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Gandhi-Tagore relationship a glorious chapter in history of modern India: Kovind

Ramnath Kovind. File

Ramnath Kovind. File  

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The President recalled how Tagore addressed Gandhiji as ‘Mahatma’ during his visit to Visva-Bharati and how Tagore visited the Sabarmati Ashram in January 1930 to discuss with Gandhiji the future of the Freedom struggle.

President Ramnath Kovind on Monday reflected on the relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore, their differences and heartfelt admiration to each other, and asserted that their relationship was a glorious chapter in the history of modern India

“Being original thinkers, they disagreed on countless issues – the ideas of India, the varieties of nationalisms, the methods of politics and so on. In their frequent debates, however, they were not only civil to each other, but full of heartfelt admiration for each other. That is why, these debates generated not heat but light, illuminating the facets of our national existence,” he said while delivering the convocation address at the Visva-Bharati University.

Mr. Kovind described Visva-Bharati as “the realisation of Gurudev’s vision of India in dialogue with the world”, and noted that Tagore was “too great to be inhibited by man-made barriers of gender, caste, community or race.”

“Open air for open minds. He wanted to remove walls, literally and metaphorically, when the world was raising walls,” he said. And for the Mahatma, “right education was the key to national regeneration”.

The President recalled how Tagore addressed Gandhiji as ‘Mahatma’ during his visit to Visva-Bharati and how Tagore visited the Sabarmati Ashram in January 1930 to discuss with Gandhiji the future of the Freedom struggle. Mr. Kovind sought to draw similarities between the ashram life of Santiniketan and the Pheonix ashram, which Gandhiji had set up in South Africa. It was at Santiniketan, Gandhiji found youngsters devoted to the national cause like ‘Kakasaheb’ Kalelkar and ‘Acharya’ Kripalani.

“ Not surprisingly, when Gandhiji founded a national university in Ahmedabad, the Gujarat Vidyapeeth, the two persons he most relied upon were originally Santiniketan dwellers, Kakasaheb and Kripalaniji,” Mr. Kovind said.

Funds raised by Gandhiji

The President also pointed out that when Santiniketan was in dire need of funds in 1935, Gurudev turned to Gandhiji and the Mahatma promised to strain every nerve to find the required money and managed to send a draft for Rs. 60,000,” he said.

In an age which defined machine and wealth as benchmark of progress for societies, Visva-Bharati had “emerged as a unique blend of tradition and modernity,” he said.

Mr. Kovind cautioned the students that problems arose when concerns for human well-being are relegated to the background, and when the machine was allowed to gain predominance. While changes for the good of humanity were always welcome, “caution has to be exercised in weeding out mindless measures that may threaten to swamp that basic concern in the name of progress,” he said.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 8:08:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gandhi-tagore-relationship-a-glorious-chapter-in-history-of-modern-india-kovind/article29946240.ece

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