To be able to capture 2,230 songs that were written and composed by a poet more than 150 years back isn’t an easy task. The lack of technology at that time, torn papers, fading ink and scattered poems add up to challenge of collecting them at one place. But our passionate Debalin had decided that he will work all odds and create a repository of all Tagore songs.
He kept working towards collecting Tagore poems and compositions over the years. Soon he realized that he needs to leverage on technology to be able to share the work with more and more people and hence developed a mobile app for the ease of access and sharing of these beautiful creations. He created the Rabindrasangeet Swarabitan App that provides an easy access to the Rabindra songs to the music lovers. One App that has been able to capture India’s musical treasure and history!
How it all started
Deblin Das, the founder of Musicool comes from a family of musicians and hence moving towards a musical start-up isn’t surprising. Post trying his hands on a musical band named SPARK which unfortunately never came on stage after launching their first cassette; he was trying to decide what he wanted to do post his college. He always believed he had some connection with music but didn’t discover anything relevant to this incident that took place during the Bengali New Year. He was at Santiniketan and he met a Dutch gentleman who was present there for his book launch. He had translated a book by Rabindranath Tagore from Bengali to Dutch and even being a Dutch native this man had a great Bengali speech. This is when Debalin felt that he being a Bengali and so close to the Rabindrasangeet and culture can do wonders and this he felt could be his tribute to Tagore.
Debalin started working on collecting the creations of Tagore. While the famous ones were easy to find in Kolkata and around, the challenge was to collect the ones that never were published or were one of the oldest compositions and poems of Tagore. Debalin grew his networking everyday as he knew this was the only way he could reach the treasure. Through chain of networking and travelling he kept reaching people who helped him in bits and pieces and were able to provide Tagore work that wasn’t easy to find.
The journey for this collector hasn’t been easy and they were a mix of emotional, and financial, as well as his own wellbeing and all were at their extremes. The society pressures that a graduate gets if he is not ‘financially settled’ was a big one to fight with other than not being able to afford a 5 Rs. chai. While there are institutions who are to support people working towards protecting such culture treasures howeverwere not of much help either. He had already used all savings he had from his previous jobs but he kept moving forward.
What is unique about this app?
Out of 2,230 compositions of Tagore there were around 1900 that got published and for the rest there aren’t any notations available. Debalin’s app ‘Rabindrasangeet Swarabitan’ is unique as it includes authentic notations. Debalin’s sister Debosree who is pursuing her Ph.D from Visva Bharati and is a Research Scholer at Rabindrasangit Gabeshana Kendra is the subject matter expert and the Creative Head who ensures these notations are reviewed and approved by the advisory committee. Debalin says, “Tagore had requested his songs to be sung in the notations he had created as he believed that the writer and composer should have the rights to decide how people sung their creation to get the right beauty out of songs and poems.” Debalin and Debosree hence spend a lot of time in getting the authentic notations up on the app.
The uniqueness of the app is also that all songs can be sorted and searched via multiple categories – raga, tune, rhythm, words and much more. The app helps all Rabindrasangeet lovers to learn, listen and perform authentic Tagore songs.
Soothing results of hard work
Finally the current Government noticed his important work and on November 2nd 2017, recognized the start up Musicool with a certificate from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion under Startup India Campaign initiated by Narendra Modi. This can be the best boost to the morale of a startup founder. It doesn’t end here.
Debalin has now been invited to Portugal by the Lisbon-Challenge team for an app competition and is adding advance features to his app to prepare for his April visit to Portugal.
On the right path, and a steady growth Debalin, the founder of a unique startup is working towards safeguarding Indian musical treasure and following Rabindranath Tagore’s thoughts ‘Jodi Tor Dak Shune Keu Na Ase Tobe Ekla Cholo Re (“If no one responds to your call, then go your own way alone”)
Click here to download the Musicool-RabindrasangeetSwarabitan app and add your share in saving India’s musical legacy with Debalin Das.