Hon’ble Finance Minister Pranav Mukherjee addressing at the National Commemoration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore

On 7th May 2011 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi

On behalf of the National Committee on the 150th Anniversary Commemorations of Rabindranath Tagore, I extend a very warm welcome to all of you on this historic occasion. I extend heartfelt welcome to our Chief Guest, the Planning Minister, Bangladesh and his Delegation who are with us today to launch the Joint Indo-Bangla Commemorations in India. This is in pursuance of the Joint Communiqué signed by the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh in January 2010. Our Vice President Dr. Hamid Ansari had participated in the inaugural function at Dhaka yesterday at the Bangabandhu International Convention Centre.

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore is a colossus of modern times. The author of both our National Anthems, he is truly inspirational and will be remembered by generations for his unparalleled contributions in diverse fields spanning literature, poetry, fine arts, education, rural development, environment, affirmative action to promote social and

We have taken note of the proposals which form part of the Joint Indo-Bangla Commemorations and have emerged through the Culture-Secretary level Delegation talks at Dhaka and New Delhi in December 2010 and April 2011.

We have endeavoured to focus on projects and programmes that are of enduring value and take forward the rich legacy of Tagore internationally. To illustrate, for about 15 years (1992-2007), Ministry of Culture was operating a Scheme of Multipurpose Cultural Complexes (MPCCs), to support State-sponsored bodies in setting up integrated cultural complexes for fostering activities in various cultural fields like music, dance, drama, literature, fine arts, etc. About 50 MPPCs were sanctioned in different States/UTs, with Central assistance ranging from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 2.5 crore for each Project.

As part of the Commemoration of Tagore's 150th Birth Anniversary we have revamped this scheme, and renamed it as he Tagore

gender equity, universalism and linguistic identity. Tagore set forth a vision of peace and fraternity that continues to have relevance and global appeal. He gave a new meaning and new interpretation to all traditional ideas. In that sense, he was a rebel, fearless in challenging what he considered

Cultural Complexes Scheme. Establishment of new cultural complexes of varying scales, in big and small towns will be thereby facilitated. Up gradation, modernisation and modification into state-of-the-art cultural complexes, of the existing Rabindra Bhawans and Cultural Centres

constricting and limiting the development of core civilisational values.

I quote form the Gitanjali:

“Thou hast made me known to friends whom I know not.
Thou hast given me seats in homes not my own. Thou
hast brought the distant near and made a brother of the stranger”.

This is what we should strive to achieve during the 150th Anniversary Commemorations of Gurudev.

The National Committee for the Commemorations was set up on 27th April 2010, with the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India as its Chairman. It has several senior public figures and distinguished Tagore experts. In laying down the broad contours of the Commemorations, it suggested that events should be organised not only at the national level, but also the regional and global level. In this context, the Joint Indo-Bangla Commemorations assume a unique significance, being the first of its kind in the history of cultural relations with our neighbours.

The National Committee constituted a smaller National Implementation Committee, which I have the privilege of chairing. My colleagues and I have met a couple of times and approved details of various Projects and Programmes that have been drawn up to honour, celebrate and perpetuate the outstanding legacy of Tagore.

set up during the Centenary Celebrations of Rabindranath Tagore in 1961 will also be supported. Universities and reputed not-for-profit Organisations have also been brought into the ambit of the scheme. The Central Government's support will be up to 60 per cent of the project cost. The Ministry of Culture has received several proposals from State Governments which will now be fast-tracked under this Scheme for Tagore Cultural Complexes.

I would also like to highlight 'Rabindra Chitravali' which is being released during this Function by Chairperson, UPA Smt. Sonia Gandhiji. It is for the first time that around 2,000 original paintings of Tagore from different repositories including Visva Bharati and the National Gallery of Modern Art are being reproduced in 4 volumes that will be a collector's delight. A number of Exhibitions of Tagore’s original paintings are proposed to be taken in various circuits to cities across the world. They include Berlin, Paris, Rome, London, New York and possibly Chicago and Seoul. These works will also be on display in NGMA in Delhi during July-August.

There are many other important programmes which you will get to know about in the course of today’s function, to you an idea of the wide spectrum of activities that is proposed to be covered on this unique occasion.

Once again, I welcome all of you and wish the Joint Commemorations a grand success.