China to establish Tagore gallery in Kolkata

Beijing, May 27 (IANS) As India has begun year-long celebrations of the 150th birth anniversary of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, China announced it will establish a gallery in Kolkata in remembrance of the bard who had visited Beijing in 1924.

This was revealed to reporters here by Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao here Thursday.

‘Chinese President Hu Jintao has said the Chinese government will support and establish a gallery at the Rabindra Bharati University,’ Rao told reporters.

Tagore was born in Jorasanko, in north Kolkata. The building was later turned into an university.

The setting-up of the gallery was discussed Thursday between Hu and Patil, who is here on a six-day visit here.

Rao said that Tagore had travelled Beijing in 1924 and the Chinese government wants to have a gallery to remember the poet’s days in China.

She said the move has come at a time when the two emerging economies are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of their bilateral diplomatic ties.

During her on-going China visit, Patil will also unveil a Tagore statue Sunday at Mao Ming Road in Shanghai.

Tagore’s journey to the city in 1924 was marked by radical hostility from student groups at the time.

The Indian bard had been invited by the Beijing Lecture Association in 1923 to deliver a series of talks as part of its objective to have foreign scholars come and talk to Chinese intellectuals.

However, the invitation to Tagore created an unprecedented uproar which culminated in strong hostility against him as well as against Liang Qichao, president of the association, by radical student circles and some ultra Left-oriented political leaders.