Govt institutes global award in Tagore's name

An announcement to this effect was made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the inaugural function of the 150th anniversary commemorations of Tagore, organised by the Union Culture Ministry here on Saturday.

A jury headed by the prime minister will select each year a citizen of the world of outstanding public eminence who in his or her life and work epitomises the high universal ideals that Rabindranath Tagore stood for.

“We hope to present the first award by the end of this commemoration period,”  the prime minister said while addressing the function.

The Planning Minister of Bangladesh, Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) A K Khandker,  was the chief guest at the function which was attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, Culture Minister Kumari Selja and chief ministers of many states among others.

The year-long joint Indo-Bangla commemoration was announced by the two countries in the Joint Communique of January 2010 at the end of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India.

The prime minister said that commemoration events planned over the next one year are intended to rekindle interest in Tagore’s thoughts and teachings “as much as in his verses, his paintings and his music.”

“In commemorating Gurudev’s birth anniversary, I hope that we can inspire each one of us to a moment of quiet reflection of his ideals and an urge to rise above the desert sands of dreary habit, in the immortal words of the poet,” he said.

Singh said a lot of work was needed to be done to restore Visva Bharati, which was founded by Tagore in West Bengal as an international university, to its former glory and for it to live up to the true ideals of its founder.

“In this 150th birth anniversary year of Gurudev, I can think of no more important task than the revival of Viswa Bharati. As the Chancellor of the University, I am personally committed to this important task. My government is putting a lot of resources into the Central university,” he added.

Addressing the function, Bangladesh Minister referred to Tagore's message of peace and harmony and said, “We in Bangladesh firmly believe that for our region to develop and achieve peace, prosperity and stability, it must be free from the scourge of terrorism and extremism.”

He assured India that Bangladesh’s territory would not be allowed to be used by “elements working against the interests of any country”.

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