Rabindra Sangeet songs include “Amar Shonar Bangla” and “Jana Gana Mana.” Rabindra Sangeet is a term that collectively refers to all songs written by Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali composer beloved in both India and Bangladesh. Largely based on folk and Hindustani classical traditions, these songs are characterized by romantic expressions and significant ornamentation.
Bangladesh adopted “Amar Shonar Bangla” as its national anthem in the early 1970s. Tagore wrote the song in protest against Britain’s 1905 partition of Bengal, which separated Bengal into Muslim and Hindu-dominated regions. Tagore was a prolific composer and Rabindra Sangeet comprises of 2,230 songs. The entire collection was published in book form as “Gitabitan.” The songs were influenced by the thumri tradition in Hindustani classical music. While some pieces from Rabindra Sangeet repurpose ragas quite faithfully, other selections feature Western influences.
Tagore’s songs are fully integrated into modern Bengali culture. Rabindra Sangeet has proven popular with Bengalis from all social and economic spheres. Topics touched upon in this body of songs include religion, romantic love, patriotism and the natural world. Tagore was born in 1861, and Rabindra Sangeet is one element of his monumental body of work, which includes plays, poems, dramas and essays. Rabindra Sangeet and its composer played integral roles in the Bengali Renaissance.