Scotland's first Chair in Tagore Studies

Last Updated 20 March 2013, 12:16 IST

A Scottish University has welcomed the country’s first Chair in Tagore Studies. Professor Indra Nath Choudhuri, former Member Secretary and Academic Director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, will promote the study of Tagore’s philosophy and works at The Scottish Centre for Tagore Studies (ScoTs) based at Edinburgh Napier University.

ScoTs, the first UK hub of its kind dedicated to the late poet celebrates Indian culture, education, art, and literature by highlighting Tagore’s legacy.

Professor Choudhuri said: “Edinburgh Napier is the only university in the world, besides Tagore’s own university, which has a Tagore centre and which India recognises. It shows how much Scots are keen to the organic unity of minds, lives, and cultures which is the ultimate aim of education.

Tagore said that “education is not to gather knowledge but to create drive for knowledge”, and ScoTs will ultimately create that kind of a drive for the broadening of the horizon of knowledge.

Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-white Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1913 and wrote thousands of poems, songs, novels and short stories before his death in 1941.

He had strong links to Scotland, holding a firm friendship with pioneering town planner Sir Patrick Geddes and Tagore’s grandfather, entrepreneur Prince Dwarkanath, was also honoured with the Freedom of the City award by Edinburgh in 1845.

ScoTs was officially established within Edinburgh Napier’s Institute of Creative Industries last year, 150 years after Tagore’s birth, following an agreement with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). The ICCR is also funding two PhD fellowships dedicated to researching the works of the influential writer.

Professor Dame Joan Stringer, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, said: "It is a great honour to welcome Professor Choudhuri to the University. The works of Rabindranath Tagore have an eternal appeal and we are proud to be able to celebrate his vision and influence by establishing Scotland’s first centre for Tagore studies.”
Professor Choudhuri will promote the study of Tagore’s philosophy of poetry in comparison with some of the great minds of world poetry, like W.B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, T.S.Eliot, William Blake and others, his humanistic universalism, and his discourse on civilization and dialogue between cultures.

(Published 20 March 2013, 12:16 IST)

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