Draped in a crimson sari and adorned with white flowers, Arin Haque, the prodigious child artist of Bangladesh, mesmerizingly performed আমরা সবাই রাজা (We Are All Kings) in Italian, elevating an iconic Tagore song to prominence in Italy.

Imagine in 1986 a young and adorable Bengali girl in Italy stealing the show alongside her Italian peers, singing the legendary Bengali melody written by none other than Rabindranath Tagore.

Arin had already become a sensation in Italy at the age of 5. She was the champion of Zecchino d’Oro, an annual international children’s song competition where 7 songs were performed by foreign contestants competing for the prestigious award.

However it wasn’t the subcontinent’s first entry to Zecchino d’Oro. Earlier, the event featured a Pakistani song in ’79 and an Indian song in ’78 – “La Più Bella Nonna Ce L’Ho Io” , the Italian rendition of “Dadiamma Dadiamma” from the movie Gharana (1961).

In 1986, as the competition began in Italy, Arin stepped onto the stage, her heart racing with excitement and nerves. She took a deep breath and began to sing the Italian translation of আমরা সবাই রাজা (‘We Are All Kings’) – “Siamo Tutti Re”.

As Arin finished singing, the audience erupted in thunderous applause. It was a performance that would be etched in their memories forever. Arin’s trip to the International Singing competition in Italy was made possible by one remarkable man – Father Marino Regan.

He was a beloved Italian figure who went to Bangladesh as a missionary delegate in the 1950s and earned citizenship for his unwavering dedication to its people, as well as his brilliant translations of Bengali literary masterpieces into Italian.

Father Marino had dedicated his life to the people of Bangladesh for over 60 years. He settled in Shalabunia, a rustic village nestled by the Sundarbans, and poured his heart and soul into various transformative initiatives.

With unwavering determination, he dedicated himself to liberating minds through education, regardless of societal status or religious affiliation. During the turmoil of the 1971 Liberation War, he fearlessly aided those affected by the conflict.

Marino led a group of cultural representatives from Bangladesh to Italy regularly, Arin was one of them. Having had already translated Rabindranath Tagore’s “Gitanjoli” into Italian, it’s quite possible that he also translated the unforgettable Tagore song that Arin sang.

Tagore’s “We Are All Kings in this Kingdom” is a testament to the very heart of democratic rule, that each and every one of us is a ruler in our own right. In the land where fascism once reigned, now they sing আমরা সবাই রাজা (We are all king) to dispel it.




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