The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, today visited Santiniketan in West Bengal. Prime Minister Modi received the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, at Santiniketan. Paying homage to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, the two leaders signed the visitors’ book. The two leaders then attended the Convocation of the Visva Bharati University.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister described India’s democratic system of governance as a great teacher, which inspires over 125 crore people. He said it was his good fortune to be among the learned people on this sacred land of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. He congratulated the students who received degrees today. He said that all those who studied at this University have not just received a degree, but have also become inheritors of a great legacy. The Prime Minister said that the teachings of the Vedas, which describe the entire world as one nest, or one home, are reflected in the values of Visva Bharati University.
Welcoming the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, he said that India and Bangladesh are two nations, whose interests are linked to mutual cooperation and coordination among each other. The Prime Minister said that Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore is respected widely across the world. He recalled that he had the opportunity to unveil a statue of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore in Tajikistan three years ago. He said Tagore is a subject of study in Universities across the world even today. He described Gurudev as a global citizen.
The Prime Minister said that Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore always wanted Indian students to keep abreast of developments across the world, even as they kept their Indianness intact. He appreciated Visva Bharati University for its efforts at skill development and education in nearby villages. He encouraged the University to expand this effort to 100 villages by its centenary year in 2021. He also called upon the University to work towards the overall development of these 100 villages.
The Prime Minister said that institutions such as Visva Bharati University have a key role to play in the creation of a New India by 2022. He outlined initiatives taken by the Union Government in the education sector. Speaking on the occasion of the inauguration of Bangladesh Bhavan, the Prime Minister described it as a symbol of the cultural ties between India and Bangladesh.
He said that this University and this sacred land have a history that has seen the freedom struggles of both India and Bangladesh. He added that it is a symbol of the shared heritage of the two countries. He said that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rehman is respected equally in both India and Bangladesh. Similarly, he added that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Swami Vivekananda, and Mahatma Gandhi are respected in Bangladesh as much as in India.
In the same vein, he said that Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore belongs to Bangladesh, as much as to India.
The Prime Minister said that Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s credo of Universal Humanism is reflected in the Union Government’s guiding principle of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.” He said that the shared resolve of India and Bangladesh, against cruelty and terrorism, will continue to inspire future generations through the Bangladesh Bhavan. He recalled the felicitation of Indian soldiers by Bangladesh in New Delhi last year.
The Prime Minister said that the last few years have marked a golden period in relations between the two countries. He mentioned the resolution of the land boundary issue and various connectivity projects. He asserted that the two countries have similar goals, and are taking similar paths to achieve those goals.