By Sirshendu Panth, Kolkata, Nov 12 IANS | 9 months ago

To salute poet-philosopher Rabindranath Tagore on the centenary of his getting the Nobel Prize for literature - the first Asian to win the coveted award - the Visva-Bharati University, founded by him, has organised an international seminar and an exhibition to climax the yearlong celebrations.


The seminar "Tagore Across Cultures: The Nobel Prize and Beyond" would see the participation of leading Chinese scholars Nov 14, exactly a 100 year after the news of him getting the coveted award reached India, says a Viswa-Bharati official.

"Though Tagore was declared the Nobel awardee-designate on Nov 13, 1913, the news of the award reached the sylvans surroundings of Santiniketan (in Birbhum district where Tagore originally founded a school and later used the Nobel prize money to expand it into the Visva-Bharati ) only the next day.

"So we are holding the seminar on that day to mark the centenary,' Amrit Sen, joint secretary, Visva-Bharati Study Circle, told IANS.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Janus Martony would be the chief guest at the seminar titled "Tagore across Cultures - The Nobel prize and beyond".

Tan Chung, Chinese academician and an authority on Sino-Indian relations and cultural exchange, would deliver the keynote address. The Padma Bhushan awardee's father Tan Yunshan was the founding director of Cheena Bhavana, the Department of Chinese Language and Culture at Visva-Bharati University ,

Tan Chung is leading a four-member delegation comprising three other academicians - Huang Yishu, Wei Liming and Zhou Liuxi - for the seminar, which would study the context of the award, the issues of translation that Tagore debated and the ideas of global cooperation that the poet emphasised.

"The seminar will trace the reception of Rabindranath Tagore's ideas on nationalism, education and aesthetics to continue the discussion on the relevance of Tagore's multifaceted genius," said Sen.

The vice-chancellors of Visva-Bharati and Rabindra Bharati Unviersity would also address the seminar slated to be held at the Cheena Bhavana. The exhibition, 'Kantha as stitch art' with Tagore as theme, would be inaugurated, also on Nov 14, at the Vichitra Hall of the museum Rabindra-Bhavana.

The Visva-Bharati had launched the centenary celebrations last Dec in the presence of president Pranab Mukherjee. A centenary edition of the anthology of poems Gitanjali (Song Offerings -for which the bard got the Nobel) and a publication on Tagore's son Rathindranath (Rathindranath - The Unsung Hero) were brought out as part of the celebrations.

"We also organised various cultural programmes, the museum was extended, and conferences on the impact of the award on the east and the west were organised through the year," said Sen.

Born on May 7, 1861, Tagore in 1913 became not just the first Asian Nobel laureate but the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for literature.

He also holds the distinction of having authored the national anthems of two sovereign nations -- India and Bangladesh - and the bard's rich, diverse and vast literary ouvre is virtually unmatched in the world. He was also a painter and composer par excellence.
(Sirshendu Panth can be contacted at s.panth@ians.in)

(Posted on 12-11-2013)