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After plaque row, Visva Bharati says texts from UNESCO to be incorporated in permanent one

Kolkata: Visva Bharati University on Wednesday said the plaque, which triggered a row to mark the UNESCO heritage status to Santiniketan, was just a temporary structure to demarcate the heritage site.

The plaque set up at several places in the sprawling campus of the central university bore the names of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is ex-officio Chancellor of the university, and Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty, but does not have any mention of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore who set up the varsity.

Reacting to this, TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP Jawhar Sircar had earlier said, “UNESCO specifically said they are honouring Rabindranath Tagore and his unique legacy by declaring Santiniketan as a World Heritage Site. A megalomaniac V-C and his boss seem to think UNESCO is honouring them!!”

A section of ashramites and left-leaning student activists had also objected to the move.

When contacted, Visva Bharati spokesperson Mahua Bandyopadhyay told PTI, “It was a purely temporary structure raised to demarcate the heritage site…”

She said, “The ISI and UNESCO will provide some text that will be erected once they are received.”

A senior university teacher said three such plaques had come up within the premises of the central higher educational institution after UNESCO’s World Heritage site honour to Santiniketan on September 17.

UNESCO gave credit to renowned poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore for setting up of Santiniketan which is uniquely different from the “prevailing British colonial architectural orientations of the early 20th century and of European modernism”.

West Bengal BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya earlier said “persons like Jawhar Sircar are flagging such issues on social media to cement their position in the party after being fielded as Rajya Sabha MP to unnecessarily stir controversy.”

(Published 25 October 2023, 10:59 IST)

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