Shantiniketan to Bag World Heritage Tag With UK’s Help


London: Britain, known for its global expertise in heritage management is now planning to offer West Bengal help in getting the world heritage tag for Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s Shantiniketan, reported a leading English daily.  UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), says British companies have the scope of “providing technical support for bid for World Heritage site status already being considered”.

It says that Bengal requires technical assistance and UK can provide everything from “heritage consultancy, civil and transport engineering, cost consultancy and museum curation”. The Archeological Survey of India has submitted a proposal to UNESCO to make Shantiniketan a world heritage site way back on January 20, 2010. It however has failed to impress UNESCO’s world heritage committee.

Shantiniketan was earlier called Bhubandanga (named after Bhuban Dakat, a local dacoit), and was owned by the Tagore family. In 1862, Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, Rabindranath’s father, gave the name Shantiniketan (abode of peace). In 1901, Tagore started a school at Shantiniketan named Brahmachary Ashram modeled on the lines of the ancient gurukul system. After he received the Nobel Prize, the varsity was renamed Visva Bharati.

The report which will help British companies “win large-scale overseas contracts” was prepared on the eve of chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s maiden trip to United Kingdom from July 26-30. The UK India Business Council (UKIBC) and the British companies who will hjold a series of round tables with Banerjee on how they can work in Bengal is expected to bring up the projects and ideas suggested by this scoping study.