Union Minister Amit Shah paid homage to Rabindranath Tagore during a visit to the Vishva-Bharati on Sunday, crediting the Nobel laureate for turning Shantiniketan into a centre for cultural exchanges.

He said that as the Vishva-Bharati nears its centenary year, Tagore’s teachings should spread across the world, helping Indian knowledge and culture achieve international acclaim through his works.

“Tagore has not only enriched the philosophy and literature of India, but also made Shantiniketan a base for connecting Indian culture with that of many other countries,” Shah told reporters at the end of his two-hour-long visit to the central university.

He said the bard’s teachings point to the fact that the purpose of education is to overcome narrowness and know the truth.

Talking about Tagore’s contribution to the freedom movement, he said that there were two views of nationalism, the chief proponents of which were Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, and both derived their inspiration from the same source.

“I firmly believe that it was not the Nobel prize that acknowledged Tagores works, but it found its own acknowledgement by honouring Tagore,” Shah said.

The home minister said the Nobel laureate had also endeavoured for upliftment of villages along with betterment of healthcare and cleanliness.

On reaching the university, Shah paid floral tributes to the statue of Tagore at Rabindra Bhawan.

After being shown around the Uttarayan complex where Tagore lived when he was at Shantiniketan, Shah went to the ‘Upasana Griha’ (prayer house).

He then went to the Sangeet Bhavan, where the university students greeted him with a cultural programme that included folk songs and songs written by the bard.

He also interacted with all the performers following the programme.

Shah, who arrived here from Kolkata amid tight security, also visited the Bangladesh Bhavan inside the university complex for an interaction with vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty and members of the faculty.

The vice-chancellor felicitated the Union minister with a shawl and a photograph of Tagore.

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