Rabindranath Tagore, the pioneer of Indian Literature, is one of the greatest literary sensations that the world has ever witnessed. Proficient in extraordinary creations of sensational poems, songs with powerful verses, short stories, novels, and even essays, he was the epitome of multi-talent and intelligence. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for “Gitanjali”, an amazing collection of poems and his profound influence on both Indian and Western literature.
Today on 8th May 2020 (known as “Pochishe Baishakh” or “Rabindra Jayanti” in the colloquial Bengali language, his mother tongue) we celebrate his 159th birth anniversary. I take this opportunity to offer my dedication and respect to the phenomenal and epic figure of India. Every Indian remembers him when they sing proudly the national anthem of India. Yes, he is the writer of the Indian National Anthem – “Jana Gana Mana, Adhinayaka Jaya Hai, Bharata Bhagya Vidhata” (Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people, Dispenser of India’s destiny).
I proudly present a short virtual tour of Visva Bharati University, a prestigious institution founded by Guru Rabindranath Tagore. The name Visva Bharati is significant, imparting the pious feeling of unity between India and the entire world. Tagore had a dream of transforming the rigid Indian educational system into an open-air education, where he desired to allow the children to bloom amid fresh air and the marvelous beauty of Mother Nature. He also believed that not all students are equally intelligent, but all deserved the care and attention of a teacher. Both student and the teacher need to unearth the potential in each individual and nurture it to its brilliance. This was his vision of transforming the world into a magma full of geniuses in various genres. With this vision in mind, he opened the doors of Visva Bharati University to eager and aspiring students.
The institute attained the stature of a university in the year 1951, fulfilling its dream of Tagore. The beauty of the educational system is till date, the authorities still follow the open-air education though in the miniature state, keeping in mind the guidance provided by Tagore years back. Huge mango trees at the campus represent the age-old tradition of the academic journey portrayed by Tagore. The University is situated at Santiniketan in the district of Birbhum in West Bengal, India (Eastern part of India).
The Various Departments and Institutes of the University
In addition to his literary works, Tagore had a special fascination in drawing sketches and even paintings. After he travelled to his heavenly abode in July 1942, the University inaugurated Rabindra Bhavana. The institute was specially constructed to host Tagore’s drawings, manuscripts and a museum with audio-visual units. Every year, hundreds of visitors come to the museum to scan through Tagore’s amazing creations.
In April 1937, under the supervision of Tagore, the Cheena Bhavana was established within the university campus. The objective behind establishing the university is to promote the teachings, philosophy and culture of the Chinese language and that of Buddhism.
Two years later on 31st January 1939, the Hindi Bhavan was inaugurated by the First Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. It was another dream of Tagore to preach the rich culture of Hinduism among the people.
The spree and desire of Tagore to expand the knowledge base of students across different cultures spanning different countries continued even after he left the material world. The Nippon Bhavana was inaugurated in 3rd February 1994 to start teaching Japanese language, culture and the famous literary works. A library with its wide array of books is one of the best parts of the Bhavana. It has a research centre to encourage studies on the rich Japanese literature and the academic heritage of the country.
A 450-seat huge auditorium with a museum and library was inaugurated on 25th May 2018 and was named the Bangladesh Bhavana. It was a special tribute to establishing the literary bond between India and Bangladesh. To mention, Tagore is also the creator of the national anthem of Bangladesh.
There are several other Bhavanas and institutes housed inside the Visva Bharati University – Sangit Bhavana, Kala Bhavana, Siksha Bhavana, Vidya Bhavana, Bhasa Bhavana, Palli Siksha Bhavana, Centre for Modern European Languages and the Palli Samgathana Vibhaga.
The schools affiliated with the Visva Bharati University are also significant in continuing with the rich cultural and historical heritage laid forth by Tagore – Patha Bhavana, Siksha Satra, Uttar Shiksha Sadana, Mrinalini Ananda Pathshala, and Santosh Pathshala.
Cultural Life at Visva Bharati University
Every year the university campus beams with activities celebrating different cultural festivals and fairs. Basanta Utsav, the festival held during the spring season, is celebrated with great vigor and enthusiasm inside the University premises on the grounds of Patha Bhavana. Music, dance, poem recitals, and elaborate decorations adorn the entire campus. Students, teachers, professors, esteemed guests, and tourists from different parts of the country and abroad enliven their spirits with the jovial atmosphere.
The other notable celebration at the Visva Bharati University campus is the Poush Mela or the Winter Fair. Every year the fair is held in December. The basic objective of hosting the fair is to promote the handicraft items, crafts, and artwork of the local and tribal people of Birbhum. Fireworks and lights enlighten the fair grounds, alluring thousands of visitors to participate in the lively winter fair.
The University also hosts a library, significant in housing several rare and old manuscripts, books, research, literary works, and reports. The library is huge with a central library, 12 sectional libraries, and 30 seminar libraries. There are also 2 guest houses present on the campus.
Hope you enjoyed the tour of the famous Visva Bharati University. If you have plans to visit India, then do not miss this prestigious academic institution from your bucket list.
A travel enthusiast craving to explore the exotic destinations in the world, deciphering the mysteries and the thrill concealed in them.