From the Desk of the General Secretary, Rabindra Bharati Society
Last evening we joined the zoom meeting in a rather pensive mood to reminisce Bengal’s very own son and Ex President of India, Shri Pronob Mukhopadhyay, who rose to fame from a very humble background. We are all indeed saddened and grieved with his untimely demise after losing his battle with Covid.
The programme started with a 1-minute-silence in honour of the great soul who departed for his heavenly above on 1st September, 2020.
Thereafter, a short video was streamed of Shri Pronob Mukhopadhyay inaugurating our auditorium, Rathindra Mancha, at Jorasako Thakurbari premises on 23rd December, 2017 and some other clippings as well pertaining to him. It was followed with sharing of thoughts by all who were present that day, one going on to say that Pronobda, as he was fondly called by all, took out an ayurvedic pack of Kantha Sudharak Vati from his pocket and popped two tablets in his mouth before starting this oration. When the member asked him about it, he replied they were his “songer sathi…. golatake to thik rakhte hobe”. He said that had been his practice for years, something that nobody would know if not shared in this forum.
Justice Chittotosh Mukherjee, President, Working Committee, spoke on his interactions with Shri Pronob Mukherjee.
It was followed by a short speech by Dr. Kunal Sarkar, eminent Cardiologist and newly inducted Member of the Working Committee, on the Ex President of India.
Shri Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya, former Chief Justice, Calcutta High Court, gave his discourse on this renowned personality.
A short oration was delivered by Shri Sukhendu Sarkar Roy, M.P., regarding our beloved Pronobda. He said how closely they were connected politically and shared a few memorable snippets with us. Whenever a problem arose within the Party or otherwise, people would not hesitate to take Pronobda’s advice and everybody benefitted from it.
We then requested Ex Governor of West Bengal, Shri Shyamal Sen, to share with us his experience in regard to this great personality. Shri Sen had come in contact with Shri Pronob Mukherjee many times in his professional career and said he was hailed as “Chanakya” of Indian politics.
Dr. Sujit Kumar Basu, Working President of our Society, apprised us on how he came close to Shri Pronob Mukherjee when the infamous incident of the theft of Rabindra Nath Tagore’s Nobel Prize took place in Shantiniketan in his absence. He interacted with him many a times then and recollected a few incidences.
Shri Anindya Kumar Mitra, Vice President of our Society, then said a few words on the legendary politician.
The condolence meeting was attended by a galaxy of eminent Judges, each of who shared their talks on different angles on this soft spoken yet strong personality. We got to know of so many small unknown facts of his life through these speeches, like he used to sign off all letters as “Citizen of India”.
Singer Rajashree Bhattacharjee shared her fond memory of Pronobda. She recalled that when she sat down to sing a song, Pronobda left the auditorium as he had a flight to catch., but returned soon after, took his seat again and waited patiently till the song was over, commended on her talent and then eventually left for Delhi. She rendered that particular Rabindra Sangeet for us, which was appreciated by all.
Shri Soumitra Banerjee, Member of our Society and Guests Smt. Hemantika Bhattacharya and Dr. Manasi Majumder, presented Rabindra Sangeet pertaining to the evening.
Sarod Maestro, Pandit Tejendra Narayan Majumdar, played two melodious Rabindra Sangeet and captivated the audience. To honour the request of Anindya Kumar Mitra, these two songs were sung as duet by Smt. Rajashree Bhattacharjee and Shri Himadri Mukherjee.
I shared my memoirs of having the good fortune of visiting Pronobda, in Rastrapati Bhawan in Delhi, while he was officiating as the President of India, to invite him for the inauguration of our Auditorium. It was a great privilege for me. Don’t know if I will ever get the opportunity to visit that much respected heritage building ever in my life. I had also visited him as the then President, at his residence in Kolkata on behalf of Rabindra Bharati Society. Pronobda was very close to my father, Late Ananda Kumar Mukherjee, Ex General Secretary, Rabindra Bharati Society. When I went to touch his feet to do pranams as is our culture, to show respect to our elders, he immediately stopped me from doing so. I was a little taken aback. But he explained that it is the government protocol that nobody should go to the other side of the table. A visitor should sit on his chair only and not cross over to the side where the government servant, the President, is seated. However, my mission in visiting him was successful in the sense that I had been able to convince him to inaugurate our Auditorium, of which he was the pioneer. While he was the President of Rabindra Bharati Society, he took it upon himself to renovate the Auditorium. So he approached the Central Government for Rs. 3 Crores towards it which was readily sanctioned. But the work had not been taken up then. It was only after I took office as the General Secretary of the Society, I started implementing the plan and completed the same. It is because of Pronobda that our Auditorium is what it is today. We owe it greatly to his generous gesture and are genuinely indebted to him for the initiative he had taken towards its renovation.
I apprised the members of a few inclusions in the Working Committee as per the Executive Council Meeting of the Society held on 27th August, 2020. The nominated Members inducted are as follows :-
Shri Ranjit Kumar Nayak – Assistant Secretary
Shri Gouranga Mitra – Treasurer
Dr. Kunal Sarkar – Member
Smt. Rumela Mukherjee – Member
Vote of Thanks was given by Dr. Abhijit Ghosh, Assistant Secretary of our Working Committee.
The evening ended on a patriotic note by all present singing “Bande Mataram” in unison.
3rd September, 2020