Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Celebrating Bengal’s icon

Rabindra festival in Shahzadpur Kuthibari to begin

Festivity, amid hopes for a university

Relics on display at the museum display Rabindranath's rich aesthetic sensibilities.  Photo: Star

Relics on display at the museum display Rabindranath’s rich aesthetic sensibilities. Photo: Star

Shahzadpur Kuthibari, located 75 km. away from Pabna town, is a historic reminder of Nobel Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore, who used to administer his estates from there.
Shahzadpur Kuthibari will wear a festive look at the three-day Rabindra festival marking the 152nd birth anniversary of the poet and the centenary of the conferment of the Nobel Prize on him. The festival will kick off today.
The festival in Shahzadpur is a watershed this year as the government has set in motion the process to establish Rabindra University, a long standing demand of the people of this region.
Md. Aminul Islam, Sirajganj Deputy Commissioner, told The Daily Star that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had given an assurance to this effect recently.
Talking to The Daily Star, Shahzadpur Upazila Nirbahi officer Md. Russel Sabrin said the University Grants Commission (UGC) team recently chose three spots of the upazila around the Kuthibari as possible sites for the proposed university. The places are Potazia, Perkola and Routara of the upazila. Potazia is part of the poet’s hereditary property.
However, for a variety of reasons the new university is unlikely to open its portals to students by July, as announced during the visit of the UGC team, says Nasim Malitha, former head of the Bangla Department of Bogra Azizul Haque College, also a prominent Tagore researcher.

Relics on display at the museum display Rabindranath's rich aesthetic sensibilities.  Photo: Star

Relics on display at the museum display Rabindranath’s rich aesthetic sensibilities. Photo: Star

Talking to The Daily Star, Sirajganj DC Md. Aminul Islam said that land acquisition for the proposed university is a lengthy process. If the government gives a green signal, a new academic session can begin in Tagore’s historic Kuthibari as there is enough space for a temporary campus.
Tagore had a soft spot for Shahzadpur. Today the Shahzadpur Kuthibari museum carries rich reminders of the poet. Despite the disappearance of many items over the course of time, there are 332 archaeological relics in the museum. Many of these are the poet’s belongings, such as a couch, chairs, tables, a mirror, a piano and palanquin that reveal the poet’s rich aesthetic sensibilities.
There are also 20 rare and precious paintings of Tagore kept in the museum of Shahzadpur Kuthibari. Of the paintings “Tree”, “Nature” and “Women” are reflective of the poet’s affinity for beauty and nature, said officials at Kuthibari. The museum also houses around 3,000 priceless books.
Shazadpur Kuthibari museum could be a useful research base for students, said Md. Zayed, custodian of Shahzadpur Kuthibari.

Relics on display at the museum display Rabindranath's rich aesthetic sensibilities.  Photo: Star

Relics on display at the museum display Rabindranath’s rich aesthetic sensibilities. Photo: Star

Tagore wrote part of his plays “Bishorjon”, “Sonar Tori”, “Chitra”, “Chaitali”, “Golapguchchho”, “Chhinnapatra”, “Panchabhooter Diary” and “Meyeli Chhora” in Shahzadpur. He wrote around 38 letters from here.
The newly elected Speaker of parliament, Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, will inaugurate the festival on Wednesday while the adviser to the Prime Minister, HT Imam, will be present at the concluding session.
“This is the 100th anniversary of the conferment of the Nobel Prize on the poet. A special discussion by prominent researchers of Tagore on the Nobel winning book “Gitanjali” has been arranged,” said Sirajganj DC Md. Aminul Islam, who is the president of festival organising committee. National and local artistes will perform at the festival.