1927, Tagore and Pablo Neruda Met in Java

Rabindranath Tagore with wife Mrinalini Devi f...

Image via Wikipedia

Written by Nurel Javissyarqi
Translated by Agus B. Harianto

Poem entitled Kepada Tanah Jawa (To the land of Java), as proof of Rabindranath Tagore (May, 7, 1861, to August, 7, 1941) at 1927, in his 66 years old, long after he got the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, was visiting in the land of Java.

On page 357, exactly subtitles, Hubungan Kita dengan Rabindranath Tagore (Our Relationship with Rabindranath Tagore), Ki Hajar Dewantara in his book, part II A: Kebudayaan (Culture) (published by Majelis Luhur Persatuan Taman Siswa, 1967), says that in 1927, the poet Rabindranath Tagore visited the college Mataram, Jogjakarya.

From the short biography that I got in http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pablo_Neruda, it mentions that in the year 1927 in the age to 23, he was desperate by poverty, receiving honorary consul office in Rangoon, the Burmese colonial, where he had never heard.

Then he worked odd jobs at Colombo (Sri Lanka), Batavia, and Singapore. In the land of Java, he met and married his first wife, a Dutch girl as bank employee, who named Maryka Antonieta Hagenaar Vogelzang.

While in his diplomatic duty, Neruda was reading a lot of poetry and was experimenting to write various forms of poetry. He wrote the first volume, of the two-volume collection of his poems, Residencia en la tierra (Living in the Country), includes many surrealism poems that later famous. Pablo Neruda was born in Parral, a town about 300 km south of Santiago, Chile, July 12, 1904, and he died September, 23, 1973, in 69 years old. He received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1971.

Historical of time moves, along with maturity of spirit to deal about processing the mysteries of body, grabbed a long memory; withdraw ancient nature from the oversight work of solids stacked.

Forgot to spell manifested inner, the extent of consciousness of the possibility of the fields should be dug, fully concentrated to sweat, burn fat of complacent.

Reasons of logic are easy to be justified, with a series of acquisitions of reason, though not necessarily, when a new reasoning more coherent than before.

And the problems of heart are often absurd, but easily accepted even rejected with contempt (hate), here the basis of wild guessed, believing in the doubt.

Or doubt at the same time give you realistic, balanced points such as a scattered star, picked for knowledge on other place.

Gitanjali sent Tagore to get the Nobel Prize, and shoved his fate to meet Epifanía Ramona Victoria Ocampo (April, 7, 1890 – January 27, 1979) in Argentina.

Seconds tender affection, which is remembered throughout time, although both are much at variance with age, 63 for Tagore and Victoria at 34 years.

By the motion of the improbability, I matched Tagore and Neruda in the land of Java, in the days untouched.

At that time, Rabindranath Tagore has been great poet around the world and had been touring Europe, but he felt that his fate was not yet perceived if not stepped on his feet in the land of Dwipa, which he regarded as the second land of India.

Where great stories like the Ramayana, seeped into the main ideology of Javanese, while Pablo Neruda sent by the bitter fate of poverty to Batavia.

Settled for long time in there because he married Dutch woman, and stranded in divorce, before he married again and again.

The time can not be governed by certain certainty, sometimes drifting in a flowing of rushed river, and softly jingling on the legs of stone, also stalled by the arrival of the death.

Also the secret behind the creation of the work, as if a sudden or luck, whereas have prepared on the maturity of soul.

Hard efforts of contemplating to carry out the heart’s orders to across the possibility of worldly, then traveling beyond the body of previous ideas.

There are similarities of dream, as if happened again, whereas intertwined. So the birth happens, repeated and repeated again, into natural doors, colorful of essence of the depth.

The meeting of Tagore and Neruda was not proven by the words, but by winning the same prize, the Nobel Prize in literature, great soul of both were seeing and more authoritative.

There was powerful seriousness, when Neruda feet on the same land, the falling of sudden fear something, like lightning through clenched eyelids, the closed eyes meet amazement, leads to the heart adrift mutual longing.

Or on different plateau but at the same period, separation does not like, like on the other side of the road and towards in to one direction, or even they were just passing and glanced out of the corner of the eyes as if doesn’t know one another.

But there was sound of oddity, an echo that sometimes present with different forms, but comes from deeply longing each other and both were hurt.

The tough-minded beings have the same attraction to come and to go away, the power is reflected on the intention to carry out the burden of desire of each silences, while the immature souls are only briefly disappeared.

Neruda was known Tagore’s activities, it was coincidence by the power of God to meet in happiness, Neruda was making honeymoon around the temple of Borobudur, enjoyed the chance to breathe a tropical weather, on the high mountain of civilization.

In every the morning with his wife, he boarded the stairs of the temple, with a note of wanderer, in addition to revise beside the reliefs, which were still so few visitors.

There was motivation to perpetuate the work, when he looked at the statue lying lost its head, his soul flied away, like a bird circling enshrinement.

At the afternoon shaded by overcast, herding daydreams to the far away, while combining his poetry rhyme with the around nature that was the cool gorgeous.

