Colleges

Tagore's vision of an institution

“Visva Bharati represents India where she has her wealth of mind which is for all. Visva Bharati acknowledges India's obligation to offer to others the hospitality of her best culture and India's right to accept from others their best.” — Rabindranath Tagore

That was Tagore's vision of Visva Bharati or Santiniketan when he formally inaugurated it in December 1921. He visualised it as a ‘seat of learning', and his vision was taken forward by Gandhiji and Jawaharlal Nehru. Both played a stellar role in its becoming a Central University in 1951.

Santiniketan in many ways is still quite different compared to other universities in the country. Located at Bolpur in Birbhum district of West Bengal, the university still has the rural trappings that Tagore dreamt of. The classes are still held in the open under the shade of huge mango trees and students and tutors alike still travel by cycles to keep pollution at bay. The old buildings, even those that were made up of mud walls and thatched roofs, are still intact and find a place within the main campus. While some are preserved for historical value, others are functional in all aspects. While for tourists the place could only be place for sight-seeing, the studious and the academically-inclined can easily feel the scholastic vibrations. Many, especially the Bengalis, have deep reverence for the place and take the visit as a pilgrimage to pay their respects to Tagore. Almost every festival, be it the local ‘ Poush mela' or the more universal ‘Raksha Bandhan' or ‘Holi,' is celebrated in its originality by the students, locals and staff on the campus.

From a school for children that looked more like an ashram, the academic arena has grown in all directions to make it a most-sought-after university in the country. Each department or area of study is given the name of a ‘Bhavana' (building).

Vidya Bhavana (Institute of Humanities)

The institute offers both two-year PG and three-year bachelor degree programmes in history (ancient Indian history and world history), geography, comparative religion, philosophy, Indo-Tibetan study and mathematics.

This apart, it has a number of programmes related to language and literature such as Bengali, English, Hindi, Sanskrit and Oriya. There is also a four-year BA (Hons) programme for Chinese and Japanese languages.

The institute also offers two-year certificate course and one-year diploma course in languages such as Assamese, Oriya, Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Pali, Tamil, Santali, Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Russian and Tibetan. A two-year postgraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication is also taught.

Siksha Bhavana (Institute of Science)

The institute provides facilities for both teaching and research.

The Bhavana offers three-year B.Sc. (Hons) and two-year M.Sc. programmes in computer sciences, botany, chemistry, mathematics, physics, statistics, zoology, bio-technology and environment sciences. The institute also has a three-year MCA programme.

Kala Bhavana (Institute of Fine Arts)

Probably this institute is among the top-notch institutes that deal with visual art in the country. The four-year bachelor programme in painting, sculpture, design, graphic art and art history is the most sought after.

There are a number of other programmes such as diploma in painting after Std. X, two-year PG programme and two-year certificate course in design and one-year foreign casual student course in Indian art.

Set amidst tall eucalyptus trees and tranquil trappings, the institute provides everything that a fine art student looks for.

Sangit Bhavana (Institute of Music and Dance)

This institute focuses on the realms of music and dance. The courses vary from PG to undergraduate study and from diplomas to certificate courses. Almost all forms and styles of Indian music and dance are dealt with under one roof.

Vinaya Bhavana (Institute of Education)

Vinaya Bhavana deals with B.Ed. and M.Ed. courses and has an active research cell.

Palli-Siksha Bhavana (Institute of Agricultural Sciences)

The institute was established in 1963 and offers both two-year M.Sc. and four-year B.Sc. programmes in areas such as agronomy, plant protection, agriculture extension, soil science and agriculture chemistry and horticulture.

Palli Samgathana Vibhaga (Institute of Rural Reconstruction)

This institute was initiated by Tagore and it was very close to his heart, as he believed that young minds should be aware of rural socio-economic problems.

This institute has a Centre for Rural Studies, a Department of Social Work and a Centre for Rural Craft. While the rural studies and social work centres offer both PG and UG programmes, the centre for craft offers diploma and certificate courses in handloom, weaving, wood craft and pottery.

For more details of the institution, visit: >www.visva-bharati.ac.in.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 9:35:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/education/college-and-university/tagores-vision-of-an-institution/article2987625.ece

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