Sept 25, Colombo: High Commissioner of India in Colombo Ashok K. Kantha visited Sri Palee College in Horana to attend Tagore Day celebrations. The foundation stone of Sri Palee College, modeled after Santiniketan, was laid by Gurudev Tagore himself on his third and last visit to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) on 20th May 1934.
Today's Tagore Day celebration at Sri Palee College - coming after more than a year of celebrations in Sri Lanka marked by various events to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore - was graced by the Senior Minister for Good Governance Ratnasiri Wickremanayake. High Commissioner Kantha was the Guest of Honour. Member of Parliament from Kalutara District, Vidura Wickremanayake also graced the event along with members of Sri Palee Past Pupil Association.
In a colorful event, students of Sri Palee College presented a dance programme followed by Rabindra Sangeet by a former pupil at Santiniketan, Weeraswena Gunatilake.
In his address, Minister Wickremanayake recalled the long association between Sri Palee College and Santiniketan and the contribution and impact of Tagore on the cultural resurgence in Sri Lanka and emphasized that Sri Palee was the most appropriate place in Sri Lanka for the commemoration of Tagore's birth anniversary as its foundation was laid by Tagore himself.
In his address, High Commissioner Kantha, recalled his earlier visit to Sri Palee in September, 2010 to launch a Commemorative Platinum Jubilee Publication "Sri Palee Vibhuthiya - The Splendour of Sri Palee" and paid tribute to Wilmot A Perera, an eminent educationist, parliamentarian, philanthropist and diplomat, whose vision resulted in the foundation of Sri Palee modeled on the line of Santiniketan.
High Commissioner underlined that Tagore's three visits to Sri Lanka had clearly left an abiding imprint and his extensive interactions with artistes and literary personalities of Sri Lanka significantly contributed to the cultural resurgence inspiring artists, dancers and singers to develop their genres to classical form.
Tagore himself was deeply impressed with the Kandyan dance and Mask dance and had adapted elements of these dance forms in his later dance dramas. He emphasized that Tagore did not bring any outside influence and helped in the cultural revival in Sri Lanka by highlighting the rich cultural heritage and traditions of Sri Lanka.
High Commissioner thanked the Government of Sri Lanka for releasing a special postal stamp on 7th May, 2011. He also highlighted a number of events organized to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Gurudev Tagore and thanked the Sri Palee family for encouraging and supporting these initiatives.
High Commissioner also referred to the speech made by Tagore in 1934 at Jaffna Central College in which he spoke about "restoration of ancient association of minds" between India and Sri Lanka through his efforts and through a direct language of art. High Commissioner referred to the successful organization of Sacred Kapilavastu Relics exposition for 23 days in which approximately 3.5 million devotees paid their homage as a reaffirmation of the ancient association of mind between India and Sri Lanka that Tagore spoke of.
High Commissioner also highlighted the visit of the President of Sri Lanka to India to lay the foundation of the University of Buddhist and Indic Studies at Sanchi along with the Prime Minister of Bhutan and that ancient association of mind that Tagore refers to is the civilizational bedrock of the multifaceted and vibrant relationship between India and Sri Lanka.
High Commissioner highlighted that the end of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations does not mean an end to the legacy of Tagore and that his works and vision would continue to inspire us.
On this occasion, High Commissioner also presented Indian musical instruments and a set of books on Mahatma Gandhi and Gurudev Tagore for use by the students of Sri Palee College.