Bangladesh celebrated the 149th birth anniversary of Nobel laureate and poet Rabindranath Tagore on Saturday, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina describing him as a source of inspiration for all movements in the country.
Hasina opening the main official programme at a city hall recalled his contribution towards reshaping the Bengali literature and the nation's cultural life and values.
Hasina in another statement called Tagore a "lighthouse" for the Bengalis as he wandered in their hearts and said "he was a source of inspiration in all movements, struggles, revolutions, thoughts and creativity of the Bengali nation."
Cultural groups including the apex Sammilita Sangskritik Jote organized colourful street marches and concerts in open air and inside auditoriums across Bangladesh as leading artistes rendered Rabindra Sangit, which the poet himself expected him to keep alive to the posterity, though he earned the credit of being Asia's first Nobel Laureate for his poetry in 1913.
Special Television programmes including talk shows and newspaper supplements, however, paid rich tributes to the poet, the composer of the national anthems of both India and Bangladesh, reviewing his greatness also as a playwright, novelist, short story writer, artist, educationists, social reformer, nationalist and business manager.
"Our bonds with Rabindranath are getting closer with the passage of time as his literature has become a source of inspiration and courage for us during the days of our crisis or debacle," President Zillur Rahman said in a statement to mark his birth anniversary.
Her arch-rival main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Khaleda Zia also issued a statement paying her rich tributes to the memories of Tagore.
As part of the national celebrations, the state-run apex Bangla Academy and Shilpakala Academy will organise programmes based on various creative works of the great poet while various programmes at Shilaidah in western Kushtia, Patisar in northwestern Naogaon and Dakkhindihi in Phultola upazila of southwestern Khulna ---the three districts that harbour the memories of Tagore were underway to mark the day.
Bangla Academy this year confers veteran Bangladeshi Rabindra Sangeet exponents Kalim Sharafi and Sanjida Khatun with Rabindra Awards.
Octogenarian Sharafi received the award for his contribution in promoting and preserving Rabindra Sangeet, while Professor Khatun received it for her research on Tagore songs.