Sometimes his wife closed in feeling, she wanted to kiss intimately. There was gleam of light, when the young bride are kissing each other until interlock sweet lips had never gone, became bolder and more passionate.

Knocked out the shy and become more intimate, a heartbeat along with a song of nature of Dwipa, and what was scratched would be sung harmoniously and would be always missed.

Those intimate pair would go back to the hostel. But, suddenly Neruda’s eyes were shocked by the familiar images through the magazine.

He was in fever and trembling into the world similar like a dream, unsuspected condition confused his inner and mind, staring confidently and investigated in his soul.

Was it true that the sitting man is Rabindranath Tagore, slowly he came closer to the pious and handsome figure. Neruda introduced himself and his wife, then asked the truth of his encounter with the Bengali poet.

There was no word from Tagore’s lips just because of nothing. He was old, and he just stepped up the stairs of enshrinement, starfish exhausting, until he regulated his breath before saying. Slowly and quietly he said and confirmed the meeting.

Tagore saw Neruda was carrying paper files, but he didn’t ask question about it. The youth spirit of Neruda was quickly reaching his hand out and gave it, for the sake of researching and requested for understanding.

Gently, Tagore was looking at the writing, reading silently, really understood every word. Then he stared at land around enshrinement, he looked at the sky and smiled. Neruda was in fever already from last shudder, as if in the presence of mighty spiritual teacher.

The brief meeting made an impression on the minds of Neruda, as is got tickets to enter the world of literature with his great spirit, in his mind assumed as if he got the blessing of the poet of India.

The land of Java to be a witness of history, the meeting of the souls carry life saga, for the sake of springs of the world literature, the mature heart as a fistful of pearl reflects confidence that is so beautiful.

Song of doubts as decreased style, also sometimes southern ocean wave are high, the voices of nature reveals the curtains of meeting with the beauty innocence.

Enchantment of the earth honesty brings each story on the legal elevation, such as the color images of heaven, though not enter its grace.

Those are my interpretations, which the true is nature inhales their meeting. I am just Papaya stem, played by the little of fate in the river of life.

So, I am so sorry to my mother land, if until now, there are no children sticking out arenas of the world of literature, as both.

Hopefully, someday, there will be the one grows as wide as the souls of the horizon, to proud this nation, not just a scent in his own homeland.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. A.B.M. Shamsud Doulah
    Nov 10, 2010 @ 15:25:06


    I am a Bengalee by birth and origin. I deeply love my mother language Bengali as also our greatest Bengalee writer Rabindranath Tagore, who was befittingly awarded Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 and this prize made him ten times more popular than what he could be without it. This is very realistic evaluation.

    Once in 1964, when I used to attend the classes on English Literary Criticism by Professor T. N. Sen at Presidency College, Calcutta, I was having some discussion on Rabindranath Tagore with our fellow students at the nearby famous Coffee House. I very much remember that a non-Bengali Brahmin student (from North India) said: If we translate the first lines of the first poem of Gitanjali, “Aamaar maatha noto korey dao…”, in Hindi it will be simply: “Patak de mere sar terey taang par … etc.” According to him it was not as good poetry as claimed by the Bengalees. But we all understand that the sarcastic presentation was not correct.

    But I point out the above just to say that as a student of literature, I strongly feel that if any learned person wants then he can lecture for hours on the words, usage, rhythm, music, and philosophy of a even a second grade poem of any poet.

    Rabindranath Tagore is the only classic icon of the Hindu Bengalees. They were not educated and mature enough in the 19th Century to hold Bankim Chandra or Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar or Raja Ram Mohan Ray or Michael Madhusudan Dutta or Swami Vivekananda as a national icon. In the 20th Century the Hindu Bengalees were ready to adopt a national icon. Never in the history of mankind a poet / lyricist was so much propagated and publicized in spite of various limitations as was in the case of Rabindranath Tagore. The matter may please noted in accordance with the laws of the situation.

    Rabindranath Tagore’s getting Nobel Prize was apparently a political move to quell the Bengalee-led ‘Terrorist Movement’ in the undivided Bengal, especially from 1890 to 1910. As such, it was a diplomatic pampering by London. Had there been no ‘Terrorist Movement’, perhaps even hundreds of ‘Gitanjalis” could never bring Nobel Prize for the “Anglo-Indian” (as stated by the then Nobel Prize authorities) poet Rabindranath Tagore.

    In this context the people may please remember the examples of Nobel Prize for Aung San Suu Kyi ; Dalai Lama; and Liu Xiaobo.

    Time has come that the too much propaganda for Rabindranath Tagore will naturally stop. In 2010 no new edition of the complete works of Rabindranath Tagore has been published. On the other hand though double older writer’s works are getting new edition in the Calcutta market. Of course very popular, but can general Bengalee reader name more than 200 hundred songs and poems by Rabindranath Tagore? No common Indian knows more that 5 (five) poems and songs by Rabindranath Tagore.

    A.B.M. Shamsud Doulah


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