West Bengal Governor seeks report from Visva-Bharati on new plaque with Tagore’s name

A week after Bidyut Chakraborty retired as the Vice-Chancellor on November 8, the ministry of education directed the university to remove the plaques.

Visva-Bharati was included on the UNESCO World Heritage list in September. (Image: Official website)Visva-Bharati was included on the UNESCO World Heritage list in September. (Image: Official website)

Press Trust of India | November 18, 2023 | 11:08 AM IST

KOLKATA: West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose, who is also the Rector of the Visva-Bharati, on Friday sought a report from the university on installing new plaques with founder Rabindranath Tagore’s name on it, as directed by the Centre. Bose also decided to rename the North Gate of Raj Bhavan as 'Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore Gate’.

A controversy was created after plaques announcing that Santiniketan was a UNESCO World Heritage Site were installed last month. The plaques bear the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ex-officio Chancellor, and Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty, but not that of Rabindranath Tagore who had founded the university in 1921, leading to demands for removing them from various quarters.

A week after Chakraborty retired as the Vice-Chancellor on November 8, the Ministry of Education directed the university to remove the plaques and replace them with ones having the Nobel laureate poet’s name. "The Governor in in his capacity as the Rector of Visva-Bharati called for a report from the university's officiating vice chancellor on the proposed action to pay befitting homage to Rabindranath Tagore on the new plaque," the official said.

Also read | Visva Bharati University: A great institution in chaos

"The Governor has decided to rename its North Gate as Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore Gate," he added. Raj Bhavan here has been granted the status of national heritage. Santiniketan, where Tagore built Visva-Bharati over a century ago, was included on the UNESCO World Heritage list in September.

The controversial plaques were then set up at several places on the sprawling Santiniketan campus of the university. The omission of Tagore's name led to a row between the state government and the university authorities following which Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanded immediate replacement of the plaques.

The ruling Trinamool Congress also held demonstrations outside the varsity demanding removal of the plaques. On November 16, the central government asked Visva-Bharati to replace the plaques. The Ministry of Education also sent a text in English and Hindi for the new plaques with Tagore's name. The University has formed a six-member panel to prepare the text in Bengali.

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