Tagore gets a raw deal in his own Mongpu

http://www.thestatesman.net

JALPAIGURI, 12 OCT: The Jalpaiguri district Congress Seva Dal leadership today sent a memorandum to chief minister Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee drawing his attention towards the depressing state of Rabindra Bhavan and its contents at Mongpu.

The district Seva Dal chairman, Mr Swarup Mandal who recently visited Rabindra Bhavan, which is full of Tagore’s memory lamented: “It is disappointing to see that the rest house, which housed the Nobel laureate several times is in a shambles and his memorabilia uncared for.”

According to him, Mr Shishir Rahut whose father was a palanquin bearer of Rabindranath Tagore, is currently looking after ‘Rabindra Bhavan’ out of personal interest and respect.

“The rest house has several family and solo photographs of Tagore as well as painting and writing stationery used by him for the tourists to see but, all these are in dismal condition due to lack of maintenance,” he said.

“Most of Tagore’s personal and family photographs are damaged, some completely. A few days ago, a tourist was injured after he stepped on a weak wood slab of the flooring. The piece of timber snapped and is yet to be repaired,” Mr Mandal stated.

The Seva Dal leader has urged the chief minister to initiate steps to renovate the rest house.

Commenting on the situation, the rest house caretaker Mr Shishir Rahut said that there is no permanent staff to take care of the building.

“I am a cinchona plantation worker and take care of the building out of respect for Tagore. The building is under in the state government’s possession,” Mr Rahut said.

However, no one seems to know which department of the state government is responsible for the rest house’s upkeep.

Admitting so, the Darjeeling district magistrate Mr Surendra Gupta said: “The Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council is related to the maintenance of the building but no significant step has been taken to preserve the historical items. We would also write a letter to the chief minister informing him about the status of the heritage building,” Mr Gupta said.

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