Tagore – Messenger of Indian Culture
(To 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore)
In 2011 the world cultural community celebrates the 150th birth anniversary of R.Tagore (May, 7th, 1861 – August, 7th, 1941), the Nobel Prize laureate and the world-known Indian poet, writer and playwright, composer and artist, famous public figure. In the XX century Tagore by means of his aspiration to beauty, harmony, and by his tireless work opened the Indian culture to the Western world.
Russian National Library, the International Centre of the Roerichs (the St.Petersburg Branch) and Consulate General of India in St. Petersburg open two exhibitions. The first is “R. Tagore – citizen of the world”, it is an exhibition of Tagore’s books from the Russian National Library Funds, of his lifetime editions of Russian translations and other books about his creative work.
“Tagore – Messenger of Indian Culture” is the second exhibition. It is an exhibition of photos and documents about life and creative work of Tagore from funds and private collections of India; the exhibition is prepared by the St. Petersburg Branch of the International Centre of the Roerichs (the ICR).
Irina Linden, deputy director of the Russian National Library (the RNL), opened the jubilee event. She noted that exhibitions are a good example of friendship with India and cooperation with Consulate General of India, as well as the testimony of friendship of the library with cultural organizations. So, the RNL, together with the ICR (the St. Petersburg Branch), which helped a lot, and with Consulate General of India prepared two exhibitions.
Sir Chandra Prakash Ghandi, acting Consul General of India in St. Petersburg, greeted the exhibition viewers who came to celebrate 150th birth anniversary of an Indian Guru – Tagore.
Tagore achieved the world recognition as a playwright, poet, song-writer, writer, philosopher and humanist. He wrote more than 2,000 songs and created a new kind of music later called “Rabindra Sangeet”. He worked in general education and developed a new educational approach which provided education to all people. For the purpose he opened “Vishva Bharati” University in Shantiniketan. It was a unique university; “Vishva Bharati” means “World India”, i.e. India which includes the whole continent.
Eduard Tomsha, the chairman of the St. Petersburg Branch of the ICR, congratulated the participants of the anniversary celebration with the opening of the wonderful exhibitions, which would be opened for a month. A lot of RNL visitors, citizens and guests of St. Petersburg would be able to join poetical, philosophical and artistic creative heritage of Tagore, join the creative work facets of the Indian genius. Eduard Tomsha spoke about the exhibition concept, which showed versatile nature of Tagore; E.Tomsha stressed that great attention was given to Tagore’s artistic work. Tagore became an artist at the age of 67 and he managed to create a great number of paintings during 13 years and founded a new artistic trend in India.
Tagore met a lot of outstanding people; his acquaintance with Nicholas Roerich, a Russian artist, later became friendship of two great Masters.
Finally, at the end of the jubilee event there was a concert of Bengali dances which were brilliantly performed by a youth ensemble “Joy of Life” ( Nataliya Antipova is a director).
On May, 13th, 2011 within the framework of the exhibitions devoted to 150th anniversary of R.Tagore in the conference hall of the RNL there was a lecture about life and creative work of R.Tagore. Eduard Tomsha told schoolchildren and the city cultural public about versatile facets of Tagore’s creative genius: from Tagore as a poet to Tagore as a humanist and world public figure. A video presentation, extracts from "Gitanjali" and “Rabindra Sangeet” music aroused great interest of the audience.
After the lecture the viewers (more than 90 people) saw the exhibition of books and photo documents of Tagore. Such exhibitions are important nowadays because Tagore’s creative work still influences the basic Culture values emphasizing the point that a Man is the creator, capable of solving complex problems of today.
Nicholas Roerich in his article “Vijaya Tagore!” (to 70th birth anniversary of the poet) wrote: “When we think of invincible energy, blessed enthusiasm, pure Culture, before me always rises the image of Rabindranath Tagore, so dear to me. Great must be the potentiality of that spirit, which prompts him untiringly to apply in life the foundations of true Culture. The songs of Tagore are inspirational calls to Culture; they are his prayers about great Culture, his blessings to the seekers of the paths of ascent.”
See also in Russian:
Site of Russian National Library
Site Museums of Russia
Site Hübners Who is Who in Russia
International Collection of Encyclopedias
Site Voice of Russia