Shantiniketan, Tagore’s Karmabhoomi
Dec 22nd, 1901, Rabindranath Tagore (first nobel laureate of India) established Shantiniketan, 212kms north of Kolkata in Bolpur. It was his dream to provide open air, gurukul like atmosphere to the students instead of class room within four walls for studies. He named the University as Vishva Bharati, a place of Universal knowledge and culture.
According to him… In childhood we learn our lessons with the aid of both body and mind, with all the senses active and eager. When we are sent to school, the doors of natural information are closed to us; our eyes see the letters, our ears the abstract lessons, but our mind misses the perpetual stream of ideas from nature, because the teachers, in their wisdom, think these bring distraction, and have no purpose behind them … so the growth of the child’s mind is not only injured, but forcibly spoiled.
In Shantiniketan I saw how he implemented his ideas of education. Vast grounds, with huge shady trees, some buildings and a huge cordoned off area; it is here students sat around Tagore himself. Finally I was at my dream destination. Since my childhood days I had been hearing of this place, I had seen people who passed out of this university were looked upon with so much respect, lucky to have such opportunity in life. Most students from here are from arts and humanities fields.
The several departments here are: Vidya-Bhawan – a School of research Siksha, Cheena Bhawan – school of Sino-Indian studies, Kala-Bhawan – a School of fine arts, Sangeet Bhawan – a School of music and dancing, Sri Niketan – an institution of rural construction.
Once you reach here you will be flocked by a group of people who call themselves guides. Most buildings around this university are well marked with boards and description, but since the place is a huge one it is difficult to figure out where to start and where to end. No maps are provided. So a guide can be helpful in that respect alone, else it is best to explore on your own. The Shantiniketan grounds are open to public only the later part of the day, when school hours are over.