TSH’s Annual Tagore Talk Spreads Message of Humanity, Creativity

Sudprita Tagore (left) with Debleena Banerjee, Sukanti Ghosh, Diana Sayavedra, Matthew Willis and Raj Salhotra.

HOUSTON: Organized by the Tagore Society of Houston, the Ninth Annual Tagore Talk was delivered by Sudripta Tagore, the great-great grandson of Satyendranath Tagore (elder brother of Rabindranath). The TSH is a preeminent organization in existence since 1974 and strives to spread Rabindranath Tagore’s philosophy of humanism and cultural exchange as expressed through his own creations.

An educationist in his own right having taught and setup schools in many places in India and south-east Asia, Sudripta Tagore considers himself the foot soldier of Rabindranath. Tagore has now settled back in Santiniketan to build a school that will introduce Rabindranath Tagore’s educational philosophy through a new-age 21st century educational pedagogy.
In his keynote speech Tagore shared the importance of building a “liberal mind” in the 21st century globalized world. His presentation harped on four key points that should be included in a learning environment: unification with nature, practicing humanism, exploring liberal arts, and immerse with aesthetics. These he believes will help all understand the universe in its completeness.

Rabindranath Tagore believed that “humans are angels of surplus” and that meant that humans had the capacity to experience the beauty of the infinite within the finite boundaries of a body. It was this that paved way to a feeling of bliss or “ananda” that he had often referred to in his numerous creations. Tagore also roused the audience to sing along a Tagore song as he played Indian dulcet Esraj, an overwhelming joyful experience for all present.

The evening began with the Tagore Society Youth Orchestra presenting two melodious Rabindrasangeet. These young kids are being groomed through different creative avenues to experience the boundless joy within, be it orchestra performance or raising money through bake-sell or drama production.

The Tagore Society Youth Orchestra has nurtured more than 50 kids from greater Houston area since its inception 4 years ago. It is a unique platform that helps youth ranging in age from 6-18 experiment with different genres of music, languages, instruments and interact with different people, audience and stages. Besides music kids learn performance skills and develop a passion and acceptance of world music. They learn to transgress boundaries of language and genres so that they grow up appreciating humanity in its various forms.

The evening ended with a very powerful and enriching panel discussion where the panelists brought home the message that the academic curriculum should build modules for students to develop liberal minds. The panel was led by Sukanti Ghosh a senior director of Apco Worldwide. The panelists were Diana Sayavedra (Chief Academic Officer of Fort Bend County education), Mathew Willis (Chief Program Officer of Children at Risk) and Raj Salhotra (co-founder of Swag to College and One-Jump).

TSH’s month-long Tagore celebrations will end with a joint classical peace concert with Indian Music Society on June 15 (at 5 pm) at the Houston Durgabari Auditorium dedicated on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s sesquicentennial. The featured artists are well-known flautist Pandit Pravin Godkhindi and his family.