New Delhi, May 10: Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore has found yet another permanent roosting perch in Europe. A centre dedicated to the life and works of Tagore, described in Britain as India’s ‘Robert Burns and the Bengali Shakespeare’, has been opened in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The Scottish Centre for Tagore Studies centre (ScoTs) will promote Indian culture, education, philosophy, art and literature by highlighting Tagore’s legacy.
It is the first-of-its kind UK university centre dedicated to the writer to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth, said the Edinburgh Napier University’s Institute of Creative Industries in a statement. The Tagore centre is located at the institute.
The creation of the centre follows an agreement with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), which will bring Indra Nath Choudhuri, academic director of the Indira Gandhi Institute, to the university as Scotland’s first chair in Tagore Studies.
The ICCR is also funding two PhD fellowships dedicated to researching the works of the influential bard.
At a three-day event in the Scottish capital, delegates including the High Commissioner of Bangladesh joined Tagore scholars from across the world to celebrate the official launch of ScoTs May 7.
Rabindranath Tagore had strong links to Scotland, mainly through his friendship with Sir Patrick Geddes, who designed Tagore’s International University, Visva-Bharati at Santiniketan.
Tagore’s grandfather, entrepreneur Prince Dwarkanath, was also honoured with the Freedom of the City award by the Edinburgh administration in 1845.
Edinburgh Napier has the second largest Indian student population in any Scottish university.
Bashabi Fraser, lecturer in literature and creative writing at the university, said: ‘ScoTs will celebrate the life, teachings and vision of Rabrindranath Tagore, whose spirit continues to inspire’.
‘The centre is ideally placed to promote cultural connections between Scotland and India and will highlight Tagore’s importance to a new audience,’ Fraser said.
‘By working alongside other European organisations and cultural bodies we’ll be able to spread Tagore’s influence and attract research interest from far and wide,’ the lecturer added.
Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture and external affairs in the Scottish government said: ‘Rabrindranath Tagore was India’s greatest artist, musician and poet and had many close ties to Scotland. ScoTs will celebrate these connections and Tagore’s legacy, deepening the relationship between our two countries.’