Row over Tagore’s name missing on Santiniketan’s Unesco tag plaques | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Row over Tagore’s name missing on Santiniketan’s Unesco tag plaques

By, Kolkata
Oct 22, 2023 04:13 AM IST

Santiniketan town, where Tagore built Visva-Bharati over a century ago, was included in the Unesco’s world heritage list in September

Visva-Bharati university has installed three plaques describing Santiniketan as a Unesco world heritage site that feature the names of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty, but omits the name of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, founder of the institution.

The plaques have named PM Narendra Modi, who is chancellor of West Bengal’s only central university, and V-C Bidyut Chakrabarty (HT)
The plaques have named PM Narendra Modi, who is chancellor of West Bengal’s only central university, and V-C Bidyut Chakrabarty (HT)

Santiniketan town, where Tagore built Visva-Bharati over a century ago, was included in the Unesco’s world heritage list in September.

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The plaques have named Modi, who is chancellor of West Bengal’s only central university, and Chakrabarty, the vice chancellor.

“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 UNESCO is honouring them!!” Jawhar Sircar, Rajya Sabha MP of Trinamool Congress and a former bureaucrat, posted on X (formerly Twitter). Sircar also uploaded a photo of one of the plaques.

READ | Rabindranath Tagore's Santiniketan to be on UNESCO's World Heritage List

At least three such plaques have been installed at Visva-Bharati, which don’t have the name of Tagore, university authorities confirmed. Chakrabarty refused to take calls.

“Three plaques have been installed. The names of the chancellor and the vice-chancellor have been inscribed on them,” university spokesperson Mahua Banerjee said. She declined to comment on the controversy.

Tagore’s great grandson Supriyo Thakur also expressed his displeasure. “I am not in Santiniketan at the moment but I have heard the news. The present authorities are trying to wipe out the name of Tagore from Visva-Bharati,” Thakur said over phone. “There should be some protest. Those who have done it should be taught a lesson.”

READ | Santiniketan on UNESCO list: BJP lauds PM Modi, TMC credits Mamata Banerjee

“Just like the sun need not be identified, the relation between Tagore and Visva-Bharati need not be announced. Some people are raising irrelevant questions. There are some people whose only purpose is to oppose. Their statements have no acceptability,” Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman Samik Bhattacharya said, responding to Sircar’s comment on social media.

India was striving for long to get a Unesco tag for this cultural site in Birbhum district. The decision to include Santiniketan in the list was taken at the 45th session of the world heritage committee held in Saudi Arabia.

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