Coronavirus | Visva Bharati puts off Vasanta Utsav

Decision comes in the wake of letter from HRD Ministry advising against large gatherings

Updated - December 03, 2021 06:52 am IST

Published - March 07, 2020 11:04 am IST - Kolkata

File photo shows students of Visva Bharati University celebrate Basanta Utsav (festival of Spring).

File photo shows students of Visva Bharati University celebrate Basanta Utsav (festival of Spring).

Visva Bharati has decided to postpone Vasanta Utsav (Celebration of Spring) , a century-long tradition at the university that was set up by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

After several hours of meeting of the University’s executive council on Friday evening, the authorities at Santiniketan announced the decision to postpone the festival, which is held on the occasion of Holi.

The authorities said that they were left with no option after they received a letter from Ministry of Human Resource Development, which has advised universities not to have large gatherings on the campus. The authorities cited a letter from University Grants Commission secretary Rajnish Jain.

“We were keen on organising the festival this year. The State government was also willing to extend all its cooperation. The crowd this year was expected to be about five lakh. But this year Vasanta Utsav is not happening,” Sushovan Banerjee, the President’s nominee to the University’s executive council, said.

Mr. Banerjee said that the decision was in the interest of health of students to ensure that there was no spread of the virus. Over the past few days, elaborate rehearsals for the grand celebrations were also held. “The decision not to hold Vasanta Utsav will incur financial costs both to the University as well as the State government,” he said.

The authorities said that only after the virus spread was contained, the University will think of holding some alternative programme.

Vasanta Utsav is celebrated with immense fervour at Visva Bharati, with students of different departments dressed in traditional yellow observing a long musical dance in the morning on Tagore’s songs. Ashramites (elderly boarders) at the Visva Bharati campus said that they could not recall any other occasion when the festival, which is part of the heritage of the University, had been cancelled or postponed.

Also read: Coronavirus | India shares two SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences

Meanwhile, the Council of School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) has written to principals of all schools affiliated to the board to maintain necessary precautions for COVID-19.

Gerry Arathoon, chief executive and secretary of CISCE, which conducts the ISC and ICSE examinations, said that examination centres should make hand sanitisers, soap and water available to students where board examinations are on.

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