Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday pitched for the revival of Shanti Niketan, the abode of Rabindranath Tagore, and asked the committee for commemoration of the Nobel Laureate's 150th anniversary to see how the historic institution can be restored to its original glory.
Singh also said the government should use the occasion to create cultural institutions and structures that honour the memory of the great poet, and which have lasting value.
Noting that Tagore travelled to the farthest corners of the globe and is remembered with reverence and affection in many countries, Singh said embassies in different countries should be involved to rekindle interest in Tagore and to build on these historic cultural links.
Singh made the remarks at the first meeting of the National Committee for Commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore.
"We need to pay special attention to the university of his dreams, the Visva Bharati. The High Level Committee under the leadership of Gopalkrishna Gandhi had made several suggestions. Government of India has released funds for the implementation of the recommendations.
"But we should go further and I would like the Committee to use its knowledge and experience to see how we can revive this historic institution and restore it to its former glory," he said.
Singh said the tribute to Tagore on his 150th birth anniversary should reflect his complex and multi-layered personality and the different strands of his cultural genius.
"We should use the occasion to create cultural institutions and structures that honour the memory of the great poet, and which have lasting value," Singh said at the meeting attended by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and several academicians, intellectuals and ministers.
Jawaharlal Nehru and Education Minister Humayun Kabir had started a programme of building auditoria and cultural complexes that were named as Rabindra Rangashala, Rabindra Bhavan, Rabindra Manch, Tagore Centre and so on. In the 1960s and later in the 1970s, these were among the first visible cultural spaces of independent India, he said.
Singh said he is of the view that the Implementation Committee under Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is considering the upgrading of some of the older auditoria that were set up as part of the Tagore Centenary Celebrations.
"The Committee would also look into the possibility of establishing new auditoria in cities where there is a genuine need for such complexes," Singh said.
"We should ensure that these auditoriums and bhavans are aesthetically designed spaces and are worthy of being named after the great cultural icon that Tagore is. So, it would perhaps be a good idea to invite designs for these buildings through open national level competitions," he said.