A few hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks over Rabindranath Tagore at the Visva-Bharati University in Bengal, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) launched a scathing attack over his speech.
The West Bengal ruling party also called him out on “pronunciation and factual errors”. Bengal minister Bratya Bose said the attempt to link Tagore and Gujarat was inexplicable.
“Tagore’s brother who was in Gujarat was not the oldest brother. His wife’s name was Gyanadanandini, not what the PM said. The story about Gyanadanandini and the sari pallu is a myth, not true,” he said.
He further attacked PM over his comments on Visva-Bharati symbolizing nationalism. “The PM spoke of nationalism, Tagore said nationalism was the most divisive thing. Using religion to divide was not what Tagore advocated. His novel ‘Gora’ was about religion and what it eventually means to man. His novel ‘Ghare Baire’s’ message was that nationalism is an addiction that divides,” he said.
PM in his address at Visva-Bharati University said that its iconic founder Rabindranath Tagore’s vision was the essence of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” or self-reliant India.
He also said the university embodied Indian nationalist sentiment during Independence with the guidance of Rabindranath Tagore.
“When we talk of freedom struggle, the idea of 19-20 century comes directly in our mind. But it is also a fact that the foundation of these movements was laid long ago. The independence movement of India got energy from many movements that had been going on since centuries,” PM said.
Prime Minister said that the stream of national consciousness of Vedas to Vivekananda was also vocal in Gurudev’s contemplation of nationalism. This stream was neither introverted nor insular. The focus was not to keep India isolated from the world. This vision entailed that the world should benefit from what is best in India and that what is good in the world, India should also learn from it.
“The name ‘Visva-Bharati’ encapsulates this linkage between India and the world. Gurudev’s vision for Vishwa Bharati is also the essence of self-reliant India. Self-reliant India campaign is also the path of India’s welfare for world welfare. This campaign is a campaign to empower India, a campaign to bring prosperity from the prosperity of India to the world,” PM Modi said.
Founded by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore in 1921, Visva-Bharati is also the oldest Central University in the country. In May 1951, Visva-Bharati was declared to be a Central University and “an Institution of National Importance” by an Act of Parliament.
The University followed the pedagogy devised by Gurudev Tagore, though gradually it evolved in the format in which modern Universities developed elsewhere. The Prime Minister is the Chancellor of the University.