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August 8, 2011

CM leads padayatra to Shaheed Minar to commemorate 22 e Shravan, the Death Anniversary of the Kaviguru Rabindranath Tagore, cultural programmes to follow

CM leads padayatra to Shaheed Minar to commemorate 22 e Shravan, the Death Anniversary of the Kaviguru Rabindranath Tagore, cultural programmes to follow

The West Bengal government has made elaborate arrangements to observe the 150th Birth Anniversary of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore.  West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee who is an ardent admirer of Tagore announced state holiday on August 8 as a mark of respect to the poet. Ms. Banerjee, known for her admiration for Rabindranath Tagore, is often heard of quoting Tagore in her speeches. She announced series of special programmes lined up to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary this year.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee initiated Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore's 150th birth anniversary celebrations from the State Secretariat on Saturday, by paying floral tributes, joining in a chorus of Tagore songs and announcing the setting up of a Centre for Research on the poet. Ms. Banerjee said that week-long celebrations would be held — starting with processions being taken out from several points in the city on Monday. She herself would join one of them. The processions would converge near Shahid Minar in Central Kolkata. 

The PWD has set up a 24ftx16ft stage with a 6ft-high backdrop done up with a picture of Rabindranath and decked out with flowers. A separate stand would be placed on the stage for the chief minister and other dignitaries. The evening’s programme will be held at Netaji Indoor Stadium, where jail inmates will perform Balmiki Protibha under the direction of Alokananda Roy. Several noted performers will sing Rabindrasangeet.

Rabindranath Tagore needs no introduction among Bengalis, who since ages have taken refuge in the poetry and songs of the poet in happiness, sorrow and even expressing love. His songs give us the strength to face the challenges in life. Rabindranath Tagore, was always against `Acholayoton` (mundane) and the message is conveyed loud and clear through his writings, poetry, songs, paintings. Shantiniketan (Abode of Peace), a vision which he saw and now a seat of education also speaks of this philosophy.  Rabindrasangeet (Tagore songs) like ‘bandh bhenge dao’, ‘bhenge mor ghor r chabi’, ‘kothao amar hareye jawar nei mana’ are some which that inspires to break free from the daily humdrum. Tagore, a poet and philosopher, as we know him, saw life in very different perspective. In most of his writings, the poet has defined death as `dawn` rather than an end of life. ‘Jokhun porbe na mor payer chinho’ and ‘diner sheshe ghum r deshe’ are some of the songs which depicts many folds of life. Tagore who regarded his short stories as more popular as compared to his novels, once said that his works will admire more after his death and future generation will realize the pain and depth in his writings.

The state government is observing August 8, 9 and 10 which has coincided with 22 e Shrabon (death anniversary). Chief Minister said, `I had planned a series of programmes while in Delhi as Railways Minister to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore and after assuming office as Chief Minister, I decided to form a committee under the leadership of noted theatre person Ms. Shaoli Mitra`. She declared August 8 a state holiday as a mark of respect to the poet. Ms. Banerjee has requested the centre to declare a national holiday. `Then Prime Minister Late Rajiv Gandhi had accepted my request to make holiday to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of the poet in 1987`, added Ms. Banerjee.  However, it is not yet decided whether August 8 will be observed as an annual holiday by the state.

Every government department in West Bengal will organize various programmes to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of the poet. `I have requested the government departments to hold special programmes as a mark of respect to the poet`, said Ms. Banerjee who has also requested all the schools, colleges, universities and educational institutions across the state to prepare special programmes and has requested students to participate in large numbers. `We don’t want to pressurize the school students and don’t want them to come to schools on Sunday, hence, we have decided to hold programmes on August 8, 9 and 10. However, I will be happy if the students come out in large number and join the procession on August 8`, she added. She said that initiatives are being carried out across all the districts in West Bengal to organize programmes simultaneously. `The idea is to carry forward the teachings and philosophy of the great poet amongst all. I will be happy if the people participate and our initiative successful`, told Ms. Banerjee.

Initiatives are also being carried out to restore the heritage building. Tagore had visited the Himalayas several times and was fond of the Darjeeling hills. The poet had penned down a few of his classics while staying at renowned author Maitreyee Devi’s house in Mongpu near Kalimpong which he visited nearly four times and was quite fond  off. The house in Mongpu presently transformed into a museum having fond memories of the poet.  Ms. Banerjee informed that the state government has taken an initiative to renovate the house and plans to build a language academy. `We are planning to construct a language academy including a one for Nepali language`, she said.

Today, all roads are leading to the Shaheed Minar in central Kolkata which is the venue for the main programme. People gathered at four designated places across the city – Jorasanko,

Collage Square

, Park Circus and

Harish Mukherjee Road

are traveling to Shahid Minar in a padayatra. Noted singers and performers will perform Tagore’s poetry, songs and dance. A cultural programme will be held at the Netaji Indoor Stadium the same day from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm.

Ms. Banerjee said that all the government buildings will be illuminated. `I have also asked the Railways Ministry to do the same on their buildings`. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation will also join hands in paying tribute to Rabindranath Tagore by putting up large hoarding across the city.