Holi is celebrated as
the festival of Basanta Utsav with fervour in many parts of West Bengal.
The tradition of Basanta Utsav, meaning 'Spring Festival', was started by
the poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in Shantiniketan, the
university town he founded.
There is a marked difference in
which Basanta Utsav is celebrated in the state as compared to Holi in
the rest of India – the grace and dignified manner as compared to the
all-pervading boisterousness. Boys and girls joyfully welcome spring,
the season of hope, not just with colours but with songs, dances, and the
chanting of hymns in the serene ambience of Shantiniketan. Anybody who
witnesses or participates in, this elegant way of celebrating Holi remembers it with
fondness for the rest of his life.
Basanta Utsav in Santiniketan
Utsav in Shantiniketan begins with morning prayers, followed by cultural
events at the Ashram Math. 'Ore grihabashi' rings in the air as
students of Visva-Bharati University dance their way into the venue.
Right from kids to graduate students – everyone participates in the
dance and revelry. The cultural programme continues with all the
Rabindra Sangeets of the season of spring being performed and danced to
in their purist forms.
Ore Grihobashi, khol dar khol laglo je dol
Sthaule jaule bono taule laglo je dol, dar khol
Ranga hashi rashi rashi ashoke paulashe
Ranga nesha meghe mesha probhaatho akaashe
Nobin pathay lage ranga hillol, dar khol dar khol
Benu bauno maurmore dokhino bataashe
Projapothi dole ghashe ghashe
Moumachi phire jachi phulero dokhina
Pakhay bajay tar bikhariro bina
Madhobi bithane bayu
Gaundhe bibhol, dar khol dar khol...
the programme draws to a close, the riot of colours begins – as soon as
the last line of the Rabindra Sangeet 'Rangiye diye jao' is performed,
students and strangers alike start indulging in a kind of merrymaking
hardly seen elsewhere. A speciality of Basanta Utsav in Shantiniketan is
the absence of water-based colours and the tradition of playing with only
organic colours. It is a true celebration of nature.
People celebrating nature
Basanta Utsav has become a milestone in Bengal's
cultural history, and is looked forward to by many people as a time to take a memorable trip to Shantiniketan. It has also captured international interest that is
proved by the presence of numerous foreign tourists during its
Festival of colours
A glimpse of Basanta Utsav as celebrated in Shantiniketan
Savour Basanta Utsav through these all-time favourite spring melodies
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