Kolkata, Oct 28 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday urged the Centre to remove the plaques on UNESCO World Heritage Site status to Santiniketan.
Banerjee said the plaques do not bear the name of Visva-Bharati founder Rabindranath Tagore, which is an insult to the Nobel laureate.
On September 17, Santiniketan in Birbhum district was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
"Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore created a world heritage site (now recognised by UNESCO) at Santiniketan - Visva Bharati, but the current institutional authorities there have arranged site memorial plaques on this occasion which display even the Vice Chancellor's name but not the name of Gurudev," Banerjee said on X.
The plaques set up at several places in the sprawling Santiniketan campus of the central university bore the names of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is ex-officio Chancellor of the university, and Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty, but do not have any mention of Tagore who set up the varsity over a century ago.
"This insults Tagore and belittles the anti-colonial heritage-creating efforts of our Nation's founding fathers. The central government will be well advised to remove this narcissistic display of arrogant self-exhibitionism forthwith and to give Gurudev the tribute that the country owes to him," Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo, said.
The TMC supremo on Thursday criticised the varsity authorities for not inscribing the name of Rabindranath Tagore in the plaques and warned of demonstrations at Santiniketan if those were not replaced by Friday morning.
The ruling party of West Bengal on Friday launched a demonstration outside the Visva-Bharati university as the plaques were not removed.
Visva Bharati said the plaque was a temporary structure to mark Santiniketan as a world heritage site, and texts from UNESCO will be incorporated into the permanent ones.
“Established in rural West Bengal in 1901 by the renowned poet and philosopher, Rabindranath Tagore, Santiniketan was a residential school and centre for art based on ancient Indian traditions and on a vision of the unity of humanity transcending religious and cultural boundaries,” according to a UNESCO website.
The Nobel laureate poet set up a university there in 1921. Visva-Bharati was declared a central university and an institution of national importance by an Act of Parliament in 1951. PTI SCH RBT NN NN