Variety

India sings Tagore tune on his 150th birthday

| | Updated on: May 07, 2011
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India's best known cultural icon Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore's 150th birthday has kicked off a celebration frenzy in the country.

India's best known cultural icon Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore's 150th birthday has kicked off a celebration frenzy in the country.

From awards instituted in the Bard of Bengal's name and fellowships for scholars to painting exhibitions, a wide range of projects were flagged off on Saturday.

Launching the year-long commemoration programme, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh announced the institution of a prestigious international award in the name of the Nobel Laureate.

Dr Singh said this award would recognise “very distinguished” contributions towards the promotion of international brotherhood and fraternity — resonating well with ideals of universal humanism that the poet and playwright fostered through his university, Vishwa Bharati.

Special grant

A special grant of Rs 95 crore is being given to the University and the PM promised that he would personally be involved in the revival of the institution. A jury headed by the Prime Minister will select each year a citizen of the world of outstanding public eminence, who in his or her life and work, epitomises the high universal ideals that Rabindranath Tagore stood for. “We hope to present the first award by the end of this commemoration period,” Dr Singh said.

The PM also drew attention to the large number of projects being undertaken to make Rabindranath Tagore's works more accessible to a wider audience and to preserve his work for posterity.

Take for instance, the digital collection of his paintings, entitled the “Rabindra Chitravali,” which was released by UPA Chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi. The Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, noted that it was for the first time that around 2,000 original paintings of Tagore from different repositories, including Vishwa Bharati and the National Gallery of Modern Art, are being reproduced in four volumes that promises to be a collector's delight.

Tagore National Fellowship

The Prime Minister also said that a new Tagore National Fellowship for cultural relations has been introduced by the Ministry of Culture.

Under the scheme, renowned scholars have been invited to take up research projects on unknown or lesser known cultural resources that lie within India's cultural institutions.

The commemoration events planned over the next one year not just in India, but in neighbouring Bangladesh which is participating in the joint activity, are intended to rekindle interest in Rabindranath Tagore's thoughts and teachings as much as in his verses, his paintings and his music.

Published on May 07, 2011

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