New Delhi: An expert on Rabindranath Tagore, Professor Ananda Lal, has not taken kindly to veteran actor and playwright Girish Karnad's remarks against the Bengali polymath. "Karnad has been saying this for the last 20 years that Tagore is an inferior dramatist, but when you reach a stature that Karnad has, you cannot misuse your position to talk unhistorically," Lal said.
Lal accused Karnad of "misinforming everyone and deliberately obfuscating". "When you have reached such a position, you cannot make such rash comments. The rebellion against Tagore is understandable, but why kick the ladder on which you are standing," he said. "You are being willfully ignorant," he added.
Karnad had called Tagore a second rate playwright, and in his defence, told CNN-IBN that he was great as a poet, but failed as a playwright. "He is not a great playwright, he is a great poet. We all are influenced by his poetry. He did not write great plays, he wrote mediocre plays. We should learn to be practical in this matter," Karnad told CNN-IBN.
A lot of criticism has already poured in on Karnad's statement. Professor Sukanta Chaudhuri, Professor Emeritus, Jadavpur University, said, "National furore doesn't surprise me. Tagore is not a religious leader. He himself stood for open mindedness, Girish Karnad has a right to his view but I strongly disagree with this view."
Karnad, who is also a famous theatre artist, claimed that Tagore's contemporaries also did not accept him as a playwright.