Destruction of Rabindranath Tagore’s Puri house wall sparks row

Bhubaneswar | Monday | 21st September, 2020

Summary:

Heritage activist, students residing in Odisha’ temple town have strongly condemned the government’s decision to demolish the boundary walls of Pathepuri Hostel which is land of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

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Sprawling century old that the poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore is believed to have built on a plot of land leased from the state, the poet had stayed in Puri in 1939 and later donated the house and the land to the state government to use it in promoting education.

It has since served as boy’s hostel of Samanta Chandra Sekhar College (SCS) before being abandoned.

District administration stated that the boundary was demolished to expand the Chakratirtha Road but denied the intent to pull down the deteriorated house that has served boys hostel for the SCS College for years.

‘’We are aware of its heritage only the boundary facing the main road has been razed.

It is an ancient prone area, widening of the road will prevent accidents’’ stated by the Puri sub collector Bhabataran Sahu.

However many are not convinced and stated that the house has been neglected for years and had turned into a den for drug addicts in recent years.

Saswat Mohapatra, former student and member of SCS College’s Kriyanusthan Committee stated ‘’instead of preserving the poet’s legacy the administration is demolishing it’’.

Jagannath Culture expert Prof Prafulla Rath who suggested the idea of building library or a memorial in honor of the Viswakabi stated it was not just another plot but a pilgrimage site.

‘’Tagore was an international poet we must keep the history of his visit to Puri and his work alive’’.

Heritage activist Rajib Mohanty stated that Rabindranath was a Bengali the poet was closely associated with Odisha and even had a house in Cuttack ‘’the government can develop it as a cultural heritage site’’.

Various students of SCS College protested against the administration’s move.