Mamata declares holiday on Tagore’s death anniversary


Kolkata : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday declared Aug 8 a holiday to mark the death anniversary of poet Rabindranath Tagore.

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Banerjee also appealed to the central government to declare a national holiday to mark the occasion, and said she would write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard.

“We have decided to declare a holiday on this day in all schools, colleges, other educational institutions and offices so that everyone can take part in programmes to mark the occasion. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation will also be a part of the programme,” Banerjee said.

With the state government facing an acute financial crisis, all agencies and departments have been asked to pitch in with funds. “The state government will coordinate with the Tagore 150th birthday celebration committee and the KMC in organising the programmes,” she said.

“The main cultural programme will be held Aug 8 at Netaji indoor stadium,” she said.

Programmes would be held in all schools, colleges, other educational institutions, government offices, state public sector undertakings and city police headquarters Aug 8-10.

“We have also requested the railways to light up its offices in the state as also the important stations,” the chief minister said after a high-level meeting.

“Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary has not been suitably celebrated so far. So we have decided to hold programmes around his death anniversary,” she said.

Four huge and colourful rallies will be brought out from the Jorasanko Thakurbari – the poet’s ancestral house where he was born, Park Circus, College Square and Harish Mukherjee Road at 10 a.m. Aug 8.

All four rallies will terminate at Shahid Minar in the heart of the city.

Banerjee would join the rally from Harish Mukherjee road.

Banerjee said the state government was also renovating a house in Mongpu village in Darjeeling district which hosted Tagore on several occasions. “We have plans to set up a Nepali Academy there.”

Tagore in 1913 became the first Asian Nobel laureate and the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for literature.

He also holds the distinction of having authored the national anthems of two sovereign nations – India and Bangladesh, and the bard’s rich, diverse and vast literary oeuvre is virtually unmatched in the world. He was also a painter and a composer par excellence.