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January 2012


India asks world to target terror sanctuaries

President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil addressing students of Visva-Bharati University at Santiniketan in West Bengal. (Right) The President inaugurating an exhibition of Tagore’s original paintings at Kala Bhavan. Governor of West Bengal M.K. Narayanan (R) is also seen.

President Pratibha Patil on November 29 said challenges like injustice and repression could be met with Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s message of fortitude, openness of mind and optimism of spirit without getting entrapped in prejudices. Addressing students and faculty members of Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, West Bengal, President Patil said the greatest service to the poet’s memory in the 150th year of his birth would be to live by the ideals he espoused.

Excerpts from the President’s speech: “I am very happy to be here at the Visva-Bharati University, in a year when we are celebrating the 150th Birth Anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. I begin by paying my highest homage to one of the noblest sons of India. He was, undoubtedly, a poet of excellence and became the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. The poignancy of his poetry was matched by his writings as a novelist, essayist and as a story teller. In his works, the depth of human feelings, the aspirations of a nation, and the oneness of the human race were all expressed through a deep understanding of the wisdom of the past and expectations of the future. Besides, his multi-faceted personality saw him in a role as an educator, and a social reformer, a musician and a composer, an actor and a painter. He has left an indelible mark in the annals of history.

Today, I will be inaugurating an exhibition of the original paintings of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore at Santiniketan, which has the biggest treasure of his best works. It is for the first time, after many decades, that Visva-Bharati has made it possible for many to have a glimpse of these paintings, to see how great a painter Tagore was, and how he was a harbinger of an art movement in India.

Gurudev Tagore was a great intellectual who strongly believed that a human being must seek truth and must contribute to human welfare. He emphasised the importance of building educational institutions, where high standards of learning would be maintained. He believed that education should aim to make individuals understand the world in which they live, and to be conscious of their moral and social responsibilities. While coining the basic principle of education, he also remembered the argument in favour of freedom — based on the ancient Sanskrit sayings such as ‘sa vidya ya vimuktaye’, which means “that is education which liberates”.

Tagore decided to introduce the indigenous system of teaching and learning. He began translating his ideas into action first by setting up Brahmavidyalaaya in 1901 and later in 1921 by establishing Visva-Bharati. He sought to build a space where students lived close to nature, and studied in an atmosphere of trust and freedom.

Speaking about Visva-Bharati in New York in 1930, he said, ‘I established my institution in a beautiful spot where the children had the greatest freedom under the shade of ancient trees... We are building up our institution upon the ideal of the spiritual unity of all races.’ In the 150th year of his birth, as we celebrate the triumph of these innovative ideas, the greatest service that we can render to Gurudev’s memory, is to live by the ideals he espoused.

Gurudev Tagore always kept human beings at the centre of the universe. It was his belief that if every person strove hard to achieve perfection, there would be great changes in the world. He felt that disappointments and setbacks in life were not something that we need to be worried about, but rather take these as opportunities for growth, and for breaking barriers that limit our thinking. Continued on page 4

Continued on Page 4

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Telecommunications, a success story of India: PM

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh addressing the ‘India Telecom 2011’ conference in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh inaugurated the sixth edition of the India Telecom series, ‘India Telecom 2011’, with the theme “m-Powering India” on December 7, in New Delhi. Inaugurating the event, the Prime Minister said, a strong telecommunications sector facilitated economic development and promoted at the same time social well-being.

Text of the Prime Minister’s speech: “Let me begin by complimenting the Department of Telecommunications and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) for organising the India Telecom series of conferences. All the previous India Telecom events have proved extremely useful and productive, bringing together stakeholders from all over the world to share their experiences and deliberate on issues that are of critical importance to the healthy growth of the telecom sector in our country. I am sure that this conference will be even more productive than the ones that have preceded it.

useful and productive, bringing together stakeholders from all over the world to share their experiences and deliberate on issues that are of critical importance to the healthy growth of the telecom sector in our country. I am sure that this conference will be even more productive than the ones that have preceded it.

Continued on Page 2

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