Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tenure over, envoy continues Tagore tryst

Twenty-four thick and short volumes squat on the racks of the Chinese consulate in Salt Lake. Pick any one and leaf through the pages. To the average Calcuttan, the Chinese letters will be all Greek. Till one looks at the cover where in golden letters is inscribed in Bengali the name of our greatest philosopher-poet.

Mao Siwei smiles fondly at the books. “Yes, these are the complete works of Tagore. A Chinese publisher brought this out on his 140th birth anniversary. It costs 890 Yuan, which is equivalent to Rs 6,000-plus.”

The first Chinese consul-general in Calcutta since 1962, who ends his tenure in the city this month, claims that among all languages outside India his mother-tongue has done the most for popularising Tagore.

“Every educated Chinese knows of Tagore. Last May, the Indian President unveiled his bust in Shanghai.”

Siwei himself has done his bit too. His brainchild is a China gallery in Rabindra Bharati University. “Three years ago, when the foreign minister of China was due here to open the consulate, he wanted to see Tagore House. When I went there to make the arrangements, I saw the Japan gallery and suggested to the vice-chancellor that there be one on Tagore’s link with China too. His visit in 1924 is important in our cultural history.”

Full report here Telegraph 

No comments:

Post a Comment