PM lays foundation stone of Rabindra Bishwabidyalaya

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of Rabindra Bishwabidyalaya, an institution after the name of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore at Shahjadpur in Sirajganj on Friday marking the poet’s 154th birth anniversary.
The prime minister laid the foundation at a function organized by Ministry of Cultural Affairs at Shahjadpur Pilot High School ground.
“It’s a very bright day for the people of Shahjadpur as the Rabindra Bishwabidyalaya is being constructed in this area which is blessed with the memories of the ‘Bishwa Kobi’.
The university would fulfill the long cherished demand of Sirajganj people to have an institution in the district for higher learning, she said hoping that the university would play a very significant role in expansion of higher education in the region.
The Rabindra Bishwabidyalaya will be a public university and provide education on literature, music, drama, dance, fine arts, social science, agriculture, cooperatives, zoology and technological studies side by side with conducting research and practice on Rabindranath, the PM said.
Professor Emeritus of Dhaka University Anisuzzaman delivered a memorial speech on ‘Sabhyatar Sangkat O Rabindranath (Crisis of Civilization and Rabindranath) on the occasion. The foundation laying ceremony was chaired by Minister for Cultural Affairs Asaduzzaman Noor.
Health Minister Mohammad Nasim, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, PM’s adviser on political affairs HT Imam, local parliament member Hasibur Rahman Swapan attended the function as special guests.
Secretary of Ministry of Cultural Affairs Akhtari Momtaz and Deputy Commissioner of Sirajganj Billal Hossain also spoke on the occasion.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Rabindranath had a very hearty relation with the people of this landscape. The poet passed a very special time of his life in Shahjadpur, Patisar of Naogaon and Shilaidah of Kushtia for supervising his jamidari. At that time he deeply tried to understand the causes of the woes and sufferings of the people of the than East Bengal.
“Rabindranath looked after his jamidari but unlike other jamidars he never tried to stock up his treasure through imposing taxes on the subjects,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said Rabindranath could understand that quality of living of the people of Bengal was not possible without modernization of agriculture. He could also realize that farmers would remain hostage to money-lenders without having easy access to capital.
Out of those thinking, the Prime Minister said, Rabindranath had taken initiative for cooperatives, agro-banking and other various social initiatives in their support.
Rabindranath taught his son Rathindranath agricultural education in America and sent a son of his friend Santoshchandra Majumder for studies on animal husbandry. As well, he sent his son-in-law Nagendranath Ganguli to America for study on agriculture, the Prime Minister said.
Terming Rabindranath as the pioneer of the modernization of agriculture in this region, Sheikh Hasina said Rabindranath imported power tiller for agriculture and choose East Bengal for agricultural revolution.
The Prime Minister said Rabindranath Tagore donated four thousand bighas of his own land to famers for using as the grazing ground for cattle on which the dairy firm of Shahjadpur was developed, creating income opportunities for the people.
Sheikh Hasina said Rabindranath excavated ‘dighi’ and ponds for pisciculture. He used to distribute medicine among people free of cost apart from giving cash money.
Rabindranath used to provide financial support to the poor parents for the marriage of their daughters. In his first visit to Shahjadpur, Rabindranath waived taxes of his tenants to Taka one lakh eight thousand.
Pointing out the introduction of microcredit in this region, the Prime Minister said Rabindranath was the pioneer of the soft loan in this region and he distributed most of the fund he received as the prize money of Nobel Award in this purpose.
Saying Rabindranath as the poet of idea and thoughts, the Prime Minister said his writings would inspire people to invigorate human values and inner-power forever.
She said Bangabandhu was extensively influenced by Rabindranath. Particularly the patriotic songs and poems of Rabindranath encouraged and inspired Bangabandhu in his political struggle, Sheikh Hasina, eldest daughter of Bangabandhu, noted.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu selected ‘Amar Sonar Bangla Ami Tomai Bhalobasi’ composed by Rabindranath, as our national anthem. The thoughts and mindset of Bangabandhu was grossly influenced by the secular spirit of Rabindranath, his internationalism and thoughts for people’s welfare and world peace.
“Every educated middleclass Bangalee is highly influenced by Rabindranath,” the Prime Minister said adding that Rabindranath has enriched our mind and thoughts. As well, he introduced the Bangalee nation with global community. Rabindranath is an illustrious figure for whom Banglee people can feel pride forever.
Pointing out the embargo of Pakistani rulers on celebration of the birth anniversary of Rabindranath in sixties, the Prime Minister said Pakistani rulers became afraid of Rabindranath because of his overwhelming capacity to influence the middle-class people. But, artistes, writers and conscious people didn’t accept the ban while they blissfully celebrated his birth centenary in 1961, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the main essence of the philosophy of Rabindranath was democratization, economic and social justice and dream for a humane globalization. “His steadfast posture against colonialism and fascism still inspires us,” she said.
The Prime Minister said Rabindranath never limit the country within its territorial boundary. Rather he was always dreaming of a ‘Sonar Bangla’ and Bangabandhu gave the dream of the Rabindranath a real shape, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh and India have set a unique example of cultural friendship through joint celebration of 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath in 2011 and centenary of Nobel Prize receiving of Rabindranath in 2013.
“The official programs of the birth anniversary of Rabindranath has been arranged in Shahjadpur this year as we, like Rabindranath, believe that the existence of a nation is not confined in the capital city but also spread out across the country,” she said.
She said the government has already taken steps for preservation of the places carrying the memories of Rabindranath. Side by side, she said, steps were taken for more and more practice on Rabindranath and promotion of Rabindra culture in the country.
Sheikh Hasina said construction work of Bangladesh Bhaban at Santiniketan in Indian State of West Bengal is going on in full swing. “The building will have a Bangabandhu Corner, Bangladesh Corner and a separate one on War of Liberation, history and culture of Bangladesh,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu had given priority to cooperatives and development of the downtrodden people. “The present government has also attached importance to various programmes for improving the living standard of the grassroots people,” she said.
Highlighting the steps taken by her government for socio-economic development of the country, the Prime Minister said Bangladesh would proceed to the golden jubilee of its independence in 2021 through balanced development of every region.
The Prime Minister said her government is proceeding towards establishing justice and rule of law in the society to build a secular and peaceful Bangladesh against the evil design of anti-liberation force to sprout militancy and push the country toward an unstable situation.
“But people of Bangladesh will never allow this to happen. We are the followers of Rabindranath and Nazrul who taught us to fights against the evil force, injustice and oppression,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina urged all to nourish the spirit of Rabindranath and come forward together against all sorts of deprivation, injustice, terrorism, militancy and fanaticism to build a happy and prosperous nation.
Earlier, the Prime Minister inaugurated regional passport office, expansion work of Sirajganj Power Station, Institute of Marine Technology, District Registrar Office and Sheikh Russell Poura Shishu Park through unveiling plaques of the projects at the same venue.
The Prime Minister announced giving permission to a private university on Rabindranath at Kushtia and construction of Norina Bridge over Karatoa River at Shahjadpur, Sirajganj. –Our Monitor (Photo: PID)

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