Innocent laughter is rarely seen these days. From very early age, children today are made to
carry heavily loaded bags to school. At times, those bags weigh more than their own body weight.
Their lives principally rotate round the many C’s, Career computer, and Competition, to name a
few. The number of hours and minutes available to them are strictly divided for each pursuit,
lest even a second is wasted! There is just no time for them to read a book, unless it is a
textbook. Just no time to look out of the window just like that, doing nothing!
Being non-critical about the existing system where is the scope, space or time, for that matter,
for moulding the young intellect with the care it deserves? That is a critical question is
Tagore (1861-1941) always believed in development of superior intellect in complete harmony with
time, system and context. Hasya Kautuk (1907), particularly written with this objective, is one
of the masterpieces among his numerous brilliant creations. Comprised of short plays, this book
is a discovery of adolescent intellect through humour.
Inspired by her mother Nilanjana has always been extremely fond of Tagore in all his literary
forms songs, prose, poems, dance, drama- just anything. That was and still is her favourite
born in Calcutta she holds a post Graduate degree in international relations from Jadavpur
University and is a UGC certified instructor-translator-interpreter in Russian language for quite
a long time now. Permanently settled in Delhi, Nilanjana had till date visited Russia and Egypt
for various academic purposes, and has also translated important academic material in Russian
She is deeply associated with the Ramakrishna math & Ramakrishna mision.
A tree cannot develop normally if it does not get enough sunlight Likewise, a human mind cannot
attain health without fun and humour in life.
It is strange indeed that one is to be specially advised to engage into pure fun and find humour
in life and it is precisely so in our country. We do not know to mingle our heart and soul in
good laugh and humour. Looks like that we lack in liveliness, openness, and spontaneity even in
plain enjoyment. Game of cards, dice, a game of chess, criticising the world –none of these
enjoyment enrich our body and soul. These exercises essentially promote laziness, senility, and
cloistered preference. We age normally with time by workload, under various practical
compulsions, and pressing anxieties. No special ceremony is needed in the natural process of
Therefore, when we deliberately indulge in these retarding pursuits during time of simple
relaxation, in a way, we throttle the young spirit inside our into premature death. Your induces
us to imbibe new ideas modern knowledge with interest, and to step along the modern beats of
changing times. Youth inspires to try newer routes, and expands the horizons of mind and its ways
…youth rescues from inaction, dwindling over a smoke with an ‘I know-it-all’ approach. Horizons
of heart cannot widen an inch further once the youth inside it dehydrates. As a dehydrated heart
fails to absorb novelties, it loves to recluse in inaction like frogs in winter. Withdrawn in a
self-devised shell of conservative arrogance, any individual heart boasts to imagine that it is
very wise and important. Naturally then we laugh at others initiatives.
Plain fun and gaiety more than not are invariably considered as childish pursuit by wise and busy
men. We tend to forget that any person, who works only knows how to enjoy life. Those who do not
work do not engage in fun either. Englishmen cannot sit idle; fun and humour are inseparable
issues in their lives. They are like senior people in knowledge and wisdom, full of youthful
energy while at work. Just like children while playing a game. If a game is not played with
child-like exuberance, no work can be a accomplished with youthful passion and energy. When a job
is not performed with youthful passion and energy, the experience gathered from it no way evolved
into wisdom. Grains grow in fields only; no way do they develops further in warehouses.
Similarly, wisdom develops on-job. Wisdom can never be gained out of any so-called wise sermons
emanating out of the fumes of an expensive cigar held between the fingers by a non-active
instructor. A matured human being must pass through stages o healthy childhood exuberant youth
and years of laborious experience to be one. If one’s priority is to gain maturity only
personality disorder is the invariable result. In case it is solely child-like impulsiveness,
there can be no progress. If we, Bengalis, wish to become a great race, we must play, we must
work with never ending enthusiasm, and think with utmost profundity.
Englishmen play a game called ‘Charade’, in Bengali we named it He (n) yali-Natya or Riddle
plays. Let me explain the crus of it. Two of three persons in a friendly conspiracy decide upon a
single word, which can be divided into two or three independent and meaningful words. Suppose,
‘insane’. When divided into two parts (‘in’ and sane) each word has a meaning. Then an instant
drama is composed appropriately to connote the whole words insane. The spectators guess the core
word insane on which the drama is based; others, they lose the game.
We offer an example of riddle plays. Five or four persons will enact these riddle plays and the
rest are to find out the implied core word in each.
These brief comedies were published in ‘Balak’ and ‘Bharati’ journals as Riddle plays. These are
written in rough compliance with European Charade from. To preserve the aspect of riddle in them,
the plays were to be composed in brief. I hope that the current readers will not take unnecessary
trouble to look for the riddles in them. Some of these riddle-plays are especially devoted to
entertain young minds.
Children’s Books (1723)
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