Celebrations off to a unique start | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 08, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 08, 2011

Celebrations off to a unique start

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Inaugurations have a way of passing off rhetorically and ritualistically. But the inauguration of the Indian part of the celebrations with Bangladesh of the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore at Vighyan Bhaban Saturday in New Delhi has been in a class of its own. The line, temper and texture of the curtain-raiser that flagged off year long celebrations were unique in certain ways.
The atmosphere that I soaked up is not just one of mutual endearment centred on Tagore legacy but a statement on communication in culture being a powerful tool for building and sustaining relations.
An organiser having seen the Dhaka part of the celebrations was in time for the Delhi inaugural within its elaborate cultural programmes like in Dhaka's. He remarked that Dhaka's has been more emotional than Delhi's. Though it is a matter of opinion, it hardly detracts from the manifest colour, gaiety and preformed contexts of the speakers by leading lights.
It was very high-profile affair in New Delhi, attended by a large part of India's federal as well as state governments. Besides, PM Manmohan Singh who inaugurated, the union ministers included Pranab Mukherjee, Finance; SM Krishnan, External Affairs; Ambika Sonia, Information and Woman; Seljia, Culture; Karan Singh, President (Q) Indian Centre of Cultural Relations (ICCR) who launched creation of Tagore's works "Indian Horizon"; a number of state governors, chief ministers, cultural and highest luminaries and the 22-member Bangladesh delegation were present.
Sonia Gandhi with her two high profile identity -- President of Congress and head of United Progressive Alliance -- was a powerful yet unostentatious presence.
Terming Tagore "Goethe and Shakespeare of Bengal" Sonia Gandhi said, he was one of the greatest and most accomplished geniuses of modern times.
He is a living presence; reappears in new light in Asia, America and South America with each passing day. Last frontier of his creativity was the paintings numbering 2,000 which show how he put his gemming to them with boundless energy of a young man. Citing Tagore as "an internalist through and through" she said he influences a whole generation of men and women.
Tagore believed in unity through diversity, not unity through uniformity (which can be an imposition).
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recalled the serene ambience of Shahjadpur, Patisar and Silaidah in which Tagore drew inspiration, for a good part of his poetic life.
The Indian PM has declared fellowship for research on Tagore. Of particular note are his urging to rekindle interest in Tagore and a revival of Biswa Bharati University to its former glory linking education to nation.

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