Banner celebrating Tagore with portraits of Rabindranath Tagore and Phalguni Mookhopadhayay. Includes 'Purano Sei Diner Kotha,' 'Rabindra Sangeet,' and mentions Brainware University initiative.

“Purano Sei Diner Kotha” was written during the months of April and May in 1885, when Tagore was merely 23 years old. The Rabindra sangeet was published in Rabichhaya (Miscellaneous) in 1886. Categorised under “Prem o Prakriti” (Love and Nature), this composition beautifully intertwines themes of friendship and nostalgia of past days. It is set in Ektaal. Ektaal is an Indian classical taal with twelve beats distributed evenly over four divisions. 

“Purano Sei Diner Kotha” is set to the cadence of a mixed (Scotch) Bhupali raga. Bhupali raga in Indian classical music is a pentatonic raga, which induces feelings of calm, meditation, and longing.  The notation for the Rabindra sangeet can be found in Geetimala. The rendition can be found in Volume 32 of Swarabitan with the notation by Jyotirindranath Tagore.



Tagore begins the song with a nostalgic interrogation, ‘How can the tales of days long past ever be forgotten?’ which immediately evokes a sense of contemplation. The rhetorical question stimulates thought, questioning the concept of losing beloved experiences while emphasising the lasting influence they have on people’s lives. The bard recognises the importance of seemingly insignificant gestures such glances and heartfelt conversations, emphasising their long-lasting impression on people’s emotions. 

The plea, ‘Come once more, my friend, come fill my heart,’ encapsulates the yearning for companionship and the desire to relive the joy and solace that friendship brings. The repetition of the phrase emphasises the depth of longing, conveying a sense of urgency and emotional intensity. Here Tagore conveys a sincere hope for the return of the friend, symbolising the reunion as a means to fill the void that has been left behind.

The subsequent verses of this Rabindra sangeet transport the listener to a bygone era, where happiness and sorrow intertwine to envelop and soothe the soul. The imagery of plucking flowers at dawn, swaying on a swing, and playing the flute and singing under the Bakul (Spanish cherry) tree creates a vivid depiction of simplicity, innocence, and carefree bliss. These nostalgic recollections invite the listener to reminisce about their own moments of joy and serenity, fostering a sense of shared experience and connection.

However, Tagore also acknowledges the transient nature of life and the inevitable paths that lead friends on separate journeys. The line, ‘Then, in between, we went our separate ways,’ poignantly reflects the universal truth of diverging paths and the temporary nature of shared experiences. Despite this separation, the bard’s optimism shines through, expressing a profound desire for the possibility of reuniting and rekindling the friendship once more.

“Purano Sei Diner Kotha” is a heartfelt composition that skilfully captures the emotions associated with nostalgia, friendship and the longing for the return of cherished moments. Through its evocative lyrics and imagery, the bard here invites listeners to reflect on their own experiences and emotions, fostering a connection that transcends time and space. According to Chapter 4, Verse 5 of the Bhagavad Gita, man is ever forgetful of his eternal friendship with the almighty is. But when someone realises the truth of all and becomes enlightened, they try to regain the ‘blissful seat’, to rekindle the long-lost divine connection. The Rabindra sangeet serves as a reminder of the enduring power of friendship and the significance of treasuring the memories that shape one’s life.


Celebrating Tagore and Rabindra sangeet

There is no dearth of research on Rabindranath Tagore, the first non-European to win a Nobel Prize for literature and the author of India’s National Anthem. Not only are there over 2,000 publications to his name, he was, besides being a literary genius who took India to the world, also an artist, composer, singer and humanist. 

Yet how many people know of this versatile genius beyond the borders of Bengal? In an effort to bring home such a treasure trove to the non-Bengali population and Bengalis around the globe, Brainware University, Kolkata, Bengal’s largest private university, has taken up an initiative to popularise Tagore’s songs through a unique project. 

Spearheading this initiative is the founder-chancellor of the university, Mr Phalguni Mookhopadayay, who helms this audio-visual venture in anecdotal voiceovers and rich renditions of each intricate Rabindra sangeet. 

Tagore once said: “The world speaks to me in colours, my soul answers in music.” His lyrical compositions, that he set to tune himself, bear out his belief that “music fills the infinite between two souls.” Tagore’s lyricism rises above mere prose and adds a new dimension, a depth of emotion that makes them relevant even today. The entire collection of Rabindra sangeet was combined in Gitabitan – a music book comprising all 2,232 songs. 

Brainware University aptly chose to launch the initiative on May 9 this year, Tagore’s 162 nd birth anniversary, with a solemn and profound programme in its auditorium. Subsequently, the launch on social media has been hailed in various degrees of applause and appreciation, the first episode notching up nearly 20,000 views, and counting. 

Mookhopadhayay, each of whose renditions is eliciting effusive praise, is absolutely untrained in the nuances of vocal music. He says: “Our goal during the next 100 weeks is to take Tagore’s songs to at least 1,00,000 non-Bengali and Bengali households outside India. With each song you will find its translation in English and some useful information.  My request to viewers is to please subscribe to my YouTube channel (, like and share the episodes. Do share the link with friends abroad. Help us to promote Tagore’s musical genius to the world.” He is, indeed, carrying this onerous task on his able shoulders, eking out time from a relentlessly hectic schedule as a hands-on chancellor of the university. 

The more interesting aspect, not known to many, is that this initiative is totally home-grown, recorded and produced in Brainware University’s own state-of- the-art studios. Just three episodes old, the project is already receiving very positive feedback from around the globe, with viewers impatiently awaiting the next video. The unceasing accolades across all social media platforms bear testimony to that. 

In all his compositions, Tagore’s intent was not to create new ragas but to melodies that did justice to the expressiveness of his poetry. Tagore was also influenced by the genre of Bengali folk music and composed many songs where their impact is evident.

Tagore’s compositions also played a major role in India’s freedom movement. While he voiced disillusionment over the degeneration of nationalism, two songs composed by him, Jana Gana Mana and Amar Sonar Bangla, are immortalised as the national anthems of India and Bangladesh. 

Legend has it that after listening to a Tagore song, Ustad Allauddin Khan was inspired to compose his favourite Raga Hemant. Tagore’s music has also had a profound impact on Indian cinema. Many of his songs have been adapted for films, and their emotional depth and lyrical beauty have contributed to the popularity of Indian film music. 

Today, Tagore’s music continues to resonate with people from all walks of life. His songs are performed at cultural events, religious ceremonies, and social gatherings, reflecting their enduring popularity. His music remains a testament to the power of art to unite people, transcend the boundaries of language and culture, and connect us to the divine.

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