Visva-Bharati teachers request PM Modi to act against V-C for plaque fiasco | Kolkata - Hindustan Times
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Visva-Bharati teachers request PM Modi to act against V-C for plaque fiasco

Oct 25, 2023 07:29 PM IST

The Visva-Bharati teachers said they sincerely believe that the PM’s office would not allow the content of the plaques without the name of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore

The Visva-Bharati University Faculty Association (VBUFA) on Wednesday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the institution’s chancellor, to act against vice chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty for the controversy over the plaques recently installed on campus to mark the inclusion of Santiniketan in the UNESCO World Heritage List in September.

The campus is witnessing a row since last week because the three plaques installed on the campus bear the names of the chancellor and the vice-chancellor but don’t mention Tagore. (Image posted on X by Jawhar Sircar)
The campus is witnessing a row since last week because the three plaques installed on the campus bear the names of the chancellor and the vice-chancellor but don’t mention Tagore. (Image posted on X by Jawhar Sircar)

The campus is witnessing a row since last week because the three plaques bear the names of the chancellor and the vice-chancellor but don’t mention Tagore. PM Modi has been mentioned as the acharya (chancellor). Santiniketan is a town in West Bengal’s Birbhum district where Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore ran his father’s school and, in 1921, set up Visva-Bharati, the state’s only central university.

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Chakrabarty has intentionally insulted Tagore and the Prime Minister, VBUFA alleged in the e-mail.

“We sincerely believe that no approval from your office has been taken for putting up such plaques without the name of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and that you would not allow the content of the plaques without the name of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore,” Kausik Bhattacharya, secretary, VBUFA, wrote in an e-mail to the Prime Minister on Wednesday.

The e-mail, a copy of which was seen by HT, was forwarded to the offices of the President and the West Bengal governor. A similar mail was sent to the Union ministry of education as well.

The mail said: “…..the common perception is that Prof. Bidyut Chakrabarty has done this after getting the direction / green signal from the Acharya, Hon’ble Naendra Modi. Accordingly, Mr. Jawahar Sircar, MP, Rajya Sabha, and Mr. Jairam Ramesh made two tweets which was directed against you. The entire episode reflects bad tastes and blatant self-adverstisment of Prof. Bidyut Chakrabarty and by setting up the plaques he has ridiculed and insulted the founder of Visva-Bharati, Rabindranath Tagore, and you.”

“In view of the above, we request your kind necessary action against Prof. Bidyut Chakrabarty for his wrongfully motivated misdeed,” the mail said.

The decision to include Santiniketan in the heritage list was taken by UNESCO at the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Saudi Arabia.

PM Modi welcomed the news in a social media post on September 17. He wrote: “Delighted that Santiniketan, an embodiment of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s vision and India’s rich cultural heritage, has been inscribed on the @UNESCO World Heritage List. This is a proud moment for all Indians.”

The plaques have prompted the Congress and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders to target PM Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“Erasure of Nehru wasn’t enough. Now, erasure of Rabindranath Tagore also begins,” Congress leader Jairam Ramesh wrote on his X handle on Monday.

Congress leader KC Venugopal wrote: “Rabindranath Tagore famously said - “Freedom from fear is the freedom I claim for you, my Motherland. Today, the chief peddler of fear, hate and division has now named himself “Acharya” at the great Shantiniketan, omitting Tagore altogether! Delusion knows no limits.”

“UNESCO specifically said they are honouring Rabindranath Tagore and his unique legacy by declaring Santiniketan as a World Heritage Site. — A megalomaniac VC and his boss seem to think UNESO is honouring them!!” Jawhar Sircar, TMC Rajya Sabha member, wrote on his X handle.

Visva-Bharati spokesperson Mahua Banerjee declined to comment on the e-mail the teachers wrote to the Prime Minister.

“These plaques have been put up temporarily. The permanent ones will be installed after we get the text of the content from UNESCO and the Archaeological Survey of India,” Banerjee told HT.

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