A mind is fearless when it has the freedom and capacity to identify rationality and question the convention. It becomes fearless when knowledge is free from the shackles of falsehood and domination. The Bard of Bengal, whose timeless philosophy has inspired many great minds, had always valued education that gives young minds the opportunity to think beyond books and be critical about the happenings around.
Nirjhorini… The Brook, a multilingual magazine, is a true tribute to Rabindranath Tagore for it has provided dynamic young minds the scope for expression, to bring out words “from the depth of truth”.
The first edition of the magazine was published last year. Edited by Malabika Bisharad, the magazine is a facsimile collection of prose and poetry. What is unique about Nirjhorini is that it has encouraged students of all age groups to write in languages in which they can best express their thoughts.
Mother tongue as the medium of education has been ignored in many parts of the country, including Meghalaya. With English, the colonial language, becoming a predominant medium of studies, native languages are slowly and steadily losing the battle against the popular choice. Nirjhorini, in its own capacity, is making efforts to encourage expression in mother tongues. And the outcome of this endeavour is a rainbow of thoughts flowing freely like the unstoppable brook.
“In October 1919, the writer (Tagore) mentions the term ‘Nirjhorini’ in one of his letters from Brookside, Rilbong, Shillong, meaning ‘The Brook’. He also used this term in his famous novel Shesher Kabita…” writes the editor in the foreword.
The facsimile collection of articles, poems in 12 languages and paintings follows the natural course of expression and hence the name Nirjhorini, or brook, has been aptly used.
The 70 write-ups are in Bengali, English, Khasi, Garo, Nepalese, Arunachali, Assamese, Hindi, Jaintia, Telugu, Philippine and even Sanskrit. The topics which the young writers have dealt with are vast. There are stories from childhood, tribute to the Bard, nature, love, mining in Meghalaya, socio-political issues and economics, among others. A nine-year-old author, Dia Chakraborty, pens down her thoughts about saving the fast depleting cover of rainforests and in her letter addressed to the United Nations says, “I am writing to you to express my deep concerns about the destruction of our valuable tropical rainforests around the world.”
A BCom student, Priyojit Dey, replies to a poem written by Tagore over 100 years ago. He says the poet and philosopher occupies a major part of his life and how his writings arouse curiosity even after a century.
The writings are simple, honest and unpretentious. They are words straight from the heart, as Tagore would have imagined. The future philosophers and scientists open the window to the world and absorb as much information as they can and express what is relevant to the time and place. Their choice of topics is also commendable.
As a word of encouragement, the editor writes, “It is often seen that the composition of young minds are lost with the tides of time. This composition is a message to such young minds to save what they create, to enhance the literary world with what they write.”
Though humble, the initiative is a step forward to bring out the thinker in a child and also preserve native languages. ~ NM