Sanskriti, a Bay Area-based cultural organization, is hosting a two-day festival for the 150th birthday of Nobel Laureate poet, composer, and philosopher Rabindra Nath Tagore. The festival is an attempt to constantly seek relevance of Tagore’s teachings and philosophy while indulging in fun.

This cultural festival will showcase the life and works of Tagore through songs, plays, and poems composed by the bard himself. Documentaries, art exhibitions, and panel discussions by guest speakers and U.S.- and India-based artists are also an integral part of this festival. Additionally, other non-Bengali speaking communities, Gujarati and Marathi, who passionately nurture Tagore’s literary legacy, have stepped up and joined in this festival with the cultural items in their native languages.

The festival will be blessed by the gracious presence of many eminent personalities and artists. Prof. Stanley Wolpert (UCLA), Prof Nigel Hughes (UCR), Prof. Dilip Basu (UCSC), Prof. Linda Hess (Stanford), and Prof. Sudipta Sen will take part in a moderated panel discussion. Tan Lee, who was raised in Shanitiniketan and had the rare opportunity to see Tagore for the first seven years of his life, will also join the festival  to share his experience. Lee will be joined by Anandarup Roy, the son of another eminent litterateur of Bengal, Annada Shankar Roy. Famous scroll painter, Rani Chitrakar, will  demonstrate Tagore’s life through her unique painting and folk songs.

Singers from Bangladesh and Kolkata will be present both days to render Rabindra Sangeet in its due authenticity. Srikanto Acharya from Kolkata and Adity Mohosin from Dhaka are the featured attraction of the festival.

An elaborate art exhibition will showcase Tagore’s artworks, manuscripts, paintings, a pictorial biography, and commentary on meetings between Tagore and contemporary litterateurs, philosophers, scientists, political leaders, and others. Artwork by other artists will also be presented. In addition, a rare documentary on Tagore will be shown, made by Satyajit Ray in 1961 on the occasion of Tagore’s centenary birthday.

The grandiose conference-style event will likely rekindle interests about Tagore’s literary treasure, and also introduce this great soul of India to the people of other cultures and younger generations.

June 25-26.  Amador Theater, 1155 Santa Rita Road, Pleasanton. Tickets: (408) 887-5948, (408) 578-3598, (408) 206-3435; or tagore150@sanskriti.org. www.sanskriti.org.

Vandana Kumar is a publishing executive with a 35-year track record in the industry. She leads the India Currents Foundation as President and CEO. As a new immigrant, she co-founded India Currents magazine...