SHANTINIKETAN (Abode of Peace) Visva-Bharati and Scottish Connection


In UK a huge bust of TAGORE was erected at Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespear’s birth place in May 2014…reports Dilip Roy

The Poet Laureate Rabindranath Tagore  who came from a very wealthy family of Bengal and during his life time has travelled length and breadth of world lecturing on Indian philosophy at the same time gathering knowledge of other countries specially on subjects like arts and culture.  Among his world sojourn he was very much inspired and influenced by Scottish folk songs which he has interpreted in his mother tongue Bengali. The most significant name is that of an 18th century Scottish poet called ROBERT BURNS (1759-1796) Burns is regarded as the national poet of Scotland and Tagore greatly admired Burns poetry for him it was like the meeting of minds.

A Scottish centre  of Tagore studies (ScoTs) was established under the auspices of Edinburg university in May 2012 to promote (Indian culture, education, philosophy and literature as Tagore’s legacy) the first of its kind in the United Kingdom. Tagore also forged friendship with Scottish intellectual called Sir PATRICK GEDDES (1854-1932) a polymath but most of all he was known as a scientist and an architect who spent a lot of time in India planning some fifty cities has also lectured in Indian universities. Geddes had long studied Indian philosophy, arts and architecture of India. Hence, it was natural that he was deeply impressed by the vision it offered for India and the world. Tagore invited Geddes to provide to provide the plans for his International university, Visva-Bharati at Shantiniketan.

Shantiniketan: New Indian site on the UNESCO World Heritage List

SHANTINIKETAN (Abode of Peace) West Bengal has been inscribed on UNESCO list of World Heritage Site during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee 2023. Shantiniketan is India’s 41st UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an ensemble of historic buildings, landscapes and gardens, pavilions, artworks, and continuing educational and cultural traditions that together express its Outstanding Universal Values.

Established in rural West Bengal in 1901 by the renowned poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore, Shantiniketan was a residential school and centre for art based on ancient Indian traditions and on a vision of the unity of humanity transcending religious and cultural boundaries. Shantiniketan is an embodiment of Rabindranath Tagore’s vision and philosophy using a combination of education, appreciation of nature, music and the arts. It represents the purification of Rabindranath Tagore’s greatest works and the continuing legacy of his model of education that reinterpreted ancient Vedic philosophical traditions. Shantiniketan exhibits the crystallization of the ideas of Rabindranath Tagore and the pioneers of the Bengal School of Art. Shantiniketan is therefore an outstanding example of an enclave of intellectuals, educators, artists  who collaborated with Asian modernity based upon ancient, medieval and folk traditions of India.

In UK a huge bust of TAGORE was erected at Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespear’s birth place in May 2014.

(Dilip Roy is a researcher on cultural subjects and a Fellow of Royal Asiatic Society UK) 

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