Lithuania’s tryst with Tagore

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Jan 19, 2015 11:34 IST

Sunday saw a unique photo exhibition exploring Lithuania’s obsession with Tagore.

Titled ‘6262’ denoting the exact distance in kilometres between Santiniketan – Tagore’s abode – and Lithuania, the one-day photography exhibition “6262” Impressions from Lithuania was inaugurated on Sunday at Jhal Farezi restaurant by the Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania Laimonas Talat Kelpsa and Madhu Neotia.

With the compilation of 30-odd photographs, the incredible exhibition unraveled for the first time ever the remarkable story of Rabindranath Tagore’s profound impact on Lithuania’s struggle for freedom and several such cultural impacts of India on Lithuania. The collection of photographs was based on the adventurous journey undertaken by Kounteya Sinha over six days by road covering 1,110 kilometres in Lithuania. The exhibition also documented a fascinating and unknown country and its daily life. Very little has been known about the link, if any, between these two distant countries. Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, one of the three Baltic republics that became the first Soviet Republic in 1990.

It is a member of the European Union.

It is widely acknowledged that there is a close similarity between Lithuanian and Sanskrit languages, Lithuanian being the Indo-European language grammatically closest to Sanskrit, signifying possible close ancient links.

Interestingly, on November 28 2014, President Pranab Mukherjee and Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi presided over the convocation ceremony of Calcutta University. During the event, they handed a posthumous D Litt to Lithuanian traveler and anthropologist Antanas Poska who undertook an amazing journey to India on a motorbike all the way from Vilnius in 1929. Poska’s daughter came to Kolkata to receive the D Litt from the governor of West Bengal.

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