As India observes the 150th year of birth of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, government’s cultural wings are chalking out plans to celebrate by showcasing his creative genius in the country and abroad.
In the run up to the festivities for next year, a three-day Tagore festival was held in Kolkata this week that highlighted the works of Gurudev as a poet and as a social reformer.
The festival, officials say, marked the beginning of the year-long celebrations that will feature academic sessions, seminars, exhibitions, cultural performances and sartorial display of Tagore fashion in India and outside.
“The 150th year of birth of Gurudev is an important occasion for us. Apart from Mahatma Gandhi, if there is any other person who enjoys such great admiration on the basis of his intellectual strength, it is Tagore,” Virendra Gupta, Director General of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) said.
Mr. Gupta said Tagore was a multi-faceted genius and India would like to showcase him as an icon across the world to mark 2011 as the 150th year of his birth.
“He was an iconic figure whom we can project. Many of our embassies across the world have expressed interest in doing events to commemorate Gurudev’s 150 years,” Mr. Gupta said.
He said the ICCR was in the process of drawing up a programme, and consulting with Tagore experts to plan some major action to commemorate the year.
“It is a unique opportunity to celebrate and undertake festivals across the world to showcase his creativity,” Mr. Gupta said.
Tagore was born on May 7, 1861 and was instrumental in reshaping Bengali literature in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
A poet, a novelist, a musician, and a playwright all rolled into one, Tagore won the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work Gitanjali in 1913. Tagore died in 1941 at the age of 80.
“He was also a painter, a fashion designer in his own right, and even a culinary expert... His 150th birth anniversary is an important event for us,” he said.
“By May, when his birth anniversary falls, we will be holding a number of events across the country,” he added.