New Delhi: Paying homage to Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore on the eve of his birth anniversary, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday it was "significant that even after lapse of a century" he "has not lost his relevance". In a message, Mukherjee said: "I join my fellow citizens in paying homage to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, the first Nobel laureate of Asia and one of the greatest intellectual icons of India, on the occasion of his 154th birth anniversary."
Stating that it was "significant that even after lapse of a century, Tagore has not lost relevance", the president said: "On one hand, his literary exuberance continues to win him millions of fans in India and across the world. On the other hand, his ideas and concepts on subjects such as education, village reconstruction, cooperative endeavour and many others still guide our path to a better and brighter world." He further said the Nobel laureate s concept of education, modelled on the ideal of ancient Indian Tapabona encourages young learners to savour joyous education in the open outdoors rather than dry and dreary classrooms.
"The need for a symbiotic relationship between man and nature is an idea whose time has come. Similarly, Tagore s ideas on rural reconstruction based on cooperative farming, guided by the policy of self-help and mutual harmony are reflected in the concept of community colleges which are now accepted globally," said Mukherjee. "A century ago, Tagore envisaged mutual cooperation of nation and civilisation, anticipating the idea of globalisation.
"In today s strife-torn world where disruptive forces are raising their ugly heads to destroy peace and mutual friendship, Tagore s message of universalism carries solace and inspires confidence in a better future," he added. The president said that on the occasion of Tagore s birth anniversary, "let his words from Gitanjali (Song of Offerings) resonate in the air - Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake. "In 1913, Tagore became the first Indian to win the Nobel Prize for literature. He is the composer of the country s national anthem, .