Maintaining that Rabindranath Tagore was an emotion, West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose on Wednesday said that the Nobel laureate’s memory cannot be obliterated or ignored.
Mr Bose made the comment when asked by reporters about the row over the plaques installed at the Visva-Bharati, founded by Tagore, to mark the UNESCO world heritage tag.
The plaques installed at the central university’s Santiniketan campus in Birbhum district do not have Tagore’s name, but bear those of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is the chancellor, and Vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty.
“Tagore is a feeling, an emotion felt in the heart of Indians. There cannot be any instance where Gurudev’s memory is obliterated or ignored. Gurudev enjoys the highest respect in the minds of all Indians,” said Mr Bose, who is also the rector of the varsity, on the sidelines of a programme at the Raj Bhavan.
Santiniketan, where Tagore built Visva-Bharati over a century ago, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in September.
The omission of Tagore’s name led to a row between the state government and the varsity authorities following which Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanded immediate replacement of the plaques.
The Trinamool Congress is holding a demonstration outside the varsity demanding removal of the plaques as they do not have Tagore’s name on them.
“Established in rural West Bengal in 1901 by the renowned poet and philosopher, Rabindranath Tagore, Santiniketan was a residential school and centre for art based on ancient Indian traditions and on a vision of the unity of humanity transcending religious and cultural boundaries,” according to a UNESCO website.
Tagore set up a university there in 1921. Ten years after his death, Visva-Bharati was declared a central university and an institution of national importance by an Act of Parliament in 1951.
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