Bengal has always been 50 yrs ahead of rest of India: Amit Shah remembers Tagore at Visva-Bharati Univ, Shantinekatan

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that Rabindranath Tagore, Visva Bharati, and Shantiniketan have always been centres of attraction in India and for people abroad, while addressing the faculty, students, and members of Visva Bharati University at Shantiniketan in West Bengal on Sunday, 20th December. HM Shah said that whether it be the new ideas in the country’s cultural heritage, art and tradition, or the freedom struggle, Bengal has been 50 years ahead of the times as compared to other parts of the country in every aspect. The Home Minister observed that Visva Bharati is going to complete 100 years, saying there must have been some ideas at the time when it was founded, and now, on the completion of 100 years, it should be an effort to renew Rabindranath Tagore’s ideas from this institution. He said that Shantiniketan and Visva Bharati have contributed to the framework of the education system in the country, according to a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

HM Amit Shah said this journey that started from a Brahmacharya Ashram in the year 1901 has contributed a lot to the cultural heritage of India. He said that Tagore said the purpose of education is to make the person fearless by thinking beyond all limits of narrowness, adding that Visva Bharti’s journey will be considered successful only if the ideas emanating from here will change the education system as per the mantra given by Tagore. The Home Minister also said that the purpose of education is to groom personalities who will break free of luxurious life, attachment, and all kinds of social bindings in search of peace and cultivate such minds whose quest to know the truth never stops.

The Home Minister said that the Visva Bharati has given the nation several people who have excelled in various fields. In the hundredth year of Visva-Bharati, a pledge should be taken that this tradition will not stop and after 50 years, on the 150th anniversary of Visva Bharati, the aim should be to nurture at least ten people who excel in various fields and instill Tagore’s ideas across the country and make them a part of life and society, he added.

Home Minister Shah said that many sons of Bengal contributed significantly to the country’s development. Many people like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, and Subhash Chandra Bose have worked to enrich India’s heritage during the 19th century renaissance. The impact of Rabindranath Tagore’s ideas and the greatness of his personality can be known from the fact that people of two different ideologies – from Mahatma Gandhi to Subhash Chandra Bose – both took inspiration from him, which shows the range of Tagore’s ideas, said the Home Minister Shah, adding that Tagore is the only great person in the world whose two compositions are being used as the national anthem in two countries. This proves how enormous the canvas of Tagore’s thoughts, culture, ethics, and arts is, the HM said.

Home Minister Shah said Visva Bharati has always strived to rise above caste, religion, and class to deliver the message of humanity. In Indian religion, there has been a system of preservation and promotion of philosophy, literature, music, and art, and Visva Bharati has amalgamated the literature and philosophy of European and other countries keeping in mind the basic mantra of world brotherhood of our Vedas to realise the mantra of “सर्वेभवंतुसुखिन, सर्वेसंतुनिरामया” (may all become happy, may none fall ill), he said, adding that unless the vision of rural development is not refreshed, there will not be advance in a modern way, and there cannot be all-round development of the country, which Tagore had started through Visva Bharati. From here, all such ideas as health, cleanliness, handicrafts, and technology were taken forward, the Home Minister remarked.

HM Shah said that Tagore never let the student in him die till the very end and that he started painting at the age of 70, drawing more than 3,000 paintings before he passed away, proving to the world that one should not stop learning till the last breath. Home Minister Shah said that work should be done to carry forward the tradition of Rabindranath Tagore, for which the Visva Bharati should move forward with an open mind and kind thoughts.

The Union Minister observed that Tagore, besides penning a voluminous repository of prose and poetry, also managed such a large institution which he said is certainly admirable, adding that once again the time has come to advance Tagore’s thinking. Visva Bharati has given many scholars to the country, the HM said, adding that many people including Mahasweta Devi, Nandlal Bose, Gayatri Devi, Satyajit Ray, and Vinod Bihari Mukherjee have done remarkable work in different fields. Today, let us resolve that this tradition will not stop, the HM implored.

Earlier, Home Minister Shah paid homage to Rabindranath Tagore at Shantiniketan, and also visited the Sangeet Bhawan of Visva Bharati University.

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