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Aaj Jyotsnaraate Sobai Gechhe Bone - A critical analysis

A complete dissection of the song Aaj Jyotsnaraate Sobai Gechhe Bone. Serene alliance between melody and lyric.


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Author: Anjan Ganguly, Editor, Geetabitan.com

A column, titled Aaj Jyotsnaraate Sobai Gechhe Bone - A critical analysis, written by Anjan Ganguly on 13.08.2017.

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Published on 13th August, 2017.

Another piece of excellence from Rabindranath comes in the form of a composition in raag Behag. The pensive mood of the song coupled with Teyora taal makes it even catchy. Written in the year 1914 (22 Chaitra 1320) this song is treated as one of the most popular songs of Rabindranath.

Unaware of the solemness of the theme, I had been foolishly searching in the first part the song for the actual idea behind. Obviously I was unable to calculate the point of rejoice with the poet having himself confined while others were busy in enjoying the serene nature flooded with moonlight. Wasn't it a better idea to produce s song by them, who were exposed to a reveling moonlit night, I had often asked myself. How can one keep himself isolated and rejoice?

My search was on until someone advised me to look for a subject that sometimes remain camouflaged. Yes, poets often resort to disguising of the ideas. I changed, hence, my focus to the other parts of it. Why did he refrain himself from accompanying others, I was curious to know. What makes him withdraw from scintillating, frenzied breeze of the spring!

It was quite a revelation!

He is in fact, waiting for someone who is coming a long way. He is waiting for someone whose company should produce enormous amount of bliss. The one he must admire. Although he is not very certain about the rendezvous as it depends on whether the poet is remembered, but he is prepared to wait, groom his room and keep himself awake all through the night. He thinks he is in a vantage position as everybody else out and busy enjoying the nature.

A few more questions came immediately to my mind. Who was it he was expecting? Is it male or a female? How does the person, the one expected, come to know about his loneliness this evening? It doesn't appear to be a pre-planned meeting! What is the secrecy regarding this rendezvous all about? Why is he hesitant to assume that he would certainly be remembered?

I had to scrap the idea of a coveted meeting with a female counterpart because it was written at the age of fifty three. So it is a male friend whom he is keen to meet. Then what is the use of grooming of his house? Once again I had a flash in my mind - 'Camouflage'. He must be indicating the other room of his, a virtual room within his mind. Cleansing, sanctifying his mind!

It is the Omnipotent Almighty the poet had been waiting for. He had prepared himself all along his life for being able to draw His attention. He had lead a pious life, made several offerings, chanted gracefully His name upto his capacity which makes him confident.

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Physical meeting was only a matter of time. Hence he makes the final preparations like cleansing his soul. Not that he seems worried to suspend his sleep for the purpose, his anxiety remains for determination of the moment when He should arrive.

I wish to mention about two subjects in this song which are very much unusual as far as the conception of the theme is concerned. In the songs written by folk lyricists one can find the use of a word like 'Ghor' or room to refer the soul or mind of an individual. The finely crafted word with an allegorical meaning is an example of exquisite poeticism. The other one too is a unique concept where God is believed to be in motion in order to meet His devotees. It is not very common to conceive such an idea. A similar example is seen in the 'Dark Nights of the Souls', a poem series written by a Spanish poet St John of the Cross. Normally it is the devotee who must undertake long travels to a place that is known for the abode of God, withstand adversities, accept them as punishments, make offerings and waits for his turn to reveal His presence. Rabindranath must have perceived himself as one with a real devout soul from the core of his heart and expect God to come down and meet him, no matter where he resides at that time. The only thing he seems to have no idea for is the time when He might arrive.

I personally do not think the poet has imposed raag Behag in a conscious manner. One can readily find that it was the expressions of joy abound for his loneliness. He starts at a higher pitch. He keeps on to the higher side for the description of the condition what they had gone for. All are out enjoying the moonlit night and the frenzied breeze of the spring. He concentrates around shuddh Nishad for the entire Sthayee part.

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In the Antara part he makes a statement. He starts with a promise-like statement. He won't go. Once again this segment is in the higher note with an emphasis on the negative word 'Na'. It could have ended on the higher side, but in order to connect it with the following part the tune is made to fall back to Pancham. It starts from Pancham to make the statement on what he would like to do instead of enjoying the romantic breeze. The tension is released while saying 'Ei niralay ...'. Indicative of the tranquillity of an isolated place. Sombreness at the isolated corner where the poet would like to place himself. The phrase 'Rabo aapon kone' enjoys the importance and it is worth-noticing how the tune goes abstract between Tibra Madyam, Nishad and Pancham in order to stress upon the corner which is practically remote.

For the first time he comes down to Sadaj in the Sanchari section, 'Aamar e ghor bohu jaton kore'. The amount of passion he has imparted in the phrase 'jaton kore' is amazing with a simple motion of GaMa ReMa Ma Ga. The same motion is repeated in 'Dhute hobe muchhte hobe more'. He is keen to do these jobs with utmost care.

The poet seems somewhat tentative in the following segment. After all planning for keeping awake throughout the night may be the cause of anxiety, but with the application of long stay on Gandhar eases the pressure. Nevertheless he appears to be prepared for it. How aptly he places the word 'Je' on Nishad to symbolize tentativeness. In the last line the spirit is considerably low and sign of despair is as prominent as it is seen in the last line of the Antara. It sounds almost like a whimper while he expresses his concern, over the distant possibility of him being remembered, with the application of maNi combination.

Obviously there are more corners deep inside the song that are difficult to explain and remain unexplored. In this short piece of critical discernment I wish to encourage young and enterprising aspirants to carry on with the exploration of every treasure-studded chest of these songs where the poet appears to have applied his oozing passion in a delicate manner. This would, surely, bridge an intimate relationship with our beloved poet.

………… End …………

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