India launches Tagore 150th anniversary events
Monday 09 May 2011
India began celebrations on Saturday to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of iconic poet and playwright Rabindranath Tagore, the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize for literature.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched the festivities for the poet who won the Nobel in 1913 and who is revered by the world's 250 million Bengali speakers in India and neighbouring Bangladesh.
The events, planned over one year, aim to stir new interest among a wider audience in the Bengali writer's novels, music, plays, poems and paintings, the government said.
"A number of commemoration events have (also) been planned abroad, particularly in countries with which Tagore had some association," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at a function in New Delhi.
Tagore, who established an open-air university in India's West Bengal state, also penned the national anthems of both Bangladesh and India. He produced some 50 volumes of poetry including his acclaimed Gitanjali (Song Offerings).
Singh, addressing diplomats and fans from India and Bangladesh, announced an award in the name of the poet, who was part of a national campaign for India's independence from British colonial rule, which was granted in 1947.
"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 Tagore stood for," Singh said.
The award will "recognise his very distinguished contributions towards the promotion of international brotherhood and fraternity", Singh said.
Tagore, who was born in Kolkata and spent time in what is now Bangladesh, renounced his British knighthood in protest over a massacre of hundreds of civilians by British-led troops in India's Jallianwala town in 1919.
The prime minister thanked his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, for jointly hosting the year-long celebrations.
He also released a digital collection of some of the poet's paintings which were put up in an exhibition in New Delhi.
The exhibition forms part of a broader joint series of events to mark the anniversary, which was launched on Friday in Dhaka by Indian Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari and Sheikh Hasina.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Matt Smith is set to join cast of Jane Austen classic - with a twist
Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas
Dramatic GoPro video shows backpacker Alexander Hennessy warding off armed robber in Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Best Place To Be Today shows 365 of the world's most amazing places - and the perfect time to visit them
Watch a man race the Circle line - and win
The 10 Best hiking boots
Pakistani passenger power forces two politicians off plane
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 'Necrophilia-obsessed' girl among double murder accused in three-way sex case
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
£18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...
Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...
£20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...
£15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...