Tagore Memorial Grove, First Of Its Kind In US, Unveiled In Texas
The Tagore Memorial Grove and walking museum, one of the first in the United States to spread the message of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s borderless world, has been inaugurated here in Texas.
Tagore Grove, a free and open-air, permanent memorial of the poet’s words and thoughts, depicting his message of love, universalism and a borderless world, was inaugurated on Saturday at the Ray Miller Park in Houston in the presence of the enthusiastic diaspora, complete with Vedic chants, presentation and recitation of Tagore’s musical compositions.
Several public officials attended the unveiling, including the Consul General of India in Houston, Aseem Mahajan, Fort bend County Judge K P George, and Fort bend Commissioner Andy Myers.
Prof Jon Boles, retired Professor of American History at Rice University, Congressional Staffers of US Rep. Al Green, D-Houston, US Rep Lizzie Fletcher, and officials representing Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also attended the event.
The memorial is a collaboration between the Tagore Society of Houston (TSH) and the City of Houston Parks Department.
“The Tagore Grove Memorial has a life-size bronze statue of Tagore, unveiled in 2013, which is the only sixth full figure statue of the poet erected outside his birthplace, Kolkata, India, and the first in the US”, TSH President Gopendu Chakrabarti said while highlighting Tagore’s message of universalism and world peace.
“This is a fitting monument,” Counsel General Mahajan said while elaborating on the relevance of Tagore’s travels, writings and visions of international brotherhood in today’s world, and in Houston in particular, with it being a melting pot of different cultures.
“The memorial will have a strong connect with the city of Houston and will add to the diversity of the city. I’m sure it will promote its objective of promoting cultural exchanges and mutual understanding,” Mahajan said.
“India and the United States share a comprehensive global strategic partnership which touches all areas of human endeavour, like energy security, defence, trade and investment and growing people-to-people ties,” he said.
“The timing of the inauguration is significant as it coincides with India’s celebration of 75 years of independence (Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav) and marks 102 years of the opening of Viswa Bharati, the world university founded by Tagore,” he added.
Fort Bend County Judge George spoke highly of Tagore’s contribution as a poet, philosopher, composer and social reformer. “His writings are still relevant and impact lives in this time and age”, he said.
Houston Mayor Turner presented a proclamation appreciating the effort and passion behind starting the memorial and dedicated February 25 as Tagore Memorial Day.
The TSH received special congressional recognition from the representatives of Congressman Al Green and Congresswoman Lizzie Fletchers.
A soulful rendition of songs and works of the poet was presented at the event.
“This iconic Tagore Grove memorial seeks to be a permanent place for ‘peace and introspection’ for individuals and the community at large, comparable in potential impact as the Lincoln Memorial or the Statue of Liberty, and it is hoped that it will inspire visitors to make the world a better place for themselves and the coming generations,” Chakrabarti told PTI.
TSH, established in 1974 to spread humanistic philosophy and the universal message of Tagore as its primary and only mission, is a non-religious and non-sectarian organisation. In 2013, it completed the first phase of Tagore Grove at Ray Miller Park, complete with a full-size statue of Tagore. In 2020, it initiated the second phase of the Grove, a USD 300,000 upgrade, to convert the Grove into a free open-air memorial.
As part of the yearlong celebration of the inauguration of the Tagore Memorial and 75 years of India’s independence, TSH will conduct a Peace Concert close to Tagore’s birthday in May.
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