It is an impossible task for a person born and brought up on Bengali literature to review Tagore’s work. Rabindranath Tagore is considered to be the epitome of art and literature and let me not attempt in analysing his literary pieces. Instead, let me go on and tell you what this new translation of his travelogues has to offer and exactly why you should read it if you haven’t already read the original texts in Bengali.
Gleanings of the road is a collection of essays, letters and travel journals written by Rabindranath Tagore while he was travelling throughout the world, mostly England. A great observer and storyteller like him, always found hidden snippets in every person he came across and every city he travelled to. Sometimes he communicated his feelings through the letters he wrote back home or to Santiniketan. Other times, he noted down how a particular place affected him and how different that made him feel than when he was in his hometown.
Tagore, in the introduction to the collection “Pother Sonchoy”, says Indians have a slightly skewed view about travelling abroad and think that going somewhere always needs to serve a purpose e.g. (higher studies, conference, etc). He laments how they fail to understand that traveling need not always be purposeful. Herein we see the love that resides in Tagore’s heart for a nomadic life.
Somdatta’s translation, if not as perfect as Tagore’s but is extremely convenient and elegant. For a reader who isn’t acquainted with the language Bangla yet wants desperately to read any of this great Nobel laureate’s works, Mandal’s translation will be a perfect pick and the essence of Tagore’s writing is hardly lost in it.
Publisher : Niyogi Books
Pages : 224
Rating : 4 / 5
You can buy the book here.