Opposition slams Visva Bharati for excluding Tagore in UNESCO recognition plaquestext_fields
Kolkatta: West Bengal's Visva Bharati University finds itself embroiled in controversy as opposition leaders criticize the installation of plaques commemorating the inclusion of Santiniketan in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The three plaques, meant to celebrate this prestigious recognition, have come under fire for omitting the name of the university's founder, Rabindranath Tagore.
The plaques, positioned within the university premises, feature the names of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty, with designations "Acharya" (chancellor) and "Upacharya" (vice-chancellor) respectively.
Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member Jawhar Sircar took to social media, alleging that both Modi and Chakrabarty were unduly claiming credit for the UNESCO recognition, sparking a wave of criticism from various political circles.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Thomas Isaac echoed concerns over the exclusion of Tagore's name, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging the university's visionary founder. Dr. Shama Mohamed, spokesperson of the All India Congress Committee, decried the plaques as not just an insult to Tagore but to all Indians.
The controversy stems from the perceived lack of recognition of Santiniketan's historical significance and its direct association with Tagore's life, works, and vision. The government's nomination dossier for the UNESCO World Heritage List had emphasized Santiniketan's role as an avant-garde enclave fostering internationalism, humanism, and a unique pan-Asian modernism.
Former Visva Bharati officiating vice-chancellor Sabujkali Basu clarified that the UNESCO honour extends to the entire area of Santiniketan, rather than exclusively to the central university.
However, the omission of Tagore's name continues to fuel discontent, with critics viewing it as a disregard for the profound influence of the Nobel laureate in shaping the cultural and educational landscape of Santiniketan.