Was Rabindranath Tagore in love with his Argentinian muse?

Rabindranath Tagore

The bideshini and the bard

Almost any Bengali worth his salt – and this is regardless of whether or not he likes Rabindrasangeet – will have heard the beautiful, Aami chini go chini tomaare, ogo bideshini. (“Oh exotic woman, I know you, I know you…”), but not many know that it has a connection to an Argentinian aristocrat by the name of Victoria Ocampo.

Ramona Victoria Epifania Rufina Ocampo was a writer, critic, intellectual and champion of other wordsmiths. She was also the founder and editor of the literary magazine, Sur, a beacon of its times, published from 1931 to 1970.

After her divorce in 1922, Ocampo immersed herself in literary comfort, reading extensively and translating work from French and English. It was during this time that the French edition of Tagore’s Gitanjali came into her hands and she fell under its spell. She wrote an essay titled “The Joy of Reading Tagore” which was published in the magazine La Nacion in 1924. Later that year, in November, Tagore arrived in Buenos Aires.

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1 comment

Deb Chatterjee
Deb Chatterjee May 21, 2018 - 10:58 am

Yes he (Tagore) was in love with many women. He was in love with his bhabi Kadambari debi – wife of Joytirindranath Tagore . On the day of বউভাত Kadambari committed suicide. People speculate she was pregnant with Rabindranath’s child.

Victoria Okampo is surely another character whose escapades do not elude anyone’s observation.

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