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Konnagar Baganbari

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Konnagar Baganbari

Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951)

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Abanindranath was born in Jorasanko, Calcutta on 7 August 1871. His father Gunendranath was the son of Girindranath, the second son of Dwarkanath Tagore. Abanindranath's first formal training in pastel, watercolour and lifestudy was under the supervision of his private tutor, Signor Gilhardi. He attended the studio of Charles Palmer, an English painter, for instructions in oil paintings and portraiture. In 1895 he painted the Krishna-Lila series, which display a unique blend of both European and Indian, styles. E.B.Havell, Principal, Calcutta School of Art, on seeing these paintings was impressed and offered Abanindranath the post of Vice-principal of the School. UnderHavell' s guidance he studied Mughal and Rajput styles of painting thoroughly. 

In the early years of the century Abanindranath met Okakura. Okakura taught composition to Abanindranath by means of simple shapes such as matchsticks, emphasising the need for organic unity in art. In 1903 Okakura returned to Japan and sent his pupils Yokoyama Taikan and Hishida Shunso to Calcutta where they interacted with Abanindranath. 

Taikan taught Abanindranath how to wield the brush with a light touch and of the evocative powers of gestures. He was able to incorporate this learning into hisOmar Khaiyam series (1906-08). 

Abanindranath, the painter was established as the creator of a new national vocabulary in art and he helped to regenerate the decadent art and aesthetic scene in India. The Indian Society of Oriental Art was established to promote the Abanindranath-style on the national plane. It was Abanindranath who ushered in the modem art movement in Bengal. It was his brush, which first gave convincing proof that the Indian artist had his own contribution to make to the world of painting. 

As Bageswari Professor of Art of the Calcutta University he gave a series of talks which were rare aesthetic illuminations; unparalleled in its simplicity and informalism. His other books on art include Banglar Brata, Bharatshilpe Murti, Bharatshilpa and Bharatshilper Sadanga - all bearing the imprint of his great depth, profundity and simplicity. His prose has a distinctive quality - even the most complex subject is rendered in a simple, unassuming style revealing the essence of his genius. 

His writings for children are in a class by themselves, the stories are told so picturesquely that it was said, Aban Thakur writes pictures. His Kshirer Putul, Buro Angla, Raj Kahini, Sakuntala are classics which will always stimulate the imagination of the children of Bengal and be part of their childhood. His reminiscences form another genre where in Apankatha, Gharoa, Pathe Vipathe and Jorasankor Dhare he has enlivened and immortalised his childhood, his Jorasanko days and the contemporary scene. 

About this Heritage Place:This place is located at 2, Mirapara Lane, PS – Konnagar, Dist. – Hooghly.
This place was declared as a Heritage Place on 28th May, 2007 by West Bengal Heritage Commission. This house is related with the history of Tagore Family.

This Garden House belongs to the Father of Master Artist “Sri Abanindranath Tagore”. In his childhood he used to live to his father’s garden house near Kolkata at Konnagar was known to him as Bagan Bari . Most of his good memories was related to this place near the river Ganga . The place was surrounded by animals: dogs, horses, deer, pet monkeys.73 The memory is of an upper-class idyll: servants are funny or frightening, rivers and ponds exist for swimming and boating, and days are interspersed with carriage rides. He remembers shooting with his father, who would rest the barrel of his gun on his son's shoulder as he fired "to make me brave." He also remembers more plebian rural pleasures: watching bahurupi performers, seeing the arati at the temple at dusk and hearing the conch-shells.

Mothers and aunts are present as amusing and anxious onlookers when the servants toss him into the pond to teach him to swim. The historical book “Jorashakor Dhare” published by Visva Bharati written by Abanindranath Tagore, where we found that he learned to draw the picture of hut very first time in his life.

So we think that the legend master artist was inspired about the painting in his childhood from this “Bagan Bari”.

The rural cocoon, however, is broken almost as soon as it is imagined. Into Abanindranath's childhood idyll comes "a terrible night which destroyed our lives in an instant" and permanently severed his connection to the garden-house: the death of his father. Displaced from one juvenile geography into another, Abanindranath moves to the city and urban schools. He has no idea what became of the animals at the garden house, and harbors a guilty sense of having abandoned them. He writes: "It is as if a curtain descended between that life and the life that came after, and remained in place for a long time." He notes, also, that his mother would become panic-stricken at any mention of that old life. He has deleted this last observation in his memoirs, but it is still legible in the manuscript. This intimate geography of the rural home, with its animals, intact family, utopic Bengaliness and financial security is in some ways like Kipling's boyhood, disrupted and compulsively recreated76 precisely because certain kinds imagination are possible in fiction that, articulated as memory, would rupture the fabric of a colonial reality

We found that the greatest poet Rabindranath Tagore had the connection with this Bagan Bari. He used to visit there with his family to spend some time to enjoy the scenic beauty of nature. He had taken the idea of some stories from this Bagan Bari , which was mentioned in his biography.


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Sri Swapan Kumar Das


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Gautam Das