There are several memories of the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in Kalimpong. “Gouripur House” (which is located about 2kms from the town towards Durpin Hill) was Tagore’s favorite, and where he wrote some of his great verses, the house is currently not in a good state and requires restoration. Kabi-Guru Rabindranath Tagore had celebrated his 78th birthday in “Gouripur House” here in Kalimpong. He had composed a poem titled “Janmadin” on April 25, 1940 ( 25th. Baishak,1345) and had aired it live via on Telephone on All India Radio from “Gouripur House”, Kalimpong. That was the day when telephone service had first commenced in Town. Tagore used to stay at “Gouripur House” whenever he climbed up the hills during the hot season.
“Gouripur” is a small district town of Mymensingh, now in Bangladesh. Rabindranath’s long association with Roy Chowdhury (erstwhile Zaminders of Gouripur dynasty) family since 1926, when he paid a visit to Mymensingh,( now in Bangladesh). He stayed in Alexander Castle as a guest of Maharaja Shashikanta Acharya Chowdhury. He first visited Kalimpong in 1938 and penned several of his classic poems including “Janmodin”, “Maya”, ”Upahar”, “Namkaran” and “Jalsansar”, among other eminent pieces. In the year 1941, Tagore fell seriously ill in Kalimpong and had to be rushed to Kolkata for his treatment. Later in the year Tagore died.
The two-storied bungalow, owned by B. K. Roychowdhury of Kolkata is on a scenic hill, near here, and is surrounded by lots of greenery. The Roy-Chowdhury family has been looked after by three generations of a family. Brajendra Kishore Roy Chowdhury also a renowned classical music maestro. Leading classical masters of the sub-continent such as Enayet Khan (father of Ustad Bilayat Khan), Mohammad Ali Khan, Ustad Masid Khan, Ustad Uzir Khan, Hafiz Ali Khan performed at functions organized in “Gouripur”. Mymensingh, Bangladesh. Brajendra Kishores son Birendra Kishore Roy Chowdhury, a classical maestro was also adept at musical instruments like Surbahar,Esraj and Beena. Brajendra published a paper “Sangeet Bigyan Prabeshika” from Kolkata. He wrote two books on classical music- “The status of Tansen in Hindustan music” and “Raga Sangeet”.
Thick foliage has grown all over the house, the windows are broken and the interiors are in a bad shape too. Even the approach road, which is a part of the property, had seen better years. The structure itself is on the verge of collapsing any time. The authentic date of its construction is unknown. It is established as summer residence of Roy Choudhury family. It was very unfortunate that “Gouripur House” was not a familiar name even among the local residents. Some portion of the house has been severely damaged during the earthquake in September 18th, 2011.
It is necessary to save “Gouripur House” as it is attached to the legacy of Tagore. It is the moral responsibility of the State Government to save Gouripur House. The structure must be accord heritage status. There is no dearth of tourists to the place even now. “Tourists keep coming here occasionally. Most of them go back with bitter-sweet memories of the place” said Sangita Sharma, who lives with her husband on the first floor of the bungalow. Her family has been the caretakers of the buildings for three generations now.
Reasearch & Picture Courtesy – Santanu Roy.