Time to go back to Tagore`s beliefs, says Pranab Mukherjee
Shimla: President Pranab Mukherjee Friday inaugurated a study centre-cum-museum dedicated to the life and works of Rabindranath Tagore at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) here.
Delivering the first Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Lecture, Mukherjee said: "We must assimilate Tagore`s belief that wealth is not a precondition of wisdom.
"Tagore`s ideal is a moral leadership that comes not from power or riches but from ideas and truth," he said.
The president said he believed that the requirement of "our times is for intellectuals to engage with moral issues and provide guidance to the people".
He said he was "troubled by a sense of moral drift that has beset us and begun to dominate our public lives.
"We do not seem to have exemplars, such as Tagore, today from whom to learn. They say a society needs its exemplars because they serve as the moral compass in uncertain times.
"We are going through troubled times. In such a phase of moral uncertainty, we should go back to great minds such as Tagore to see what direction he has to offer us," Mukherjee added.
The Tagore Centre for the Study of Culture and Civilisation will not only promote research on the works and philosophy of the Nobel laureate but also throw light on his life.
IIAS media officer Ashok Sharma told IANS that the centre, being set up by the central government, would also encourage translations of his works into other Indian languages.
"An eight-foot high portrait of Tagore ... and two of Tagore`s pictures, one with Mahatma Gandhi and the other with Albert Einstein, will be showcased," Sharma said.
"We have a collection of photos, ranging from his childhood to the conferring of the Nobel prize on him. The literary section has a collection of works of Tagore`s contemporaries like Subramania Bharati, Munshi Prem Chand and Sri Aurobindo," he added.
The IIAS is a premier advanced research institution in humanities and social sciences. It is housed in the erstwhile Viceregal Lodge, built during the viceroyship of Lord Dufferin before independence.