Sweden hands over Tagore’s Nobel replicas

Himalayan News Service

Santiniketan, May 7:

The Swedish Academy today handed over two replicas of Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel Prize medallion to the Visva-Bharati university here, nearly 14 months after it was burgled from the varsity’s museum.

Sweden’s Ambassador to India Ingaerikson Fogh handed over the replicas (both in gold and silver) to External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh on behalf of the Swedish Academy, two days ahead of the bard’s 144th birth anniversary. Singh handed over the medallions to Visva-Bharati Vice-Chancellor Sujit Basu.

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Lok Sabha Speaker and local MP Somnath Chatterjee, West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi and Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen were present at the function. The ceremony was held against the backdrop of a protest by the Visva-Bharati employees who are angry over the transfer of the varsity’s security arrangements to a private agency.

Visva-Bharati University, whose chancellor is the prime minister, hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in March 2004 after the Nobel Prize medallion and other memorabilia of its founder Rabindranath Tagore were burgled. A Central Bureau of Investigation probe is still continuing with no significant breakthrough so far. Tagore, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1913 for his book of verses Gitanjali (1910), founded the Visva Bharati University, an idyllic educational and cultural centre, with the prize money.