Grant to restore Tagore university
New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday urged the people to imbibe the ideals laid down by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and "rise above the desert sands of dreary habits".
On the poet-philosopher's 150th birth anniversary, he also announced a Rs950 million (Dh77 million) grant to restore Visva Bharati University.
Addressing a gathering at Vigyan Bhavan here to mark the opening of Tagore's 150th birth anniversary commemorations, the prime minister announced a special project to restore Visva Bharati, the university set up by Tagore in Santiniketan in West Bengal, to its former glory and conserve the poet's legacy of "books, paintings and manuscripts".
The prime minister is Visva Bharati's chancellor.
He said the "government was working with the Archaeological Survey of India to preserve Santiniketan. A total of 27 heritage buildings have been restored".
"In commemorating Gurudev's birth anniversary, I hope we can inspire each one of us to a moment of quiet reflection of his ideals and an urge to rise above the desert sands of dreary habits in the immortal words of the poet," he said, from the poet's Where the Mind is Without Fear.
The function was attended by a 59-member delegation from Bangladesh led by the country's Planning Minister A.K. Khandkar. The 150th birth anniversary commemorations are a joint endeavour by India and Bangladesh.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was the guest of honour at the function.
In an effort to perpetuate the ideals of Tagore, the prime minister said a special international prize has been instituted "in the name of Rabindranath Tagore to recognise every distinguished contribution towards the promotion of international brotherhood and fraternity". It will be awarded at the end of the commemoration year.