer Patra?

Director Sangeeta Datta has selected four short stories from her translations. Post Master, Kabuliwallah, Samapti (The Conclusion) and Streer Patra (The Wife’s Letter). All of these have been freely adapted into films by Satyajit Ray, Bimal Roy, Tapan Sinha and Purnendu Patree.

This event is presented by BAITHANK UK and supported by The Nehru Centre, Orbit Property Management Ltd, HT & Co Drinks Ltd, Hoesh International Ltd and Alan and Linda Westall. It will be followed by a drinks reception, with a complimentary drink for the audience, as well as a cash bar.


Concept and Direction: Sangeeta Dutta | talks


Date and Time:

16 February 2011 at 6:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Sheikh Zayed Theatre
New Academic Building
London School of Economics and Political Science

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Organised by:

London School of Economics & Political Science
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Available from:

All events in the Literary Festival programme are free and open to all, but a ticket is required. Tickets will be available to request online from Monday 31 January. Please visit the event weblisting from 10am on Monday 31 January for full details of how to request a ticket.

Event weblisting: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/publicEvents/events/2011/20110216t1830vSZT.aspx

Additional Information:

From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check the listing for this event on the LSE events website on the day of the event.For any queries email events@lse.ac.uk or call 020 7955 6043.

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