Beijing, May 17 - Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore continues to evoke fascination and interest among Chinese, 88 years after his visit to the nation as 50 of his popular songs were translated for the first time into Mandarin with music notes closely resembling the original.
Though several works of Tagore, who is the most widely translated foreign author in Chinese after Shakespeare, were already published, this is the first time that his songs were translated to enable widely spectrum of common public here to understand and appreciate his nuanced poetry.
'The Select Collection of Rabindranath Tagore', translated by a Chinese Bengali specialist Bai Kaiyuan, was launched at the Central Conservatory of Music here today with recital of his songs in both Bengali and Mandarin by Chinese students.
Bai studied Bengali in Bangladesh and worked in the Bengali section of the China Radio International. Noted Chinese musician Liu Yuening transcribed musical scores for the songs.
Besides touring India extensively, Liu also took part in musical concerts along with famous Indian musicians like Mandolin Srinivas.
The translated songs, which included India's national anthem 'Jana Gana Mana', covered subjects like prayers, nature, patriotism, Rainbow, celebrations, reunions and love.
Terming it as an impressive endeavour by the two Chinese, Indian Ambassador to China S Jaishankar said keeping up with Tagore's popularity, a joint production of Tagore's play 'Chitrangada' was enacted at Lanzhou University, recently which was a first such venture in China.
Jaishankar said the Shanghai Consulate of India and Shanghai Municipal Archives also brought a publication on Tagore's visit to China in 1924 and 1929 during which he visited Shanghai and several other cities and widely interacted with top Chinese personalities of that time.
Praising Tagore's songs, Chen Ziming, the President of the World Music Society of Chinese Musicians Association, said his poetry covered various occasions and emotions in life and two of them were selected as national anthems of India and Bangladesh.
Tagore visited China and delivered many speeches, making contributions to cultural exchanges between China and India.
However, his achievements in music have been little known in China until China National Radio started airing them since 1949 after formation of Peoples Republic of China, he said.
"There had been many publications of Tagore's literary works but hardly any musical works and it is the first grand celebration for his achievements in music, which reflected Chinese people's admiration for Tagore and the ever-deepening friendship between China and India," Chen said. PTI