New Delhi: Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore "is the Shakespeare from Bengal" and "it is our (country`s) privilege to pay tribute to the greatest genuis of our times", United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi said Saturday.
"He is a part of the life of two nations - India and Bangladesh. His legacy is part of our common heritage. Tagore remains a living presence among us. Scholars analyse his relevance, universities across the world discuss his work and new facets of his personality are revealed (everyday) to our amazement," Sonia Gandhi said in her address at the 150th birth anniversary commemorations of Rabindranath Tagore at Vigyan Bhavan in the capital.
She said the genius who had conquered almost every literary sphere "finally crossed the last frontier with art".
"He drew and painted with the boundless energy and restlessness of a young man. As an educationist, he had a lasting impression on the younger generation," the Congress president said.
Quoting an interview of late prime minister Jawharlal Nehru, Sonia Gandhi said: "Jawharlal Nehru was inspired by three people - Motilal Nehru, who was born a day before Rabindranath Tagore on May 6, 1861, Gandhiji and Rabindranath Tagore."
It was Nehru`s deep admiration of Tagore as an educationist that made him send his daughter Indira to study in the Visva-Bharati University set up by Tagore at Santiniketan in West Bengal, she said.
Though she could not continue her studies because of her mother`s illness, "her year in Santiniketan left a lasting impression on young Indira`s outlook", Sonia Gandhi said.
Tagore`s vision for the world and country was encapsulated in the choice of his name for his university - Visva Bharati, she said.