What was once merely a rumour that flowed through the Tagorean grapevine has recently been proved to be a blissful reality bringing joy to many Tagore devotees. This is all thanks largely due to an Indian newspaper report, which has recently been unearthed.
Interestingly, this ‘union’ of sorts didn’t take place in a literary-cultural forum, but during the Cricket World Cup games held in the Indian subcontinent in 2011, also the year of Tagore`s 150th birth celebration!
The Times of India, published from Mumbai, dated 3 April 2011 stated:
“India may be on song but the man with the top score was the Nobel-Laureate Rabindranath Tagore as the genius behind it. It is rare for International sports events to begin and end with the cricket players of the three countries of the Indian sub-continent e.g. India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (Ceylon), singing anthems written or inspired by the same man. It all happened this time round. Tagore was the factor that linked them all. Tagore’s association with India and Bangladesh are well-known. What is less well-known is Gurudev’s impact on Sri Lanka’s anthem. As a disciple of Tagore at Viswas-Bharati, Santiniketan, Ananda Samarkoon’s composition was exactly in Rabindrasangeet style. Some credit Tagore as having composed the music. It was Samarkoon’s six-month stint at the Tagore’s arts college in Santiniketan that inspired him to begin the anthem.
The style eventually developed to be ‘the first traditions of unique Sinhalese music’ wrote Sri Lankan news portal Lanka Gazette in celebration of Gurudev’s 150th birth anniversary in 2011.
In world cup 2011’s first match between Bangladesh and India on 19 February in Dhaka, the Anthems of these countries composed by Tagore were sung and last Saturday’s final in Mumbai had India’s anthem being played while the Sri Lankan players sang ‘Namo, namo matha’ which also has Tagore’s stamp.”