Edinburgh hosts UK’s first centre celebrating India’s Rabbie Burns

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A CENTRE dedicated to the life and works of a man described as India’s bard and the Bengali Shakespeare is being launched at a conference in Edinburgh this weekend.

Rabindranath Tagore, who was the first non-white Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1913, penned thousands of poems and songs before his death in 1941, with his work translated into hundreds of languages.

Now, 150 years after his birth, the first UK hub of its kind dedicated to the writer has been established  at Edinburgh Napier University’s Institute of Creative Industries.

ScoTs, The Scottish Centre for Tagore Studies, will promote Indian culture, education, philosophy, art and literature by highlighting Tagore’s legacy.

Today (Friday 4th), delegates including the High Commissioner of Bangladesh, will join Tagore scholars from across the world, to celebrate ScoTs creation at a three day event at Edinburgh’s Gillis Centre.

It follows an agreement with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), which will bring Professor Indra Nath Choudhuri, Academic Director of the Indira Gandhi Institute, to the University as Scotland’s first ICCR Chair in Tagore Studies.

The ICCR is also funding two PhD fellowships dedicated to researching the works of the influential author.

Rabindranath Tagore had strong links to Scotland, mainly through his firm friendship with the pioneering town planner Sir Patrick Geddes, but his grandfather, entrepreneur Prince Dwarkanath, was also honoured with the Freedom of the City award by Edinburgh in 1845.

Edinburgh Napier has the second largest Indian student population of any Scottish university.

Dr. Bashabi Fraser, Lecturer in Literature and Creative Writing at the University, said: “ScoTs will celebrate the life, teaching and vision of Rabrindranath Tagore, whose spirit continues to inspire.

“The centre is ideally placed to promote cultural connections between Scotland and India and will highlight Tagore’s importance to a new audience.

“By working alongside other European organisations and cultural bodies we’ll be able to spread Tagore’s influence and attract research interest from far and wide”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs in the Scottish Government said: “Rabrindranath Tagore was India’s greatest artist, musician and poet and had many close ties to Scotland. ScoTs will celebrate these connections and Tagore’s legacy, deepening the relationship between our two countries. I am delighted that the centre is being launched in this, our Year of Creative Scotland.”

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