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Home where Rabindranath Tagore found inspiration for his Epic ‘Gitanjali’ is now in ruins

Tagore used carriages lifted by men to reach 'Mahesh Khan', his home, which is 82,000ft above sea level

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Image Source: Firstpost (Shashwat Agnihotri)
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  • Mahesh Khan is now home to leopards and leeches. Some furniture was stolen, others devoured by termites
  • Mahesh Khan is special to Tagore because it was there he conceptualised Gitanjali
  • Senior officials of the Forest Department of the Uttarakhand government say that there are no discussions or plans regarding renovation of the home

A dilapidated home in the dense forest of Uttarakhand, where leeches and Leopards now crawl and roam, is the same place where Rabindranath Tagore once found inspiration for this Epic ‘Gitanjali’.

Tagore named the home ‘Mahesh Khan’ where now jungle creepers and weeds have now taken over, and female leopards found it a great spot to deliver babies. When the wild cats left the place, deer took shelter during winter and rains. When the roof collapsed due to neglect and rains, leeches grew in abundance in the slush.

The big stones on which the Bard from Bengal wrote beautiful songs by using charcoal are either lost or stolen by those who discovered it first. Not just that, the furniture too. The mahogany reclining chair where his terminally ill daughter Renuka used to look at the stars  was stolen too.

Rabindranath Tagore became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Gitanjali or “an offering of songs” is a collection of 157 poems and was published on August 14, 1910. It became very famous in the West and was widely translated.

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“Mahesh Khan is special to Tagore because it was there he conceptualised Gitanjali. Tagore also composed several children’s poems, eventually compiled and published as Sishu (The Child, 1903). The English title was later changed to The Crescent Moon,” said Nasreen, a Kolkata-based Tagore researcher to Firstpost.com.

Image Source: Firstpost (Shashwat Agnihotri)

Historian Prasanta Paul, who meticulously chronicled the bard’s life, mentioned Tagore’s journey to Nainital and how he used carriages lifted by men to reach Mahesh Khan, which is 82,000ft above sea level.

Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson, the authors of the biography titled Rabindranath Tagore — The Myriad Minded Man, claim that the journey to Mahesh Khan was long and difficult, the poet sometimes carrying his ailing daughter in his arms. He kept her entertained and cheerful, for she was moody and high-strung.

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Renuka, Tagore’s daughter whom he affectionately called Rani, was 10-and-a-half years old when her father married her to a husband she had never met but in 1903, i.e. two years later, he returned with Renuka to Mahesh Khan as she was recuperating from tuberculosis. Doctors had advised that the Himalayan air would do her good. “He hoped the change of climate will help Renuka recover. But it did not happen,” said Tagore historian Professor Sitabrata Chattopadhyay to Firstpost. Renuka died in September 1903, the same year she visited ‘Mahesh Khan’.

Nasreen also adds that on his 154th birth anniversary, last year, in 2015, there was a plan to create a Tagore trail connecting Ramgarh, Almora, Ranikhet and Mahesh Khan but the move initiated by the Uttarakhand government failed for unknown reasons.

Senior officials of the Forest Department of the Uttarakhand government said, there are no discussions or plans regarding the renovation of the home.

-prepared by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram. 

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Safety Measures Needed After Chicago Is Hit By A Spate Of Home Break-Ins

With a spate of home break-ins occurring in Chicago recently, homeowners are rightly worried about their safety.

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A house on fire (Representational image). Pixabay

A host of home break-ins have occurred in Chicago recently, leaving residents concerned for their safety. On November, 3, two masked men broke into a home in Back of the Yards which was occupied by three adults and a young child. They then callously stole a number of personal effects and set the property on fire before fleeing the scene. Meanwhile, a series of thefts have been reported in the Portage Park neighborhood. Thankfully, these types of losses are usually covered by your home insurance policy. However, extra precautions should be taken by homeowners looking to fight back against Chicago’s home thieves.

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Sadly, the two intruders who set light to the South Damen property have not yet been caught. Pixabay

Safeguarding your home with a firearm

The two men who entered the property on South Damen Avenue were armed with a handgun which was used to strike the 56-year-old male occupant of the property. It’s in cases like this where homeowners can utilize their own firearms to protect both themselves and their property. Illinois state law permits individuals to keep guns in their home so long as they hold a valid FOID card. In October, a 71-year-old Chicago homeowner used his firearm to shoot an intruder in the hand, before the police turned up and arrested the suspect. Police confirmed that the elderly shooter would not face charges as he had a concealed carry license.

Make life difficult for burglars

It is not yet known how the masked duo broke into the family home in Back of the Yards. However, one of the simplest ways to prevent thieves from breaking into your property is to make it difficult for them. Safewise states that the average burglary takes just 10 minutes to complete as intruders want to be in and out as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of being caught. It’s best to avoid glass doors and surrounds as these are easily broken into. Similarly, don’t provide access to a criminal in the form of a large pet flap on your door. Additionally, you should always ensure that your home’s doors and windows are secured – even on hot night.

Chicago
American flag waves beside CCTV cameras. VOA

Hook up security cameras

Sadly, the two intruders who set light to the South Damen property have not yet been caught. Following the break-in, theft and subsequent fire, the pair reportedly ran away in an unknown direction and the local police and investigating the incident. However, one way to deter burglars is to hook up security cameras around your home. Studies show homes with security cameras are 300% less likely to broken into. This is because security cameras increase the risk of a criminal being caught after they’ve committed their crime as high-quality images will be released of them. Therefore, they are less likely to choose your home as a target, especially if you stick signs up outside your home stating that 24/7 video surveillance is in use.

Also Read: Online Hate Thriving Even After The Recent Hate Crime in The U.S.

With a spate of home break-ins occurring in Chicago recently, homeowners are rightly worried about their safety. But by keeping a firearm in your home, using security cameras and by making your home difficult to break into, you’ll be better protected than ever before.