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Controversy Erupts As Rabindranath Tagore’s Name Omitted From UNESCO Plaques In Santiniketan


The exclusion of Rabindranath Tagore’s name from UNESCO plaques at Santiniketan, despite his pivotal role in establishing the renowned institution, has sparked a contentious debate. The recent UNESCO World Heritage Site declaration for Santiniketan has brought to light the omission of Tagore’s name, leading to uproar within both the local community and educational circles in West Bengal.

The recognition of Santiniketan as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO marked a significant milestone, underlining the institution’s historical significance and its role in promoting art based on ancient Indian traditions. However, the absence of Rabindranath Tagore’s name on the UNESCO plaques has triggered a wave of discontent among Tagore enthusiasts and the local populace.

Row erupts over Tagore's name missing on Santiniketan's UNESCO nod plaque -

Source: India Today

The installation of white stone plaques throughout Visva Bharati proclaiming the UNESCO World Heritage Site status has drawn criticism due to the noticeable absence of Tagore’s name. The plaques prominently display the names of current Chancellor Narendra Modi and Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty, sparking allegations of self-promotion and the overshadowing of Tagore’s legacy.

The exclusion of Tagore’s name has caused dismay among the residents of Santiniketan and former teachers of the institution, who view this move as a departure from the long-standing tradition of not mentioning any individual’s name on plaques within Visva Bharati. Members of the Tagore family, including Supriyo Tagore, expressed their disappointment, emphasizing the neglect of Tagore’s invaluable contributions.

Visva-Bharati students say they were stopped from screening BBC documentary  on

Source: Edexlive

The recent actions of the Vice-Chancellor have been seen as a break from established customs within Visva Bharati, causing significant unrest within the community. Sudipta Bhattacharya, President of the Visva Bharati Teachers’ Union, criticized the Vice-Chancellor’s decision to install the plaques, highlighting the absence of legal authority for such actions. Bhattacharya emphasized the need for legal intervention to address the erasure of Tagore’s legacy and the preservation of institutional traditions.

Jawhar Sircar, a Trinamool MP, expressed his dismay on social media, highlighting the disparity between UNESCO’s intent to honor Tagore’s legacy and the local authorities’ attempt to appropriate the recognition. The ongoing controversy has sparked widespread debates within the political and social spheres, with many calling for an acknowledgment of Tagore’s pivotal role and a restoration of his rightful place in the UNESCO plaques at Santiniketan.

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