Meghalaya, Tripura relive Tagore link

Bard’s life-size statue unveiled

Shillong, May 10 : Tagore Utsav, part of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Rabindranath Tagore ended today with Union minister of state for water resources Vincent Pala unveiling a life-size statute of the bard at Brookside Compound in Rilbong here.

The four-day Tagore Utsav which began on May 6 showcased dances and other art forms from the Northeast based on works of Tagore.

Workshops, seminars and lectures on Tagore’s life and literary works were also part of the Utsav.

Eminent exponents of Tagore’s songs and dramas from Calcutta and the Northeast performed on the occasion.

Tagore visited Shillong on three occasions. He stayed at Brookside in Rilbong in 1919 in an Assam-type building which was subsequently taken over by the Meghalaya art and culture department.

The building at Brookside christened Rabindranath Tagore Art Gallery is still preserved by the department.

The government chose Brookside as the venue for organising Tagore Utsav and building a life-size statue of the bard.

During his stay at Jeet Bhoomi in Rilbong in 1923, Tagore wrote the drama Raktakarabi (Red Oleanders) and a poem Shillong Er Chithi (Letters from Shillong).

The third visit of Tagore was in 1938. During the visit, he put up at Sidli House on Upland Road, Laitumkhrah, that once belonged to Maharani Manjula Devi. After Pala’s sister bought Sidli House last year, the old structure was razed to the ground to pave way for a new building.

Pala today told reporters that a memorial plaque and a bust of Tagore would be installed after the construction of the new house at Laitumkhrah to pay respects to the poet.

Pala also asked the state government to avail funds from the Centre as it had proposed to set up as many as 50 multi-cultural centres in various states.

He said the Centre would fast track 60 per cent of the project cost for the construction of Tagore Cultural Complexes in many parts of the country and wanted the state government to make project proposals in this regard.

The deputy chief minister in-charge art and culture, Bindo Lanong, asked the people to emulate the values reflected in Tagore’s works to excel in life.