It is quite late I came to Professor Chinmoy Guha's collection of essays in 2012. চিলেকোঠার উন্মাদিনীঃ ফরাসি সাহিত্য বিষয়ক ও অন্যান্য প্রবন্ধ - in this book we see a rare revelation of one of the rarest encounters of 20th century. I have intentionally refrained from using superlatives such as 'greatest' or any such word/phrase, so that we can see why it is 'rare' first and then look for expressions to qualify such an event.
Unfortunately, in Bangladesh, Tagore's connection with the west is summarily perceived as 'recipient' of the most coveted 'prize' - which is nonetheless taken as a 'blanket approval' of all and everything that Tagore stands for. We are hardly made aware that there is another side of 'west', which sought Tagore's redeeming 'presence' through his words, visits, assurances.
Professor Guha, recipient of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (2013) and Chevalier desPalmes Académiques (2010), two of the highest civilian recognitions by the French Government, speaks amply of the contributions that he had made in widening our understanding of Franco-Bengal connections in the late 19th and early 20th century. Professor Guha has offered a revealing set of little-understood connections that blossomed through personal encounters between Tagore, Kalidas Nag, Dilip Kumar Roy, Annada Shankar Roy, and the 'other' hero of Guha's intellectual quest - Romand Rolland. But Prof. Guha is not satisfied with merely supplying the narrative - he underscores, with substantial validation through a re-cognizance of French-Bengali literati, the REASON why these 'encounters' should be unearthed to make our world look a little more humane.
As Prof. Guha is currently informs us that he is "In Paris now to deliver the inaugural and valedictory address as well as the lecture on Tagore and Rolland in the Nobel Prize centenary seminar at the famous Liard Ampitheatre of Paris University (Sorbonne) organized by the Association Romain Rolland." We have all the reason to feel that the moment is well-nigh when we are about to see a renewal of our interest in this fine moment of our cultural past.