Sanskriti Express – A mobile train museum, a tribute on 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore
Photo: Swagoto Modak
SANTINIKETAN REVISITED THROUGH SANKSKRITI EXPRESS
He is a man who is still the favorite fodder for researchers, he is the one who perhaps singularly produced a monstrous volume of art, literature to find it surpassed by the amount of discussion made on him and volume of literature published to dissect his life from scratch. Even today, on his 150th birth year, he generates interest and enthusiasm, which may be a cause of envy to a modern day superstar.
On 25th Baisakh, 1st month of Bengali calendar, a century and half ago, Rabindranath Tagore, the name Indians still swear by, was born. To commemorate this event there is much pomp and chaos in India, especially in West Bengal, his home state. And with a Bengali at the helm of Indian railways, it was expected that something grandiose was being planned by the railways this year for Tagore. Accordingly on 25th Baisakh, this year, railway minister Miss Mamata Banarjee flagged off the Sanskriti express from the railway museum in Howrah. This train was scheduled to camp at various stations in India particularly in West Bengal. The train was greeted with a cheering crowd wherever it stopped (Howrah, Bandel, Rishra etc.) as people thronged in large numbers in the scheduled stations to get a glimpse of it. The presence of young people in the crowd was especially very encouraging. The first days of the month of July saw large queue in Rishra station from morning. Students with their teachers as well as civilians were in it .The entry in the train was free of any cost. Five coaches of the train, each representing various stages of the poet’s life, was portrayed in the train. Valuable memorabilia and antique pieces straight out from the age Tagore lived, adorned the coaches. Laminated copies of manuscripts of Tagore’s work, quotes from his memorable works, pictures, and letters captured the great man’s journey of life from Jorasanko Thakurbari to Santiniketan and to different corners of the world. The paintings of Tagore also attracted much attention. After touring stations of Middle- Eastern railway after 25th Baisakh, the train marched to the zone of North-West Frontier Railway, then again in the stations like Malda, Asansol, Howrah and Sealdah under Eastern Railway. A survey revealed that 4.40 lakh people visited the train in the month of July; a majority being school students. 63 thousand people from Krishnanagar station alone came to see the train. The train manufactured at Howrah-Liluah workshop, had its 5 coaches named Jibonsmriti, Gitanjali, Muktadhara, Chitrorekha and Sesh-Kotha. The train’s next stop will be at east coast. The railways are happy that their venture has found popular support. They hope that the crowd count continues unabated…
Article: Sujit Sengupta, English version by Kush