RABENDARNATH TAGORE LITERARY & DRAMATIC CLUB OF SINDH.
Twenty five years agoI wrote article for Monthly “ADYOON”, Karachi, on the history of Sindhi Dramas.In that article I gave list of 140 Dramatic societies of Sindh and Hind. Myarticle was reproduced in India also. Out of all those Deamatic Societies, RabendarnathTagore Literary & Dramatic Club was important one, as it remained activefor nearly twenty four years. It was established/formed in 1923 at Hyderabadwith Karachi as its branch. This Club formed after the name of Dr. RabendranathTagore was inaugurated by him. Tagore visited Sindh for inaugural ceremony inApril 1923 and on his arrival (on 21st of April), the KarachiMunicipality invited him as Guest ofHonour and on this occasion the Address was presented to him by Jamshed Mehtaon behalf of the city and Municipality. As it is very rare document onlyavailable with Gul Hayat Institue and is about to be vanished, therefore it isreproduced here:
We the President andMembers of the Karachi Municipality beg to offer you a heartly welcome on yourvisit to Karachi. We consider it a privelge to receive you in our city as weknow every one here has been execpting you with joy ever since yourintention to visit Karachi became known.
Though our city is ata great distance from your own home, Sir you are not unknown to our people asyour heart and mind have been so well broadcated through your writtings, yourspeeches and above all your actions. Your glorious work to give to the peopleof this country and of the world at large, that loving message of brotherhood of men and fatherhoodof God, your invocation to work for the nation and love to it in order to unitethe bonds of humanity by creating international links, your patriotism for yourcountry, your efforts to unite the East and West through the culture and art of both, , yourcontinued efforts to make the mystic and practical scientist one in feelingsand actions, have made you well known every where. As representatives of thecity therefore it fills us with joy to receive you, to offer you our respectand to know you in person.
Our karachi is cityof modern growth and although has no ancient historical traditions associatedwith it. As a city it has grown to be the capital of Sindh, which played agreat role in the history of India. Our city will, we hope, play great part inthe future history of our motherland.
We know you havearduous duties else here, and we also know that fulfilment of your duties is one of the many causes of your presenttour. We know that the great and noble task of founding and guiding theInternational University “ Vishwa Bharti” which you have undertaken requiresevery minute of your valued time and the constant exercise of your energies ,and we understand that its accomplishment and firm establishment will be a timereward of your hard work, efforts and anxieties.
We pray, you may livelong with peace to see the day of glorious culmination of your labour of love.
We beg to subscribeourselves,
With great respect
Jamshed Mehta(president) and Members of the Karachi Municipality.
1. OFFICE – BEARERS: We have never researchedanything with seriouness. Therefore most is missing in our history. Same is theposition of the historical records of this Club. It is on the record thatHirananad Advani, Ramchand Takhtram, Moulchand Lilaramsing and Valiram Aailsingwere active leaders of the Hydeabad branch of the Club. Whereas KhanchandDaryani, Mangharam Malkani, Bhagwan Ramchand, Chandomal Wadhwani and Pahlajsingplayed key role in its branch of Karachi. I have researched some office–bearers of the Karachi branch, and they are: Year 1928 -29. Tolasing Advani(president), C. Chaiterji (V.P), Pahlajsing Advani (Treasurer), Motiram L.Lalwani & Chandomal N. Wadhvani(Secretaries), Hatim Alvi, Ramchand Wasvani, B.R. Ramchandani & J.P.advani(All members of the Managing Committee)/ Year 1932 -33. All office –bearerswere same, but the Managing Committee consisted on T.M.Advani, Acharya Gidwani,Mangharam Malkani & Chandomal Wadhvani./ Year 1933 -34. Tolasing Advani(President), Seth Jamnadas (V.P),Jamiatrai Lalchand (Treasurer), ChandomalWadvani & Pahlajsing Advani (Secretaries), Mangharam Malkani, KhanchandDaryani & B.R. Ramchandani ( All three Specialists), Dr. Awat shahani,Thanwardas Essardas, J.Z.Chandra (All three Members), M.C.Sitlani (HonoraryAuditor).
2. TAGORE’S BIRTH DAY ANNIVERSARIES: rightfrom the inception of the Club, Tagore’s Birth day anniversary was celebratedevery year. I have details about such a two event.
