Rabindra Bharati University (RBU) plans to develop a cultural exchange programme with Vigo University, in Spain, following the visit of Jose Paz, a professor of the university that has introduced a compulsory paper on Tagore at the higher level of study.
Paz, himself an admirer of Tagore since childhood, has piloted the introduction of a compulsory paper on ‘Rabindranath Tagore as a teacher’ in Vigo University at the post-graduate level.
Paz, who recently visited RBU’s Jorasanko campus, urged the authorities to consider a proposal to develop a cultural exchange programme to enable the Spanish university to “understand Tagore more passionately”.
Ashok Mukherjee, director of mass communication of RBU, told Metro that Paz had been asked to send a specific proposal and “we will work on it once we receive it. Paz has given us his word that the official proposal will be sent immediately after his return to Spain”. Paz is now at Visva-Bharati and is expected to leave Calcutta on Friday.
Paz was given a colourful felicitation by RBU on the Jorasanko campus and presented with a couple of documentaries on Tagore, produced by a number of renowned Indian film-makers. “We gave him two documentaries on Tagore,” said Gouri Bhattacharjee, dean of the faculty of fine arts, RBU, on Friday. Bhattacharjee said RBU was very optimistic about developing cultural exchange ties with Vigo University.
“We will put up the exchange proposal to the key decision-making bodies of our university for their opinion. We also have to tap the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) for developing any tie-ups with the Spanish university,” dean Bhattacharjee pointed out.
“Paz wanted us to send some of our brighter students to his university to perform Tagore’s dance-dramas so the Spanish students could understand the Bard better,” Bhattacharjee said.
“There has been tremendous enthusiasm among our students after Paz’s proposal. Many students have taken down his address and told him they were eager to visit the Spanish university that teaches Tagore at the post-graduate level,” said Bhattacharjee, who is also head of the vocal music department of RBU.
Officials in RBU said Paz had in his possession about 60,000 books written by and on Tagore. “Though all these books are translations, it seems he is the biggest individual collector of Tagore’s works and his admiration for the Nobel laureate is so profound that he has recently started learning Bengali to understand the works of Tagore in the original,” they said.
It is learnt that the Rabindra Bharati authorities will take up the cultural exchange offer after the return of the vice-chancellor Bharati Mukherjee, currently in Mumbai and expected to resume on Monday. She will be briefed by senior university officials on the Vigo University offer.