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Visva-Bharati University will soon get the ‘heritage’ tag from UNESCO

Visva-Bharati University will soon get the ‘heritage’ tag from UNESCO to take the distinction of world’s first living heritage university.
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Visva-Bharati University will soon get the ‘heritage’ tag from UNESCO to take the distinction of world’s first living heritage university.

Important Points

History of Visva-Bharati University
  • Visva-Bharati is a public central university and an Institution of National Importance located in Shantiniketan, West Bengal, India.
  • It was founded by Rabindranath Tagore who called it Visva-Bharati, which means the communion of the world with India.
  • When founded in 1921 on 1,130 acres of land, it was named after Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore until Visva-Bharati Society was registered as an organisation in May 1922.
  • Rabindranath donated some of his property, including land and a bungalow, to the society.
  • Until Independence, it was a college and the institution was given the status of Central University in 1951 through a central Act.
  • Its first vice-chancellor was Rathindranath Tagore, the son of Rabindranath Tagore, and the second vice-chancellor was grandfather of another Nobel Laureate economist Amartya Sen.
  • Rabindranath believed in open-air education and introduced that system at the university, which prevails to date.
  • In 1922, Visva-Bharati was inaugurated as a Centre for Culture with exploration into the arts, language, humanities, music and these are reflected in diverse institutes that continue in their educational programmes, which are based on the founding principles of excellence in culture and culture studies.
  • As originally intended, these serve as institutes for Hindi studies (Hindi Bhavan), Sino-Asian studies (Cheena Bhavan), centre for humanities (Vidya Bhavan), institute of fine arts (Kala Bhavan), and music (Sangit Bhavan).
  • The structures in these institutes constitute a myriad of architectural expressions which are as diverse as the Kalo Bari, a mud structure with coal tar finish and sculpture panels; Mastermoshai studio, a single storied structure built for the first principal of Kala Bhavan, Nandalal Bose; murals and paintings on Cheena and Hindi Bhavan, created by the illustrious artists like Benodebehari Mukhopadhyay, Nandalal Bose, Surendranath Kar, Somnath Hore with active involvement of students.
  • The development comes 11 years after the Union Culture Ministry appealed for the second time to secure the status of UNESCO heritage site for Santiniketan [Visva Bharati] to get recognition for Tagore’s cultural ark in the run-up to his 150th birth anniversary in 2010.
  • The UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.
  • This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.
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