I am really really sad and anxious and in despair. I had this sudden urge to hear Ja hariye jay- a Rabindra-sangeet that I had heard only from my music teacher. It is a beautiful song about coming to terms with the losses that assail mortal life. And the melody is equally beautiful and completely in tandem with the lyrics. Now I searched the net for a reliable and faithful rendition of the song but came up with nothing. Faithful adherence to the swaralipi (notation) as put down by Tagore is a must with me, being well aware of and a strong believer of the fact that the full import and beauty of the lyrics and Tagore's genius in writing and composing songs can be comprehended and appreciated only when one follows the notation faithfully. This has been an issue of much debate between me and my friends, thankfully without acrimony. But the fact remains that most of the singers nowadays, even those blessed with a really good voice and marvellous singing capability have taken it upon themselves to work their 'magic' and 'individuality' in the songs of Tagore, openly, audaciously and odiously flouting the notations and sometimes even the lyrics. Why can't these creative people improvise on their own works rather than try and improve on Tagore's? But they are popular because people have now no or very limited access to faithful renditions of Rabindrasangeet. So who's Subinoy Roy, who's Nilima Sen?There's not one song sung by the either of them available on the net. But look for Indrani Sen, look for Srabani Sen- you will be flooded with numerous horribly mutilated renditions of Rabindrasangeet sung by them.
True, many say music obeys no rule. Please let them write their own songs and express themselves to their heart's content. But try obeying rules of Rabindrasangeet for once, diligently, sincerely and if you understand music, it will be evident that the freedom of expression lies not outside the purview of these rules. If we call Tagore a man of all ages, let's be true to our word. Let us take him as our contemporary in his terms.
I'm afraid we'll soon forget what true Rabindrasangeet is.
I think more than sad or anxious, I am angry. Seething in fact.
Here's the lyrics:
Ja hariye jay ta aagle boshe roibo koto aar
Aar parine raat jagte he naath, bhabte anibar.
Achhi ratri dibash dhore duar amar bondho kore
Aste je chay sandehe tay tarai bare bar.
Tai to karo hoyna asa amar eka ghore.
Anandamoy bhuban tomar baire khela kore.
Tumio bujhhi poth nahi pao, eshe eshe firiya jao.
Rakhte ja chai, royna tahao, dhulay ekakar.