A tale of two poet laureates

Posted by Dev Baul - 26/05/21 at 04:05 pm

A tale of two poet-laureates separated by centuries, continents, and languages

Bob Dylan was born in the USA in 1941, the same year in which Tagore died at the age of eighty. Their personas could not have been more different. There is no evidence to suggest that Dylan was familiar with Tagore or his works, although Dylan started as a folk artist and collaborated extensively with Purnadas—a pioneering Bengali folk artist. As is well known to Tagore buffs, he was very fond of folk music, and many of his songs had a folk origin.


I bring up this fantastic argument as a prologue to what I propose next that is even more outrageous. I submit parts of two songs to back my defense—Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone and Tagore’s We ain’t got nothing, we sing from within and without. A lot has been lost in translation in my inept English interpretation of Tagore’s original.


Similar ethos predicates both the songs that celebrate the bliss of owning nothing. Both poet-laureates argue,” What can you lose when you got nothing?”


You may not be impressed with my construct, but do take a dekko and a listen.





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6 Responses to “A tale of two poet laureates”

  1. Shyamal Mazumder says:
    July 24th, 2021 at 6:42 am

    You are a gold miner. Depth of your perceptions is awesome. Another song that came to my mind, “He is a real nowhere man” may not be entirely relevant, but still. Might touch a chord somewhere. My apologies for the impertinence.

  2. Aali Pant says:
    July 29th, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    What a spectacular and rational comparison Dev Da. I think this must be first of its kind.

  3. Vishal says:
    August 8th, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    Great content. Really insightful

  4. Dev Baul says:
    August 8th, 2021 at 5:28 pm

    Thank you Vishal

  5. Arabinda Banerjee says:
    October 6th, 2021 at 7:30 am

    Definitely very interesting discussion! Reminds me also of “He that is down needs fear no fall”!

  6. Arabinda Banerjee says:
    October 6th, 2021 at 7:31 am

    Interesting … Reminds me also of “He that is down needs fear no fall”!y

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