NEW DELHI || President Pranab Mukherjee received the first copies of books “Tagore’s Vision of the Contemporary World” and ‘Tagore and Russia” on Monday at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The President received the two books from Prof. Lokesh Chandra, President, ICCR who formally released them.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that he was happy to receive the first copies of these two books containing proceedings of seminars organized in 2011 by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). He complimented the ICCR on the initiative and for its support for Tagore Studies over the years. He urged ICCR to continue these exercises and to support Tagore scholars across the world in the coming days.
The President said Tagore travelled widely within India and abroad. Russia had a special place in Tagore’s heart. Tagore was attracted to the Soviet Union having heard of the success of its programmes of rural education. Tagore wrote “They are busy with three things. Education, agriculture and machinery. Along these three roads, the whole nation pursues the task of giving fullness of the mind, body and creative energy”.
The President said that the question of mass education was closely allied with the issue of co-operatives, a key ingredient of Rabindranath’s Sriniketan experiment at that point of time. Recollecting his efforts at Patisar and Bolpur, Rabindranath wrote “My object was to strengthen the peasant in self-reliance … agriculture will never improve unless land can be collectively cultivated by co-operative methods … when we had our cooperative organization at Bolpur under the management of the Visva-Bharati, I thought the opportunity had at last come”.
The President said that Tagore admitted that differences in cultures and customs need to be respected. Tagore said “Differences can never be wiped away, and life would be so much the poorer without them. Let all human races keep their own personalities, and yet come together, not in a uniformity that is dead, but in a unity that is living”.