TMC Slams PM Modi Over Comments On Tagore At Visva-Bharati

Gurudev wanted entire humanity to benefit from India’s spiritual awakening. Atmanirbhar Bharat vision is also a derivative of this sentiment,” the Prime Minister said.

Addressing the Visva-Bharati University in Bengal on its centenary today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said its iconic founder Rabindranath Tagore’s vision was the essence of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” or self-reliant India. The PM also said the university embodied Indian nationalist sentiment during Independence with the guidance of Rabindranath Tagore.

“Guided by Gurudev (Rabindranath Tagore) Visva-Bharati presented a strong image of Indian nationalist sentiment during Independence. Gurudev wanted entire humanity to benefit from India’s spiritual awakening. Atmanirbhar Bharat vision is also a derivative of this sentiment,” the Prime Minister said in a virtual address to Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan.

“Be it the Visva-Bharati University, Banaras Hindu University, Aligarh Muslim University, Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia University, Andhra University, Anna Malai University, and several others are premier institutions and came up around the same time, in the same era, and gave momentum to India’s thirst for knowledge. Today, as more and more people are getting a good education, we now have to work to build a strong and wise nation – one that is self-reliant. We must take inspiration from all those who have contributed to making India great over the centuries and millennia. We must also keep in mind the India that our freedom fighters envisioned when they fought of our independence. That is why we are now at the stage to create an Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” PM Modi said.

His comments invited sharp criticism by TMC, which accused the centre of “insulting” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee by not inviting her to the event. However, the BJP produced the university’s letter inviting the Chief Minister and accused her of insulting Tagore’s institution by not attending the function.

The Prime Minister also fanned the debate when he spoke about Tagore’s Gujarat connection, a counter to Mamata Banerjee’s claim that she’ll not let the state turn into Gujarat.

“When I speak about Gurudev, I cannot help but indulge in speaking a little about his visits to Gujarat. He used to visit his elder brother who was posted there. He even wrote two of his famous poems whilst in Gujarat. Why I say all this, it is because it shows how India has always been about diverse cultures coming together and living in harmony. We are a nation of varied cultures, languages, clothing, food, and much more, yet a lot binds us together and it is this unity in diversity that is our biggest strength. It is all about ‘Ek Bharat, Shresth Bharat‘,” PM Modi said.

The Prime Minister also referred to Tagore’s sister-in-law, saying she introduced modern sari-draping to India.

Calling out PM Modi for “pronunciation and factual errors”, the TMC reacted sharply to his address.

The attempt to link Tagore and Gujarat was inexplicable, said Bengal Minister Bratya Bose.

“Tagore’s brother who was in Gujarat was not the oldest brother. His wife’s name was Gyanadanandini, not what the PM said. The story about Gyanadanandini and the sari pallu is a myth, not true,” the TMC leader said.

Criticising PM Modi’s comments on Visva-Bharati symbolizing nationalism, Mr Bose said: “The PM spoke of nationalism, Tagore said nationalism was the most divisive thing. Using religion to divide was not what Tagore advocated. His novel ‘Gora’ was about religion and what it eventually means to man. His novel ‘Ghare Baire’s’ message was that nationalism is an addiction that divides.”

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