R O M A N I M U S I C & T A G O R E

English: Muslim Gypsies from Bosnia.

English: Muslim Gypsies from Bosnia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Research in Brief

This is a submission, and a humble submission.

 A dream to find a thread out.

A thread, if any, that vaguely binds the great philosophies of this world.

 Or, else, to search for the essence of the greatest civilizations of the world in its ancient period. 

An impossible crescendo-like flight toward that heaven, where every component reflects the heaven itself.

A desire to comprehend all these facets in essence, however, in Tagore’s creation, or in Tagore’s philosophy for that matter; and this is an attempt to feel that symphony.

The word symphony is a Greek one, meaning ‘agreement’; literally, ‘two voices together.

This is toward that agreement, if there is any.

The Romani People

The Romani people  or Romanies are an ethnic group living in many communities all over the world. The Roma are among the best known ethnic groups that appear in literature and folklore, and are often referred to as Gypsies or Gipsies. The Roma are still thought of as wandering nomads in the popular imagination, despite the fact that today the vast majority live in permanent housing. This widely dispersed ethnic group lives across the world not only near their historic heartland in Southern and Eastern Europe, but also Latin America, the United States and the Middle East.

Mystical order of the world, world of mystical music


If you could get rid of yourself

Just for once

The secret of secrets

Would open to you…

(Jalaluddin Rumi)


Apan hote bahir hoye

Baaire dara

Buker majhe bisvaloker

Pabi sara…

(Rabindranath tagore)


These two excerpts look almost like mirror reflections of each other. It has been only a situation of great wonder for me, for we get ample references of Hafiz in Tagore, but hardly any reference of Rumi in his works. It has been a journey for me through Tagore’s songs towards the world of mysticism. I tried to tread along the paths of the 5th century BC Greece to understand what actually spurred Alexander the Great to move this far with the entire panorama of Hellenic culture, and thereby to lay the foundation of the huge Hellenistic civilization.

Afterwards, these immensely rich, in every possible way, population, living in the areas which the great emperor traversed  and founded habitations in, including Persia, Turkey, and, of course, parts of Indian peninsula, became mere have-nots with only the glorious cultural heritage, and were commonly known as the Gypsies after their ever migrating character.

Toward the end of the 14th century, and early into the 15th century, Taimur’s conquest resulted in immense destruction and loss of life in Persia, and in India. And the poorest of the poor people of the areas, i.e., the Gypsies, were the worst sufferers. Many of these wanderers, or the Gypsies, headed west, and some of them finally ended up in the early 15th century in Spain, and, in particular, in Andalusia… And Federico Garcia Lorca had to pen his essay on the Andalusian Gypsy Music (Deep Song), and had to compose number of Gaceles (ghazals) as the outcome. This part of the world, the corridor of the Gypsies, incidentally, has been the cradle of mysticism. And it has been the same place where zero took its birth and shape.

Migrating music, urban folk song, ‘charoibeti’..


Movement of people is perhaps as old as the history of civilization itself. From the time immemorial people are walking down the paths of happenings, leaving or losing their home in search of a newer one, with their own desire and dreams, longing and desperation, music and amusement, and are interacting, creating, merging or emerging, in the course. This movement or migration has shown the path of unknown to the human race, though their elemental urge is to settle down. There is the fallacy. The reasons may be as different as natural, spatial, political, economical, social or racial, people have to move toward a newer horizon, but with an incessant quest for the root somewhere deep in the mind. This stretch of land, where mysticism evolved, has experienced wars, aggressions, migrations, and pangs for quite a long time. And from the later part of the 18th century, or from the very beginning of the 19th century, there emerged a number of musical forms which spelled out the agony of the suffering souls of the practitioners of these forms. All these forms were hybrid in nature that speaks of their pattern of birth and growth. They were formed in the process of searching for the identity of the respective people, and they were known as urban folk songs. There was Manele in Romania, Chalga in Bulgaria, Turbo Folk in Serbia, Rembetika in Greece, Rai in Algeria, or Fado in Portugal. Afterwards they have been known worldwide as World Music.

The culmination of all these facades, i.e., the Aestheticism, the myriad shades of passions, the harmonization of these passions to form the religion of man, is perhaps the pronunciation of the great mystic poet. Rabindranath Tagore, the poet of the Upanishads, is acclaimed throughout the world for his mystic poetry. Evelyn Underhill, the mystic writer who was present in the poetry reading session at the residence of W.B. Yeats, the session where Tagore read out his Gitanjali for the first ever time, found a resonance of feeling that Rumi’s poetry could provide her with.


The World Of Mysticism and Rabindranath Tagore

The world of mysticism- the Kabbalah in Judaism, or Gnosticism with Christianity, or Sufism in Islam, or, else, Vedanta with Hinduism, or so on- is so varied, and yet emanating perhaps the same spirit- yearning to be re-united with the Ultimate Reality through the path of love and devotion.

Rabindranath Tagore has well been acclaimed throughout the world as a mystical poet. And it has been a wonderful experience to unfold his unique pattern of making music for the much acclaimed lyrics. His compositions reflected perhaps the panorama of world mystic music pattern that, in course of time, if I am allowed to say so, glided smoothly to the path of migrating music, or, world music.

Tagore, while visiting Persia, came to acknowledge that their music had an eerie resemblance with the music of our country. And this has been a wonderful personal experience for me from the other end. The pioneering Persian mystical poet Jellal-ud-din Rumi is known worldwide as Mowlana, and his disciples are called Mevlevior the ‘Whirling Dervishes’.

Once, a few years back, I had an opportunity to come across a compact disc- a compilation of Rumi’s poetry set in their traditional tune, sung by some Turkish artists accompanied by traditional instruments, like Nay or Aud. It was a male voice, and I was listening from a distance where only the tune could reach my ear, without making me much conscious about the Persian lyric, and letting me think at least for a while that I was listening to some Rabindrasangeet. I was confused; and I lent an eager ear only to discover something more. The prelude of one of the songs played on the Iranian flute Nay made me stand before one of Tagore’s composition from the segment called Prem,  which asks the Lord what else He demands from him when He Himself has become the Beggar, and turned the poet into one also (The lyric: Ogo kangaal amare kangaal korechho…).

The awe of this experience is so immense to me that I am in no position to make any conclusion in this regard, yet.

 Rather, all the facets of classical civilizations of the world,

 of classical knowledge and perception, all the pure knowledge make a really heightened overtone that allow us to reach the crescendo,

 and at the very same time to experience an inward catharsis to feel the power of mankind, and of course, the power of Humanity.





2 Responses to “R O M A N I M U S I C & T A G O R E”

  1. Hello, I enjoy reading through your article post.
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  2. […] R O M A N I M U S I C & T A G O R E. […]

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