Shillong: A towering life-size statue of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was unveiled here today on the occasion of the poet`s 150th birth anniversary.
The bust moulded out of fibre glass by noted sculptor Shymal Kumar Deb was unveiled by Shillong MP and Union Minister of State for Water Resources Vincent H Pala at the lawns of Brookeside Bungalow in Rilbong, jointly organized by the Tagore Sesquicentennial Birth Celebration Committee,
Indian Centre of Cultural Relations and Meghalaya Government.
The Nobel laureaute had stayed in this wooden bungalow during his first visit to Shillong in 1919 and had written the novel `Shesher Kobita`, set in the hills and considered a landmark in Bengali literature.
Pointing out that it was a rare feat for two sovereign nations (India and Bangladesh) to adopt the songs of one poet (Tagore) as their national anthems, the minister said the Centre would provide 60 per cent funds to any state that wished to establish Tagore cultural centres.
Stating that about 50 multi-purpose cultural complexes would be established throughout the country to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore, Pala urged the Meghalaya Government to submit proposals in this regard to the Centre.
Pala, whose sister is now the owner of the erstwhile Sidli House, where Tagore had stayed during his sojourns to the hill station, also promised to install a bust of the poet in the sprawling complex.
"The people of Shillong have met their obligation today by installing the first ever life-size statue of the poet in the city," legislator Manas Chaudhuri, working president of the committee said.
Chaudhuri also called for efforts to translate works of the poet in local Khasi and Garo languages.
"It was a dream come true," said deputy chief minister Bindo M Lanong, president of the committee and the state minister for arts and culture.
Meanwhile, rendition of Rabindra Sangeet in Khasi, Garo, Hindi and Bengali and a gala cultural function featuring the universal poet?s creation marked Rabindra Jayanti in the city today.