Controversy Stirred in the Streets of Bengal on Tagore’s Birth Anniversary

Bengal’s Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee wrote and set to tune a novel coronavirus awareness song. The Bengal Police’s order was asked to play the song composed by Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee on Rabindranath Tagore’s 159th birth anniversary. But this entire scheme turned out to stir a controversy. Opposition parties have regarded this as an attempt to impose the chief minister on the state’s greatest annual cultural event. 

On Friday, the 8th of May, almost all the state’s police stations carried out small tableaus which carried a cut out of Asia’s first noble eminent identity, Tagore. Rabindranath Tagore’s songs were being played over loudspeakers. This eminent figure in literature had also composed an oeuvre of work comprising more than two thousand songs which are collectively known as Rabindra Sangeet. Rabindra Sangeet has been considered one of the most important music genres in the state of Bengal. 

The police stations also played the coronavirus awareness song, “Corona-ke Chhutey Diyo Na” which had been composed by Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee at the end of March and was delivered by singer turned minister Indranil Sen.

The Additional Director General of West Bengal police (law and order) issued the order on Wednesday, the 6th of May. It had been issued to the special superintendent of police of all districts and commissionerates of the state of Bengal. 

“A programme titled Kabi Pranam is to be observed in districts and commissionerates on 08/05/2020 to mark the birthday of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. A collection of selected Tagore songs is enclosed herewith, along with the awareness song, written by Hon’ble CM, WB, on coronavirus. This should be played at important residential areas and housing complexes of cities and towns between 9 am and 11.30 am.”, read the order issued by Additional Director General of West Bengal.

“We used the celebration of Tagore’s birth anniversary to spread awareness on the coronavirus. Apart from playing Tagore’s songs, microphones were also used to remind people of the do’s and don’ts. The song on coronavirus awareness was played as part of the awareness programme,” said superintendent of police of a district, who did not wish to be named, on Friday.

However, CM Mamta Banerjee’s artistic expressions have often stirred controversies.

“Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore is the greatest icon, whose teachings and wisdom guide the world. But what do Mamata Banerjee’ awareness songs have to do with celebrating Gurudev’s life and legacy? It is not just an affront to Gurdev, but also makes light of the fight against Corona!”, said BJP national executive member Mukul Roy.

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