The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Varsity sits on offer to restore Tagore’s car

Bolpur, June 2: About a year ago, the Bengal Motor Sports Club had approached the Visva-Bharati with a proposal to restore the 1933 Humber sedan that Rabindranath Tagore once rode. But barring verbal assurances, there has been no response.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony for the sixth Kavi Guru motor rally, club president Rajat Majumdar said he was still waiting for an official response from Visva-Bharati to get the car roadworthy. “We had sent an official letter to Visva-Bharati eight months ago about our plans with this vintage car and though we had got some verbal assurance, we are yet to receive anything official,” Majumdar said.

Governor Viren J. Shah had flagged off the rally from Calcutta on Saturday.

Visva-Bharati vice-chancellor Sujit K. Basu acknowledged that the authorities were aware of the proposal concerning one of the two Humber sedans that Tagore owned. One of them is in Shantiniketan, the other, an identical model, is in Thakurbari at Jorasanko.

“We had received the proposal and we welcomed it, but we have to arrive at a unanimous decision regarding Tagore’s car so that we are not subject to any controversy. As soon as we arrive at a consensus, we will inform the motor sports club,” Basu said today.

Majumdar pointed out that lack of use and maintenance had rendered several parts of the car useless. The club had got in touch with the Humber company and vintage car enthusiasts and got hold of a 128-page maintenance manual. “In its present condition, 117 components of the car need replacements. The blue book of the historical car was recovered two years ago from the public vehicles department at Beltala, Calcutta, and we handed it over to the National Archives,” the Club president said.

Majumdar added that Mridul Pathak, a Tagore admirer and now a resident of London, had come forward to bear the entire expense of the restoration work and the club members were ready to get hold of the parts that needed replacement from across the world.

The Humber has not only carried the Nobel laureate, its plush upholstered interiors have had passengers like Subhas Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.

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