One of India’s foremost global citizens—Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore—has brought India and Bangladesh closer once more. Admired and eulogized on either side of the Indo-Bangla border, Tagore wrote the song Amar Sonar Bangla in 1905 during the first partition of Bengal. Its first ten lines currently constitute the national anthem of Bangladesh. The partition happened when the Bengal Presidency, thanks to an age-old British policy of divide and rule, split into two along communal lines. At that point it turned out to be a body blow to united Indian residence against British rule. The rest, of course, is history.
It was at the Visva Bharati University at Santiniketan that Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Sheika Hasina met while attending the convocation. They jointly inaugurated Bangladesh Bhavan, built with financial assistance from the Bangladesh Government. Mr Modi described it as a symbol of long-lasting cultural ties between India and Bangladesh. Both leaders paid homage to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, also the author of India’s national anthem Jana Gana Mana.
PM Modi said that Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore belongs as much to Bangladesh as he does to India. He was quick to point out that the shared resolve of India and Bangladesh against cruelty and terrorism will continue to inspire future generations through the Bangladesh Bhavan. He didn’t fail to mention that the last few years have marked a golden period in relations between the two countries. Indeed, in that direction, the Bhavan sets a landmark in relations. It will house a museum and other installations to showcase Rabindranath Tagore’s association with Bangladesh. It will feature the inspiring life and leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Father of the Nation in Bangladesh, and also father of PM Hasina. The Bhavan will also focus on the Liberation War, an epic event that led to the birth of Bangladesh and shaped its destiny.
H.E. Mr Syed Muazzem Ali, High Commissioner of Bangladesh, wrote an article just prior to PM Hasina’s arrival for the May 25 programme at Visva Bharati which we have carried as part of the cover story. He also talks about Kazi Nazrul Islam, the rebel poet, who is a national poet of Bangladesh. PM Hasina was conferred an honorary doctorate of literature by the Kazi Nazrul University at Asansol.
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