Tagore’s bust unveiled at Indonesian temple

Jakarta: A bronze bust of Rabindranath Tagore was Monday unveiled at an iconic 9th century Buddhist temple in Indonesia that would reflect the importance both India and Indonesia accord to the visions of the Nobel laureate, a top Indian official said.

The bust was unveiled at the majestic Borobudur temple in Yogyakarta by India’s Ambassador to Indonesia Gurjit Singh, the Indian embassy said in a statement

Rabindranath Tagore, bust by Jacob Epstein, City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham from the Sahitya Akademi Centenary Volume

 The Borobudur temple, a Unesco world heritage building, is the largest Buddhist temple complex in the world.

Calling the temple the “most iconic monument” of Indonesia, the Indian envoy said Tagore’s bust was placed at the temple premises “which reflects the closeness of our ties and importance both our great countries accord to the ideas and vision of Tagore”.

Singh said Tagore was a “revered cultural figure, a spokesman of the East”.

“As an enlightened soul, he remained in a continuous journey of search and quest to generate awareness among diverse entities and races,” he said.

Tagore’s journey to the Indonesian archipelago was one of his ongoing discoveries of an “Asian identity” which belonged to a common cradle of civilization, Singh said.

The bronze bust, sculpted in India by Janak Jhankar Nazary, professor of art history in Viswa Bharti, was gifted by India’s ministry of culture to commemorate the visit of Tagore to Indonesia in 1927.

During that visit, Tagore planted a sapling at the Borobudur temple, and sitting on the steps of the complex, wrote his poem “To Jawa” expressing his love for the Indonesian island.

Tagore visited Indonesia to discover Indian culture in Southeast Asia. His visit was mainly to connect with the intellect and culture of the region. In the process, Tagore discovered many strands of fine arts, which he took back home and incorporated in the curriculum of his university Vishwa Bharati.


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