Father Marino Rigor is a Christian Missionary dedicated to the service of the humanity. He is well renowned as Father Rigon. The extraordinarily resourced person wears many hats- that of a translator, a social worker, a handicrafts entrepreneur, an educationist, an architect and a freedom fighter but above all, he is a cultural personality.
He was born on February 5th, 1925 in Villaverla village in Venice region, Italy. On January the 7th, 1953 he arrived at Bangladesh to speak of Christian Gospel ideals. After traveling in various regions of the country, he settled in the Shelabunia village at Mongla, at the outskirts of the Sundarbans. His firm wish is to be buried here in Bangladesh.
During the mid-fifties, when he began learning the Bangla language for his missionary work, he fell in love with Bangla literature. He began studying Bangla culture extensively – reading works of Sharatchandra, Tagore, Bankim Chandra,Jasim Uddin, and other poets and writers.
He got acquainted with Tagore’s literature and continued to immerse himself in the multidimensional dynamics of Tagore’s works; the more he delved, the more he adored. And the more he adored, the more he read on. In such a fashion, his intimate bondage to Tagore was born. Thus, he has come to revere, be inspired, and revel at Tagore’s philosophy of life.
He also became interested in Lalon Shah, the minstrel philosopher of folk Bengal literature. He concentrated on Lalon’s philosophy of life, and delved into the practice to decipher the thoughts of the bard.
He translated about 40 poetry books, including Tagore’s Gitanjali, into Italian; Jashim Uddin’s Nakshi Kanthar Matth, Sojon Badiar Ghat, Selected Poems, 350 lyrics of Lalon Shah and works of many prominent poets of the country into his native language. In addition, he translated the acclaimed Italian fairytale Pinocchio into Bangla.
During Bangladeshi Liberation War in 1971, like other patriotic Bangladeshis, he actively helped the war-devastated public and the wounded freedom-fighters.
He has conveyed Bangladeshi culture to Italy; he led cultural troupes to Italy and organized showcases for the Bengal heritage of Embroidered Quilts.
In recognition of his humanitarian service, creative activities and the unrivaled role during the Liberation War, the Government of The People’s Republic of Bangladesh has proffered him with Honorary Bangladeshi Citizenship. He had been awarded several times in the country and abroad.
He frankly admits that his intellectual world was influenced by Tagore , Lalon, Jasim Uddin and other Bangladeshi poets. A vast part of Fr. Rigon life truly belongs to Bangladeshi culture and literature.
Father Rigon’s humanitarian philosophy and spiritual ideas has flourished in combination of Christ’s ever peaceful guidance and Bangladeshi philosophy and mystic ideals. His philosophy is dedicated to the welfare of the human condition. All this makes him an extraordinary human being of our time.