On a rainy day in 7 August, 1941 the city was a sea of heads when the mortal remains of Rabindranath Tagore lay at the house where he was born. Small wonder, all roads led to Jorasanko. This death demanded no tears. This grief, this immense sorrow was the culmination of eighty years of uncompromising labour.It was too precious to be squandered in tears.
After all, the fruits of this toil had fetched laurels for the man and his country. It was indeed a hallowed mansion where his lifeless form lay as the high and mighty as well as the common man had crossed its threshold to listen to his words, share his thoughts and sometimes merely to get a glimpse of this wonderful genius. The Kolkata crowd is usually not without any specific destination. If the city crowds were never aimless with everyone usually knew where he/she is going, the passing of Tagore that day seem to have made them forget their destinations for a while.
The roads were full of typical late-afternoon crowds, schoolboys sans their boisterousness, several elderly persons wandering aimlessly, groups of people gathered at some of the shops clustered round the radio broadcasting the activities around the lifeless form of the great man of whom reams have written and yet much left unsaid.
There were knots of people at almost every street-corner, hoping to board any public transport that came by. People stood in balconies, at windows, looking vacantly yet expectedly for a last glimpse of the great man. Everyone was waiting and watching to have the last look of the man who had not only made them and their country proud but voiced their joys and sorrows in words and on canvas in a way no one had been able to do before and since. In sum, the people seemed to be bewildered.
Much of bewilderment has melted away in the passage of years as people picked up the pieces of their lives and went about their business. Yet it surfaces on the day when one of the greatest among us passed on to the land of the shadows. A day after the passing of this hour of sorrow, Sutradhar, a publication firm will observe the sad occasion at Sir Asutosh Mookherjee Memorial Institute at 6.00 p.m on 8 August.