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Garlanding ceremony celebrates cross-cultural ties

Page last published: 15 Dec 2011

Tagore bustOvercast skies and rain did little to dampen the enthusiasm of those who attended a special ceremony at the University on Monday 12 December 2011 which marked the presentation and garlanding of a bust of the famous Indian poet, novelist, musician and playwright, Rabindranath Tagore.

Tagore helped reshape Bengali literature, music and poetry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He won a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.

The ceremony, which featured the garlanding of the Tagore bust, was attended by Indian Consul-General, Mr Amit Dasgupta who presented the bust on behalf of the government of India, Macquarie Chancellor, The Hon. Michael Egan, Vice-Chancellor Professor Steven Schwartz and representatives of The Bengali Association of NSW.

The president of the Bengali Association, Mr Biswajit Gupta, presented a cheque on behalf of the Association to the University that will be used to fund the cost of a special new Indian-themed garden adjacent to the Tagore bust.

The presentation of the Tagore bust was the latest step in a multi-disciplinary initiative known as "Ektaal - the Great India Project", which began about two years ago to increase understanding between the two cultures by building new international relationships between Australians and Indians.

The project will create new partnerships and expand research and cultural opportunities through the offering of both academic exchanges and student scholarships as well as offering access to concert and performance programs.

The government of India pledged support by agreeing to help fund the Tagore Chair in Arts and Culture and has already donated a number of Indian-related books to the University.

Most recently, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Steven Schwartz and his team visited India to meet with existing partners and establish new research collaborations with Indian institutions.

Macquarie's scholarship support of Indian students now totals more than AUD$11 million. The scholarships will involve students from the University of Mumbai, Anna University, the University of Madras, Cochin University of Science & Technology and the University of Calcutta.
Image: Vice-Chancellor Professor Steven Schwartz, Indian-Consul General Mr Amit Dasgupta, Chancellor, The Hon. Michael Egan, Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts, Professor John Simons.