Kajal Chaterjee

Rabindranath Tagore had wanted the Indians to embrace the best what international community has to offer by imbibing the spirit of "Global Village" and laying stress on inter-exchange of thoughts and culture ("Here everybody will bring into union and exchange gifts. Nobody will go empty handed from the seashore where great souls come together to pay reverence") in harmony with nature. 


And this was precisely the spirit of his brainchild  Visva-Bharati or Santiniketan where the gentle cultural breeze of Bengal, India and the whole world would flow freely. Right from Manipuri dance in Tagore drama to the great Ananda Samarakoon(composer of Sri Lanka's national anthem 'Sri Lanka Matha....')  --- all represent this meeting and exchange of culture and intellect so as to enlighten the mind as well as the society. Tagore indeed stands tall as a living example of an ideal human being who feels proud of his roots, yet embraces the whole world.


 But it is indeed a disgrace to notice how some forces are working overtime to denigrate India into a mere "frog in a well" by shunning the best(by treating it as "alien") in the name of "national pride"!


 And Visva-Bharati authorities and BJP leaders should be earnestly requested to follow the ideals of Tagore instead of flexing political muscle as if UNESCO has listed Santiniketan as "World Heritage" site  because of Narendra Modi's initiative or that the listing is nothing but a "gift" for the Prime minister's birthday!  Rather the concerned authorities must introspect whether the poet would have supported the philistine personal attack upon the cultured Bhadralok named Amartya Sen - - - character-assassinating him as "land- grabber"!


 Would the all-embracing secular humanitarian Tagore, who used to hate the concept of "nationalism" from the deepest core of his heart, have supported the hobnobbing of political leaders of such a dispensation in the campus who are notorious enough to flex rabid religious muscle with lips spewing vitriol of hatred against minority groups and promptly dub them "anti-national" who dare to swim opposite "saffron mainstream"! How can leaders of such a particular divisive brand or merchants of hatred(including a Bollywood actor of saffron ecosystem much notorious for hate words) be permitted to deliver lecture within the campus founded by Tagore! Would the poet have approved it had he been alive today! 


 Lastly, the Who's Who of Visva-Bharati, including the Centre, are required to be clearly conveyed in clear terms that they might be in legal possession of the University founded by Rabindranath Tagore; but as far as carrying forward the Tagorean legacy is concerned, it is being done by that epitome of ethics values secularism and humanity named Amartya Sen and this constant mud-slinging with attempt to tarnish his noble image will definitely be treated as a direct assault upon Tagorean legacy itself. 


After all, Sen and the original ideals of Visva-Bharati ie Tagorean legacy are simply synonymous terms as unlike the current political custodians of the university, Sen's mind embraces the world by discarding the narrowness of "nationalism" and lays greatest emphasis on secularism religious brotherhood humanity and economic upliftment of all. 


It is high time the ugly mindset of having no time or space for dissent, freedom of speech, secularism and humanity must be relegated to oblivion from the campus and justice must be done to the UNESCO-awarded honour of "World Heritage site" to Santiniketan.


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