May 07, Colombo: The 150th Birth Anniversary of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore was celebrated in Sri Lanka at the British School Auditorium in Colombo under the patronage of India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha.
Marking the event, Secretary of Sri Lanka Postal Services Ministry, Hemasiri Fernando released a special postal stamp in the denomination of Rupees 5 and a First Day Cover commemorating Rabindranath Tagore.
Wimal Rubasinghe, Secretary, Ministry for Cultural Affairs and Arts of the Government of Sri Lanka released a commemorative volume “Remembering Rabindranath Tagore”, containing a compilation of articles in English, Sinhala and Tamil, which highlight the poetic, philosophical and cultural expressions of Tagore and their relevance in the contemporary world. The volume was published by University of Colombo with the support of India-Sri Lanka Foundation.
Addressing the event, the Indian High Commissioner said the releasing a special postal stamp on this occasion was a “befitting homage to a towering personality who straddled the world of literature, art, music, and intellectual discourse and contributed in a very meaningful manner to the cultural renaissance of India, Sri Lanka and other countries of Asia.”
Observing Tagore’s strong association with Sri Lanka shown by his three visits in 1922, 1928 and 1934, the High Commissioner noted Tagore’s association with the Sri Palee campus at Horana, whose foundation stone Tagore had laid at the invitation of Wilmut Perera.
A press release issued by the High Commission of India said a play staged by Tagore during his 1934 visit, “Shap Mochan”, will be re-staged in Sri Lanka in November this year by famous Manipuri dancer Bimbavati Devi and her 21 member troupe sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
The High Commissioner has also announced that to re-kindle the old linkages and associations, exchange of visits between Sri Palee and Santiniketan will be facilitated by the High Commission during the year.
An exhibition of Tagore’s paintings will also be organized in Sri Lanka later this year along with a photo exhibition on the life and travels of Tagore.
The High Commissioner was the Chief Guest yesterday at an event organized by Sri Palee campus at the Faculty of Graduate Studies auditorium, University of Colombo to pay homage to Tagore which included screening of documentaries on Tagore made by the students of Sri Palee and talks on Tagore by Prof. Walter Marasinghe and Dr. Premadasa Mudunkotuwa.
Other events planned during the year to commemorate 150th Birth Anniversary of Tagore in Sri Lanka include a festival of films based on the novels and stories of Tagore such as ‘Agantuk’, ‘Pather Panchali’, ‘Charulatha’, ‘Ghare Baire’ and ‘Teen Kanya’ and an essay competition in Sinhala, English and Tamil on Tagore for undergraduate students in the universities in Sri Lanka.
The High Commission of India and Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Arts have also agreed to organize later this year research by scholars on the three visits of Tagore to Sri Lanka in 1922, 1928 and 1934 and the impact of Tagore’s visit in the cultural renaissance within Sri Lanka.
The special event was concluded with a musical tribute toTagore in form of beautiful rendition of Rabindra Sangeet by Amar-Daya Foundation.