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Days After TMC’s ‘Outsiders in Bengal’ Jab, Modi Reminds People About Tagore’s Gujarat Connection

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Modi said that it is only through brotherhood and living together like a family that the country can take Tagore’s vision further.

Kolkata: Days after the Trinamool Congress took an indirect jibe at the BJP ahead of polls and claimed that will not allow West Bengal to become Gujarat by the ‘outsiders’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday reminded people about the mantra of ‘unity in diversity’ and how Rabindranath Tagore was connected with Gujarat.

Addressing the centenary celebrations of Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan through a video conference, Modi, said, “Whenever I speak about Rabindranath Tagore, I cannot not stop myself from sharing again about his Gujarat connection. Last time also I mentioned it when I visited Visva Bharati. Today, once again, I would like to remind all of us about Gurudev (Rabindranath Tagore) and Gujarat’s ‘aatmeeyata’ (affinity). We should remember this again and again because it teaches about ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’”.

“It shows that despite different languages, dialect, food and clothes, our country is so well connected. It shows that despite our different cultures, we are united with each other. It teaches us brotherhood,” he added.

“Gurudev’s elder brother Satyendranath Tagore was posted in Ahmedabad as an Indian Civil Service (ICS) officer. Then, Rabindranath Tagore used to visit Gujarat frequently and he spent a long time in Gujarat. During his stay, he wrote two popular Bangla poems, including ‘Bandi O Amar’ and ‘Nelav Rajni Dekho’. He also wrote a part of his famous play ‘Kshudista Pashan’ in Gujarat,” he said.

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The Prime Minister said, “Not only this, ‘a daughter of Gujarat’, also became the daughter-in-law in Tagore’s family.”

Modi said an aspect of Satyendranath Tagore’s wife Jnanadanandini Devi also connects Gujarat with Bangal and the women development department should do a little bit of research on it. “When Jnanadanandini Devi ji was in Gujarat, she noticed that local women kept their ‘pallu’ (decorated end of a saree) on their right shoulder as a result of which it was difficult to work comfortably. It is believed that it was on Jnanadanandini Devi’s advice that local women in Gujarat started resting their ‘pallu’ on their left shoulder so that their right hand remained free. I think the Women Development department should do some research on it.”

It is only through brotherhood and living together like a family, the PM said, that the country can take Tagore’s vision further. “Our country is spreading the message emanating from Visva Bharati to the whole world. Today, we all must remember the circumstances which led to the establishment of this university. It was not just because of the British rule but in the background, it was our rich ideas and history of hundreds of years of movement. It was Gurudev’s Visva-Bharati which gave us a strong image of Indian nationalist sentiment during the freedom struggle. He wanted that the entire humanity should be benefited from spiritual awakening and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self sustain India) vision is also a derivative of this vision,” he said.

“The Visva-Bharati university is the embodiment of philosophy, vision and hard work of Gurudev. This institute is a source of constant energy to our country,” the PM said.

In 1878, Rabindranath Tagore visited Ahmedabad when he was 17-years old. During those days, his elder brother Satyendranath Tagore was the commissioner and first ICS officer in Ahmedabad.

During those days, he stayed at ‘Motisahi Mahal’ which was built by Shahjahan in 1622. Presently the building is known as Sardar Patel Smarak Bhavan, situated at Shahibaug.

Trinamool Congress was quick to respond to PM Modi’s speech and claimed that there was some factual error in it.

Later, TMC MLA, Bratya Basu said in a press conference, “Why does the Prime Minister of India always need to remind people about Bengal and its Gujarat connection and that too in a centenary event of a University? We believe that his speech was cleverly drafted on political lines and we condemned it.”

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first published:December 24, 2020, 13:58 IST