Why is Rabindranath Tagore trending when India, Bangladesh play a World Cup cricket match?
Flix Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | March 19, 2015 | 4.02 pm IST The "Mauka" to taunt has come and gone. Videos teasing both countries have done the rounds. But on the day of the India versus Bangladesh cricket match, love for Rabindranath Tagore was on full display on Twitter. "Rabindranath" and "Tagore" were trending topics on Twitter for a while on Thursday when the 2015 Cricket World Cup quarterfinal¬†match was going on, as people realised that the national anthems of both India and Bangladesh were written by the famous poet.¬† In the last three days there was an exchange of taunts through videos on social media, modelled on the Star Sports "Mauka Mauka" ads. The national anthems of both countries are actually written in Bengali. The Indian anthem is in sadhu Bengali or tatsama Bengali, which is heavily Sanskritised. It is addressed to the Bhagya Vidhata, not a god per se, but the god of destiny, as Tagore once said.¬† Tagore wrote the Amar Shonar Bangla (My Golden Bangladesh) when the British partitioned Bengal in 1906. On January 13, 1972 the Bangladesh government adopted the first 10 lines of the poem as the national anthem of the country. The song is obviously about the land of Bengal.¬† Among the comments on Twitter were remarks about how Tagore was the man of the moment, and that it was Tagore who would win the match.¬† This show of friendship is being displayed presumably by people of both countries on the social media, is in stark contrast to the attitudes on display during the India versus Pakistan match.¬† When India and Pakistan played against each other, taunts of "Mauka, Mauka" besides others were heard. No show of friendship came about on Twitter.¬† It seems it is possible for the citizens of India and Bangladesh to find something in common with each other and acknowledge the shared heritage of Tagore through the Bengali language, literature and culture.¬† Modern day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are all products of British colonialism, and the Empire√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs policy on religion.¬† While the reasons for the British to divide their Indian Empire into two countries were religious (starting with Bengal), language was a major reason that made the people of East Pakistan seek independence from West Pakistan.¬† Even now, it is language that appears to have made it possible for people in this case to overlook the fact that the majority of Bangladeshis are Muslims and India is a Hindu-majority country, and lay joint claim to Tagore√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs literary and cultural legacy.¬† For once, a religious identity was relegated to the background by another identity which emerged as more powerful. One wishes it could happen with India and Pakistan as well, and there could be peace in the region, for the citizens of all three countries. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute
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