Two Indian universities are to receive replicas of houseboats used by Rabindranath Tagore during his stay in East Bengal — now Bangladesh.
Replicas of the houseboats — ‘Padma’ and ‘Chopola’ — will be presented by Bangladesh Information and Cultural Affairs Minister Abul Kalam Azad on September 12. He would hand over the ‘Padma’ replica to Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata and the ‘Chopola’ replica to Visva Bharati University in Shantiniketan at separate functions. The Nobel laureate penned many of his significant works while sailing on the Padma river on these houseboats overseeing his family estates in Silaidah, Shahzadpur and Patisar of East Bengal for over a decade from 1890. His famous poetry collection Sonar Tori was written on board the ‘Padma’.
A replica of the ‘Padma’ was built a while ago at the initiative of the Archaeology Department, with assistance from the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority.
Rabindra Bharati University Vice-Chancellor Sabyasachi Basu Rai Chowdhury said the replica would enlighten visitors on the works written by the great Bengali writer on board the boat.