Unity and religious harmony that are rare in today’s world was preached by Rabindranath Tagore, said chief minister Mamata Banerjee this evening.

Tagore had issued the message of unity and harmony in many of his poems and sons, she said while inaugurating the Rabindra Jayanti celebrations at Cathedral Road outside Rabindra Sadan.

Miss Banerjee said the poet is always with us. His songs wake us up in the morning, he remains during lunch and with the evening tea, she said adding that if Tagore is taken away from our lives we would lose our existence.

The programme was starstudded and saw not only top Rabindrasangeet exponents, but the most celebrated people of the city from all walks of life.

The celebrations at Jorasankho Thakurbari began since dawn and continued till dusk with students and teachers of Rabindra Bharati University as well as some professionals and enthusiast performing on various drama, traditional songs, and recited poems written by Rabindranath Tagore.

The day began with the Hey Nutansong. It was sung by the Rabindra Sangeet department of the university and recitation was done by Vice Chancellor Sabyasachi Basu Ray.

The event was graced by Bratya Basu, IT minister and mayor Sovan Chatterjee. “It is the day when we convey our love and gratefulness to Tagore,” said Mr Chatterjee. Notable Rabindra Sangeet singers namely Sriradha Bandyopadhyay, Monomoy Bhattacharya, Monoj Murali Nayar, Manisha Murali Nayar performed on the occasion.

Since yesterday, Thakurbari looked splendidly beautiful on the eve with the entire premise blooming with the fragrance of tuberose, and enchanting Rabindra sangeet resonating around, with young men and women dressed in ethnic clothes and kids along with their parents were seen taking a stroll at the long corridors of the house which is now a museum.

Outside the Thakurbari premise a handicraft fair was also put up by some artisans who displayed ethnic jewellery and clothes, mud vessels, coral made idols for sale. Shri Tapam Maity, a traditional artisan said, “I had travelled all the way from Naya village near Balichak to attend this day here at Thakurbari. It took a lot of hardship for me and my family to rove with these paintings. But I still come here to show my children how Kabiguru’s birthday is celebrated and what importance he holds for us.”

Soumyabrata Ganguly, who visits Thakurbari every year on this day said, “Every year I experience something new. This place looks more beautiful today than other days. What interests me more is to see how the young generation still visits here and how this tradition of celebrating Kabiguru’s birth anniversary keeps the love for literature and kabiguru alive within us.”

Meanwhile, Konnagar municipality celebrated Rabindranath Jayanti at Abanindranath Bagan Bari. The municipality plans to renovate the building which was once inhabited by the family members of the Tagore family. The Abanindranath Bagan Bari was declared a heritage in 2007.