Rabindranath Tagore the great philosopher, poet, musician, artist and a literary legend of Bengal is known commonly as Gurudev or Tagore. He has written 13 Novels, 30 short stories, around 3500 poems 2000 songs known as Rabindra Sangeet, 41 Dramas, 6 Dance Drama and innumerable Articles on various subjects .
But he is mostly familiar to all of us through his wonderful songs, Rabindra Sangeet. All these songs have been compiled in Gitabitan, one of the most popular and favorite book to all Tagore lovers.
The songs of Tagore mesmerize us. We start our day with listening Rabindra Sangeet and go to sleep with tune of the same. But, sometimes, while listening Rabindra Sangeet, question may flash in our mind like why and when Tagore composed it? Was there any fact behind the song? Who wrote its notation? When and where it was first published?
These queries may arise in the mind of a researcher, a singer, a script waiter, a student or a person who just love Tagore. To get answer of these, we have to consult several books, periodicals, articles etc for reference, which is definitely time consuming and lot of patience.
Gitabitan Tathyabhandar liberates us from that labor and time. Various information about the songs come to notice of the reader at a glance. From this book we can easily get the day and place of writing, Tagore’s age that time, all about notation and Raag-Sur, story behind the song, all about publication, use of the song in his dramas, old manuscript and so on.
Gitabitan Tathyabhandar contains six chapters on different topics like প্রধান তথ্যপঞ্জি (Main Information), সুরারোপিত সংলাপ (Musical Dialogues), কালানুক্রমিক সূচি (Chronological Display), ভাঙাগান (Bhanga Gaan), পুনরাবৃত্ত গান (Repetition Songs), গীতসমৃদ্ধ কাব্যগ্রন্থ (Books riches with songs)।
From the elaborate preface we can know that Rabindranath has written 1912 songs and 204 musical dialogues, a total 2116 in number. Out vof 1912 songs 198 has no notation. So the number of individial singable song is 1912-198 = 1814. Place of writing is unknown for 833 songs. 34 % notation was written by Dinendranath Thakur next is Indira Devi 12%. Song Offerings or Engilish Gitanjali contains 103 verses translated by Tagore himself from his 10 different books.
The information are displayed in the book both left and right pages. So it is easy to use the book for any quirey.
Let us see an example
Regarding song Ami Chini Go Chini Tomare (আমি চিনি গো চিনি তোমারে) we know from Gitabitan Tathyabhandar that Tagore wrote the song at Silaidaha on 11th October 1895 at his age 34 years. The Notation was done by Dinendranath Thakur. Purnakumari Devi did the first record in 1905. Rabindranath Tagore sung the song for Helen Keller when they meet at Newyork 1920. The song was used in movie Charulata directed by Satyajit Roy. Tagore himself translated the song in english (I know thee, thou maiden of the strange land) compiled in his book Poem and so on. All these information are displayed in the book as table form.