Follow Tagore’s message to meet world’s challenges: President

November 29th, 2011 - 6:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil Santiniketan (West Bengal), Nov 29 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil Tuesday said challenges like injustice and repression can be met through Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s message of fortitude, openness of mind and optimism of spirit without getting entrapped in prejudices.

Addressing the students and faculty members of Visva-Bharati University, Patil said the greatest service to the poet’s memory in the 150th year of his birth would be to live by the ideals he espoused.

Tagore founded the university in Birbhum district’s Bolpur in 1921 on a sprawling seven acre plot christened Santiniketan by his father Debendranath.

Stating that Tagore was always full of hope, the president said the poet-philosopher had an abiding faith in humanity as he felt “just as nature rejuvenates itself constantly, human beings have the capacity to regenerate and to revive”.

“While speaking of injustices and repression, he saw a possibility of change, as long as human beings did not become entrapped in their prejudices. He understood the importance of new thinking for addressing the various challenges in an ever-evolving world.

Strength can be taken from his message to face challenges in the world with fortitude, openness of mind and an optimism of spirit, she said.

Describing Tagore as a great intellectual who strongly believed that a human being must seek truth and contribute to human welfare, the president said he emphasised the importance of building high-quality educational institutions aimed at making individuals conscious of their moral and social responsibilities and understand the world they live in.

“He sought to build a space where students lived close to nature and studied in an atmosphere of trust and freedom.”

The greatest service that we can render to his memory is to live by the ideals he espoused, she added.

Paying rich tributes to Tagore, Patil called him one of the noblest sons of India, in whose works depth of human feelings, the aspirations of a nation, and the oneness of human race, were all expressed through a deep understanding of the wisdom of the past and expectations of the future.

“Besides, his multi-faceted personality saw him in a role as an educator, and a social reformer, a musician and a composer, an actor and a painter. He has left an indelible mark in the annals of history,” she said.

The president inaugurated an exhibition of Tagore’s original paintings - the first such exhibition of the bard’s creations on canvas in decades at Santiniketan.

She also unveiled two works - “Matsyavatar” and “Maya” - gifted to the university by two eminent sculptors and alumni of Visva-Bharati.

Patil paid tributes to the poet in the Uttarayan complex and saw the renovation being carried out at Pampa Lake.

Tagore, the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, was a versatile genius who holds the distinction of having his compositions as the national anthems of two countries, India and Bangladesh.

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