· 71thBirthday was celebrated in Karachi on 8th of May 1932. First of allRupchand Bilaram – Additional Judicial Commissioner in Sindh – performedunveiling ceremony of the portrait of Tagore. After that excellent programme ofMusic, Songs, dramatic scenses & elocution competition took place in whichboys & girls both participated. Mrs. Dadibha C. Mehta distributed prizes.Ram Samitani (1st prize) & Mehta Cyrus Piroze Shah (2nd Prize)both of N.J.V.High School earned “Tagore Education Cup”. The same Cub for girls was earned by Miss LailaKundanmal (1st) & Miss hassi Rewachand (2nd). S.C.Shahani Music Cup was snatched by Tulsio Hoondraj student of City High Schooland Miss Mohani Rewachand of Indian Girls’ High School. Khubchand RewachandMinature Cup went to Miss sarswati Motiram and Club singing prizes were earnedby Miss Gopi, Miss Noni Thadhani, Miss Chaturi Jagatrai, Miss Mohani Chandomal,Miss sarswati Motiram, miss Rukmani Motiram, Miss Sushila Partabsing, Miss HariSipahimalani, Miss Tirath Sipahimalani & Miss Agna Ramchand.
· 72thBirthday was celebrated on 16th of July at Freare Hall, Karachi withRupchand Bilaram as its President. First of all Gurdyal Mallick gave shortsketch of the poet, than N.D. Mallick presented translation from “Gitanjli” andit was followed by an other translation by Mangharam Malkani and a song by MissN. Thadhani. The programme consisted of so many items. In the end prizes weredistributed. Tagore Elocuation Cup for Boys was earned by B.L.Jagtiani (1st)student of N.J.V.High School & J.R.Irani (2nd) of P.V.School.Same Cup for Girls went to Miss Indru A. Advani (1st) of the IndianGirls High School & Miss Hassi Thadhani (2nd) of same school.Music Cup was earned by Tulsidas Hunomal (1st) of City High School,Dharamsi Patel (2nd) of the Gujrati Vidyala, Miss Lila K. Gurbuxani(1st) of Shahani High School & Miss sarswati Motiram (2nd)of same school. Dastur Fancy Dress Challenge Cup prize was equally earned byMr.C.C.Shahani & Mr. P.L.Tejwani.
· On theeve of the 76th Birth Day anniversary, C.N.Wadhvani was theSecretary of the Club. In reply to hisletter of Birtday congratulations, Tagore replied on May 20, 1936, as under:
Your best wishes and remembranceson the occasion of my 76th birtday have touched me deeply and Iconvey to you my heartfelt gratitudes for kindness. R. Tagore.
Tagore wrote so many letters toSindhis and I have reproduced some of them in my Column, that was published inDaily Hilal –I –Pakistan of Karachi under “ Tagore writes to us”.
3.LECTURE PROGRAMMES: Apart fromconducting fortnightly “ Tagore Classes”, the Club arranged lecture programmes.Some of them were: On 4.8.1928 by A.T.Gidwani (“Kalidas”), On 15.9.1928 by HatiAlvi (“Rabendranath Tagore”), On 4.10.1928 by Mangharam Malkani (“something newto Dramatise”), On 23.11.1928 by E.L.Price (“Ambition as Tragedy &Comedy”), On 1.12. 1928 by Prof. A.L.Duarte (“Doctors in Moliers play”), On16.1.1930 by Dr.JAMES H. Cousins (“The future of Drama’), On 9.2.1930 by Prof.A.L.Durate (“George Guynemer – Knight of the Air”), On 20.2.1930 by S.C.Shahani(“Our life essentials with special reference to Gitanjali”), On 6.6.1932 byS.Rama Kumar (“Film Industry”), On 7.12.1933 by Rev. Johan Yule Rennie (“TheNew Era – Economic, Social & Religions”), )On 6.1.1934 by W.V.Venkateswaram(“Art & Life”), On 16.1.1934 by Pandit Onkaranath (“ Rag & sentiment”),On 7.12.1935 by Mangharam Malkani (“Theater & Cinema”).
The important spots/places forthese lectures were: D.J.Sindh College, Shahani High School, Amil PanchayatHall (Burns Road), Young Amil Association office & Theosophical Hall etc.
3. Dramas Staged: This Club staged handsomenumer of Dramas at both Karachi and Hydearabad. On the eve of the inaugurationof the Club by Tagore, A part from Drama “Neki Ain Badi” was staged atHyderabad. Some of other staged Dramas were: “Mulk Ja Mudabar” by KhanchandDaryani (1923), “ Ghalatfahmi” (1924), “Ratna” (1924), “qismat” by MangharamMalkani (1927), “Desh Sadqay’ (1927), “Zamanay Ji Lahar” (1929), “Eikta JoAalap” (1930), “Olad” (1932), “Anarkali’ (1937) and “ Ladies Club” (1939) etc.Khanchand Daryani, Mangharam Malkani, ahmad Chagla, Lalchand AmardinomalJagtiani were Drama writers for this Club. Khanchand Daryani and ChadomalWadhvani left the Culb and Sindh to join Film industry in Mombai and elsewhere.However, Mangharam Malkani remained with the Club till partition.