July 6, 2014
by Ansuman

Tues 8 July 2014: Interview with Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed

By Mr Mijarul Qayes
Also featuring Dr Kalyan Kundu and Sanjoy Dey

Tuesday 8July 2014 6 – 8pm
Brady Arts and Community Centre
192 – 196 Hanbury Street
London E1 5HU
Book your tickets on 07867 584104: £10 / £5


Abdullah Abu Sayeed Portrait by Mishu








Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed is a writer, television presenter, organiser and activist. He is currently the Chairman of Bishwa Sahitya Kendra, a non-profit organisation that promotes the study of literature, reading & writing, and progressive ideas.

Sayeed was born in 1939 in Kolkata. His father was Azimuddin Ahmed, a teacher of both English and Bengali literature. He was also a playwright.

Sayeed passed SSC exam from Pabna Zilla School in 1955 and HSC exam from Profollo Chandra College in 1957. He later earned the degree of BA and MA in Bengali from the University of Dhaka in 1960 and 1961 respectively.

Sayeed was given the 97th Ramon Magsaysay Award in Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts for “cultivating in the youth of Bangladesh a love for literature and its humanizing values through exposure to the great books of Bengal and the world”. Other awards include:
· Bangla Academy Award (2011) for his essays.
· Ekushey Padak (2005)[5]
· Mahbub Ullah Trust Award (1998)
· National TV award (1977)

(source: wikipedia  | photo taken by M H Mishu)

 Also featuring  performances by Nadia Nihad, Laboni Barua and Sarwar e Alam

Musician: Tonmoy

Presenter: Khadija Rahman

Produced by Sanjoy Dey and Presented by Neom


February 21, 2014
by Ansuman

Behind the Beard

Here’s another contribution to our Features section. A short extract from Sahitya Akademi’s 1961 publication on Tagore. It follows on nicely from Matthew Pritchard’s piece on interpreting Tagore for the West.

Artists create with painstaking labour but have little control over how they or their works are perceived. The further the work travels, the more faint and distorted does the creator become. This Law of Celebrity has held true ever since the very first stories were told, and it is still true now. Some extra effort is required to penetrate the miasma of rumour and fantasy that obscures the work of art. Perhaps one way is to become absorbed into the work wholeheartedly in order to feel what was felt by the person who made it. And perhaps there is no more wholehearted involvement than singing. Is this what Tagore meant when he said that his songs were the most vital parts of him, living on long after he was gone?

Phillipe Stern’s piece gives us a glimpse of the person of Tagore, and thereby gives a clue as to how we might approach his art. As Matthew Pritchard also suggested, returning to the simple, vulnerable beauty of the voice seems to be key. That’s what is behind that beard and also right under our noses.

The Real Rabindranath Tagore and his Music 


February 12, 2014
by Ansuman

A New Approach to Tagore’s Music

I’m delighted to introduce the first offering in our new Features section. This part of the site will grow into an online exhibition and discussion forum and this first piece, by Matthew Pritchard, serves perfectly as a provocation and a keynote.

Tagore’s reception in the West has often been hampered by stylistic misunderstandings. His words and music are easily misrepresented and sometimes just barely limp across the cultural divide. The Tagore Centre would like to take a fresh look at Tagore’s legacy and help to find what makes it compelling and relevant in our time. Matthew Pritchard describes a journey towards understanding that might be an inspiration for others and might prompt a re-evaluation of some old material.

Certainly he’s articulated for me a vague dissatisfaction I have always felt with the standard presentation of Rabindrasangeet. I’ve struggled against my nagging doubts because I was convinced there must be something of value to discover in my own heritage. Now I feel very excited by the possibilities Matthew hints at, of renewed marriage vows between the musics of Bengal and Europe.

January 7, 2014
by Ansuman

Between the Lines

Welcome to a new look for the Tagore Centre website!

With the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund we are now embarking on a new programme of work called Between the Lines.

Between the Lines aims to help people from all walks of life become familiar with Tagore’s work.

Over the course of this project we will introduce Tagore to those who may be encountering lines of his poetry, songs or paintings for the very first time.

We will also invite those who are firm fans to read ‘between the lines’, look beyond the customary understandings, and become more actively inspired.

In reading ‘between the lines’ we invite you to discern the space from which the words emerge, a space of sky and light, a space of dark silence and the blank page.

The poet’s words may lead us into this space but those words are eventually lost in music.

Lines of melody reverberate in the silences between the lines of melody.

It is in that silence that we may hear our own breath and the movement of our own thoughts.

So it is between the lines that Tagore has drawn that we might discover ourselves.

Here is an invitation to take Tagore’s line for a walk.

Let’s begin from his example but move on from there. Let’s heed Tagore’s exhortation not to passively consume, but to energetically engage according to our own desires, capacities and environments.

Over the next few months the Tagore Centre will be creating a series of opportunities, for anyone who is interested, to approach Tagore in a new way.  We will produce new translations and interpretations to help us not merely spectate from a distance but to hear his call and answer, to see his tracks and follow wholeheartedly. The emphasis will be not on a dusty old man uttering solemn edicts, but on fresh creations animated by an ancient spirit. The Tagore Centre will be running events to promote not only an appreciation and understanding of a precious heritage, but to use that understanding in dealing with our present reality.

There will be opportunities to not only engage with Tagore’s vast body of work but also to sing, play, write and make films of our own. If that seems of interest please subscribe to this website for regular updates. In the meantime, here is news of the first project in which we invite you to participate:

Open Call for an Artist/Curator/Writer-in-Residence

The Tagore Centre UK holds a substantial archive of books, photographs, CD’s and visual art relating to Rabindranath Tagore. The main centre is in North London and there is also a branch in Glasgow.

We are now looking for an artist, curator or writer to immerse themselves in this archive and respond to it.

The successful applicant will have access to the Tagore Centre’s collections and its project space, which is suitable for small performances and readings. He or she will also be able to engage with Tagore Centre staff and its wider network, and to attend the Centre’s regular programme of events.

Most of the written material in the archive is in English but support can be given for those non-Bengali speakers who would also like to use Bengali language materials.The production and dissemination of the successful applicant’s practice may take any form but a significant element of it should be documented online via a blog or online exhibition.

This online space may be used to frame and comment on particular parts of the collection, or for new interpretations of Tagore’s legacy, or for tangential musings and experiments. Other contexts and venues for any outcomes of the residency may be arranged by mutual agreement. These might include talks, workshops, exhibitions, or performances with the Tagore Centre or any of its partners.

Applicants need not be expert in, or even particularly familiar with, the work of Rabindranath Tagore.

Curiosity and a willingness to explore will be better qualifications. Some orientation will be given at the commencement of the residency and Tagore Centre archivists will be on hand throughout to offer guidance and feedback.We are looking for someone with a fresh perspective who will be able to contribute to dialogue and debate and enrich the Tagore Centre by their presence.

We offer time and space to engage with a vibrant community interested in the work of a remarkable multi-disciplinary artist, and we offer a platform for any new work that might arise from this engagement.Applicants need not be based near the Tagore Centre but should be able to make at least six visits to it over the course of the residency.

A bursary of £1000 is offered and a small budget is also available for any production expenses which may be used towards travel and subsistence.

For more details on how to apply please write to:

The Tagore Centre UKhlf-final