Gandhi, Tagore’s letters greet prez spends

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BANGALORE:Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi, two colossal figures of modern India were poles apart.Both sought freedom-swaraj. The path sought differed from that of the other yet their disagreement made their friendship richer. While Tagore believed in ananda, Mahatma’s belief was in tapasya.

President Pratibha Patil on her first day during her four day visit to the State spent the evening watching a play based on the exchange of letters between Tagore and Mahatma over a period of 25 years with the freedom movement as the backdrop.

The Banquet Hall of the Raj Bhavan provided the perfect setting for the play “The Prophet and the Poet” the in house production of Bangalore Little Theatre (BLT), designed and directed Padaki. Simple set A pair of table and chair was all that the set comprised. Sanjeev Iyer, explored the life of Gandhi and Shashank Purushotham, the life of Tagore. Both restricted themselves to the chairs stepping out occasionally and delivering their speeches written in theform of letters.Kshema Shivakumar, the narrator, acted as the link between them and also provided narrativebackground to some conversations.

The trio provided the audience, which comprised the President’sfamily members, Governor Rameshwar Thakur, Chief Minister S Yeddyurappa, several of his cabinet col leagues,senior IAS and IPS officers, vice-chancellors among other invitees, a glimpse of the differences between Tagore and Gandhiand how both were moved admiration and esteem. Penchant for charka

As the play progressed we learn that Tagore was a critic of Gandhi’s penchant for the charka.He felt that charka diverted the attention of the masses from swaraj.On the other hand, Gandhi himself admits that this disagreement made their friendship richer.Earlier in the day the Governor and the Chief Minister welcomed the President on arrival at HAL airport.The President will visit IT major Infosys and attend the valedictory of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) centenary on Friday. She will be attending functions at Mysore and Sringeri on May 9 and visit Mangalore on May 10. DH News Service