The standard edition of Rabindranath Tagore's song lyrics, গীতবিতান / giitabitaan, "A Canopy of Songs", classifies the lyrics under six headings:
- পূজা / puujaa, "Worship"
- স্বদেশ / swadesh, "Patriotic"
- প্রেম / prem, "Love"
- প্রকৃতি / prakR^iti, "Nature"
- বিচিত্র / vichitra, "Miscellaneous"
- আনুষ্ঠানিক / aanuShThaanik, "Occasional"
Additionally, the Gitabitan also has other sections that include songs from Tagore's musical plays, dance dramas, etc., but those sections occupy only the latter third of the single-volume edition, or the third volume of the three-volume edition. The major section of the work comprises his song lyrics, arranged under these headings.
The web has conflicting information on the origin of this classification. The article on Tagore's songs in the English-language Wikipedia says:
Tagore never made these divisions. Only after his death was the need felt to categorize, compile and thus preserve his work, and the genre-classification system was born out of this need.
Contradicting this, the portal geetabitan.com says:
Classification of songs was done by Rabindranath Tagore himself according to the subject of the songs and can be seen in the collection, the book 'Geetabitan'.
Which is correct? Was the classification Tagore's own, or a later editorial decision? If the former, when did the poet classify his lyrics in this sixfold way? If the latter, who was the editor who classified the songs in this way and why?
Reference: My single-volume version of the Gitabitan has the following publication data:
- Tagore, Rabindranath. giitabitan: akhanta sa.nskaraN / Gitabitan: Complete Edition. Kolkata: Punascha, 2002, rpt. 2016.