By Can Erozden
ANKARA (AA) – Indian envoy to Turkey honored a world famous poet, writer and polymath, Rabindranath Tagore from India for his 158th birthday on Wednesday.
“Tomorrow we celebrate his 158th birth anniversary,” Sanjay Bhattacharyya said and adding that Tagore is an iconic figure as a poet, philosopher, painter, musician, patriot, revolutionary, scientist, traveller and humanist.
Bhattacharyya said that India’s pacifist independence leader Mahatma Gandhi used to call him "Gurudev" (the Great Master) and Tagore named him "Mahatma" (the Great Soul) as there was an affection between the duo.
"Tagore wrote two national anthems for India and Bangladesh. It's also true that the Sri Lankan national anthem was mostly affected by a song composed by Tagore," Bhattacharyya said and adding that he won a Nobel prize, which introduced him to the West.
Tagore won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913 becoming the first laureate of the Indian subcontinent.
He said that Tagore had a deep sense of affection for Turkey and particularly for Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, as the Indian poet was in Istanbul for two days in 1920s.
Bhattacharyya said that maybe Tagore has never really met Ataturk but they used to write to each other.
- 'Tagore very impressed by Ataturk'
"In one of those letters, Tagore asked Ataturk to contribute books for the library in Visva Bharati University (the university Tagore established) and Ataturk contributed 41 books, still in this library with a plaque saying a gift of love from Turkey.
"Tagore was very impressed by Ataturk", Bhattacharyya remarked as Tagore praised Ataturk for his bravery and farsightedness.
"Tagore writes about Ataturk and he says Ataturk reawakened the heritage of Asia. Tagore says he rekindled hope in all Asia with nationalist movement and Tagore congratulates Ataturk for being farsighted, brave and nationalist," he said.
"Tagore says while the nationalist movement, perhaps the greatest contribution (of Ataturk) was breaking conservatism and emerging from blind faith in religion and he concludes as Ataturk showed the same bravery in the reconstruction of his nation as he had earlier shown on the battlefield; for a progressive Asia, we should look towards Turkey," Bhattacharyya said and adding that Turkey wasn't unfamiliar with Tagore.
He stated that his several works were translated to Turkish such as Gitanjeli, the poem book of Tagore was translated to Turkish by Turkey's former premier Bulent Ecevit.
He added that in 2003, Turkey named an Ankara street as Rabindranath Tagore Avenue.
During Wednesday's Tagore Festival at the Indian Embassy in Ankara, a short film about his life was displayed.
One of the most famous works of Tagore, Chokher Bali was put on screen for attendees at the Indian Embassy in Ankara.
Chokher Bali is a Bengali novel written in 1903, narrating the life of a main female character, Binodini – a young widow – and her relations with three individuals.
This novel was adapted to a drama movie in 2003 as the film is also known as Chokher Bali: A Passion Play.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, 45, as Binodini is the main protagonist of this movie.
Separately, Tagore painting exhibition was held in the Indian Embassy.