Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday called on the government and the civil society organizations to get together and take up the task of preserving the tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
He emphasised they should work together to generate awareness among the larger public about the need to preserve the architectural marvels of India.
The vice president cautioned that we simply could not let our architectural gems lie buried under the weight of neglect and inertia.
“General public must desist from defacing and misusing these precious buildings and must make every effort to prevent the further degeneration of these jewels”, he said in his address after inaugurating and dedicating to the nation Shyamoli, the heritage house of Rabindranath Tagore.
Shyamoli is an experimental mud-house built at Santiniketan in 1935. The house has been recently renovated by the Archaeological Survey of India as a deposit work and is a property of Visva-Bharati at present.
The mud house was often used by Tagore as his summer retreat.
Mahatma Gandhi had also stayed with his wife at the hut during his visit to Santiniketan.
The vice president said that to Bengal, Tagore has been, and still remains to this day, an altogether exceptional literary figure, towering over all others.
“For India, especially for Bengal, he is a great institution and for the world, he was the voice, the representative of Indias spiritual heritage. He is indeed Indias pride and glory”, Naidu said, according to an official release.
Naidu said Santiniketan embodied Tagores vision of a place of learning that is unencumbered by religious and regional barriers. He added that Santiniketan was affectionately moulded by
Tagore on the principles of humanism, internationalism and a sustainable development.
The vice president also applauded Tagores effort to expand the schools relationship with the neighbouring villages of the Santhal tribal community in an attempt to help with rural reconstruction and to sensitize the students about the challenges of rural life.
Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, who said that I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the culture of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any, Naidu said that Santiniketan had successfully adapted to the changing times yet managed to preserve its essence.
Naidu said India was home to a treasure trove of cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible.
“Our heritage is our identity; it is what makes us unique and exceptional. India always held an enviable position in the world because of its rich and extremely diverse cultural heritage,” he added.
Citing that Tagore was an ardent believer in the value of protecting, nurturing and propagating our rich cultural heritage, Naidu said it is our duty and responsibility to protect every single monument and every single art form and pass it on to posterity so that they grow up in complete comprehension of Indias glorious history.
Speaking of Indias rich vernacular architecture, the vice president said that these architectural marvels would serve as models of sustainable housing to be emulated, for future architects and builders and therefore must be zealously restored where necessary and preserved.
He applauded the Archaeological Survey of India for the great restoration work of Shyamali carried out by them.
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar, state’s Fisheries department minister Bratya Basu, Vice Chancellor of Vishwa Bharati, Bidyut Chakrabarty and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
Earlier, in a note in the visitors’ book of the university, the vice president said the place embodied peace, nationalism and love for nature.
“Felt honoured and emotional to visit the renovated ‘Shyamoli’, the place where Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore lived and where Mahatma Gandhi also stayed and his detailed discussions on various issues.
“This is a place of inspiration to all of us to get motivated for peace, nationalism and love for nature. I salute the memory of the great son of the great country,” he added.
The Uttarayan complex at the central university comprises four more houses other than ‘Shyamoli’ with a well-laid out garden in front.
Tagore used to live in these houses in turns. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the university last year along with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The PM, who is also the chancellor (acharya) of the institute, had inaugurated Bangladesh Bhavan on its campus on the occasion.