Bengali versions of Rabindranath Tagore’s Poems “To Siam” and “Farewell to Siam” Presented to Sahitya Akademi

To follow up on the 2017 activity to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the visit to Siam of “Gurudev” Rabindranath Tagore, jointly held by the Royal Thai Embassy in New Delhi and the Sahitya Akademi (the National Academy of Letters of India), on Tuesday, 5 February 2019, Mr. Apirat Sugondhabhirom, representing the Royal Thai Embassy, called on Dr. K. Sreenivasa Rao, Secretary of the Academy to present the framed Bengali version of the Gurudev’s two poems dedicated to Siam (Thailand) to the Academy.

On this occasion, Mr. Apirat was accompanied by Prof. Dr. Satya Vrat Shastri, Sahitya Akademi’s Fellow and former instructor of Sanskrit to HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand.

Rabindranath Tagore, the great poet of Bengal, India, and Asia, who was also recognized as a Nobel Prize Laureate and one of the world’s greatest poets, went to Thailand (then called Siam) during 8-16 October 1927 in one of his many overseas journeys. He met H.M. King Pajadhipok, Rama VII of Siam, and visited many temples, schools and places of historical and cultural interest in Siam. The Gurudev was so impressed by the civilizational bonds between India and Thailand (especially Buddhism) that he composed two poems, “To Siam” and “Farewell to Siam” in English and Bengali, and dedicated them to the Kingdom. The poem “To Siam” was read before the assembly of princes and ministers of the Royal Siamese Court, in the presence of Their Majesty the King and Queen of Siam, on 13 October 1927, at Ambara Palace, Bangkok.

On 16 October 2017, H.E. Mr. Chutintorn Gongsakdi, Ambassador of Thailand to India, presented the English version of the two poems, together with the copy of the postcard the Gurudev wrote to H.M. King Rama VII, to the Sahitya Akademi, in a ceremony at Rabindra Bhavan to mark the 90th anniversary of Tagore’s visit to Siam. Since then, the Bengali version of the same poems have been discovered, printed, and framed, and the Royal Thai Embassy is pleased to present these two gifts to the Academy. Secretary Sreenivasa Rao said that these two gifts would be put on display in the Academy’s library for the Indian public to see.

Researching on, printing and framing of the two Bengali poems is part of the Royal Thai Embassy’s project to preserve historical pictures and photographs concerning Thai-Indian friendship. Some photographs have been developed and put on display in the Embassy’s new chancery building, others are presented as gifts to prominent Indian scholars and cultural institutions, including the Sahitya Akademi and Prof. Dr. Satya Vrat Shastri.

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*More on the (2017) commemorative event on the 90th Anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore’s Visit to Siam :-

90th Anniversary of the Visit of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore to Siam