New Delhi, (IANS) Reiterating their commitment to the theme of universal harmony and friendship of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, India and Bangladesh Monday pledged to use the goodwill generated by the joint commemoration of the poet’s 150th birth anniversary to expand cooperation in areas of mutual interest.
Bringing down the curtain on the year-long celebrations of the bard’s birth anniversary, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni who was guest of honour at the event, said the joint tribute to Tagore “is our bold reiteration of his universal relevance as a renaissance man”.
The celebrations, which had begun simultaneously in Bangladesh and India last year in May, were formally closed by Vice President Hamid Ansari in the capital a day after it ended in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka.
Addressing the gathering of government guests, a delegation from Bangladesh, scholars and cultural personas, Vice President Ansari said it was indeed of enduring significance that the governments and peoples of Bangladesh and India have chosen such an occasion to renew their bonds of friendship and reaffirm their commitment to “the shared cultural heritage and intellectual ethos”.
He said Tagore had established institutions to reflect “his vision and through his travels, writings and actions, he had demonstrated that the international brotherhood of man was not merely a theoretical construct”.
A joint communique was issued highlighting the importance of joint Indo-Bangla celebrations to mark the poet’s birth anniversary.
The closing ceremony Monday began with a musical tribute to the bard.
Three evocative songs written by the poet in three different socio-political contexts – “Sarthoko Janama Amar (I am glad to be born in in Bengal)” composed in 1905 during the Bango Bhango Andolan, “Jagate Anondo Jogye Amar Nimantran (I am invited to the global Party of joy) scripted in 1919 at Silaidaho (Sildah) in Bangladesh and “Purano Shei Diner Katha”, a transcreation of the Scottish ballad Auld Lang Syn in Hindi – were sung by Indian and Bangladeshi vocalists.
Echoing the mood of the song, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said she wished to get the perspective of her visit right. She said it was her privilege and duty to be present in India at the closing ceremony because Bangladesh comprised considerable part of delta land and seas arising out of Bay of Bengal – natural legacies that it shared with India.
“The last year has seen us engage jointly and put together a programme to celebrate the heritage of Tagore. The decision to celebrate the anniversary jointly saw an appreciation and interest in the programmes on either side. Tagore has shaped sense and sensibilities,” the foreign minister of Bangladesh said.
“In 2013, we will celebrate 100 years of his Nobel prize for Gitanjali,” she said.
Echoing the spirit the cooperation, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the chairman of the National Implementation Committee for Tagore’s anniversary celebrations, said the celebrations organised with the whole-hearted cooperation of Bangladesh have intensified people-to-people contact between the two nations.
“I had the privilege of attending the closing ceremony in Bangladesh with Sheikh Hasina… I hope the goodwill generated can be used to build on and expand areas of interests between the two nations,” he said. Mukherjee said the government has sanctioned Rs.150 crore to Viswa Bharati to restore the institution to its former glory.
Union Culture Minister Kumari Selja said the joint commemoration has strengthened the bilateral exchange between the two countries.