Tagore and Sri Lanka Academic Seminar
A one-day seminar on “Tagore and Sri Lanka” organised by the Indian
Cultural Centre, Colombo, in association with the Lakshman Kadirgamar
Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies and the
Centre for Contemporary Indian Studies, University of Colombo was held
on June 12.
The seminar was organised as part of the 150th birth anniversary
celebrations of Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore.
The seminar commenced with a welcome address by Asanga
Abeyagoonasekera, Executive Director of Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute
for International Relations and Strategic Studies.
Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India addressed the gathering.
This was followed by the inaugural address by the chief guest, Dr.
Sarath Amunugama, Senior Minister for International Monetary
Cooperation, who emphasised the friendly relations between India and Sri
Lanka and recalled that during difficult negotiations with the IMF and
the World Bank, India had supported Sri Lanka. The Minister highlighted
that the strong foundation of India- Sri Lanka relations was based on
geographical proximity, history, common cultural space and
The seminar mainly focused on the travels of Tagore to Sri Lanka and
the cultural linkages they served to enhance. It was divided into five
sessions, including three academic sessions and the inaugural and
Eminent Indian author, historian and educationist, Prof. Bharati Ray,
who is currently Vice President, Indian Council for Cultural Relations,
New Delhi, delivered the keynote address titled “ Through the Prism of
Travel: Rabindranath Tagore’s Internationalism” at the seminar.
She underlined three aspects related to Tagore, namely universalism,
education and cultural exchanges. She underlined the impact of Tagore’s
visits to Sri Lanka which resulted in the cultural resurgence within Sri
Lanka and at the same time, absorption of Kandyan and mask dances in
future productions of Tagore.
The seminar was coordinated by the well-known Indian author and
literary critic, Prof. Radha Chakravarty. Her presentation was mainly on
Tagore’s travels to Sri Lanka and the cultural inter-linkages.
The three academic sessions featured presentation of papers by
prominent scholars and artists.
Dr. Sushobhan Adikary spoke on the influence of Kandyan dance on
Tagore’s dance–drama and Prof. K.N.O Dharmadasa spoke about the
translations of Tagorean literature to Sinhala and its impact. Dr.
Sandagomi Coperahewa reviewed Tagore’s visits to Sri Lanka, whereas
Prof. Vini Vitharana’s paper was titled “Reminiscing within narrow
Ravibandhu Vidayapathi spoke on the influence of Tagorean dance-drama
on Sri Lankan dance-theatre and Chandraguptha Thenuwara delineated
Tagore’s influence on Sri Lankan visual arts. Prof. Tissa Kariyawasam,
in his paper, analysed Tagore as a visionary who visited Sri Lanka.
Prof. Wimal Dissanayake, author and scholar from the University of
Hawaii, presented a paper on the poetic humanism of Rabindranath Tagore.
The valedictory address was delivered by Dr. Jagath Balasuriya, Minister
of National Heritage. Dr. Radha Chakravarty, the academic coordinator of
the seminar summed up the various aspects issues deliberated in the
seminar. P. Kumaran, Deputy High Commissioner gave the vote of thanks.
The event concluded with a beautiful rendition of Rabindra Sangeet by
Charith Perera, a young and promising singer who studied music at
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Senior Research Scientist working for NASA in the United States.
The author is a well-known science writer.
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at the Public Library auditorium, Colombo 7 recently. Prof. J.B.
Disanayaka presided over the launching ceremony. Prof. Chandrasiri
Palliyaguru, Chinthana Ranasinghe and Dr. W.A. Abeysinghe addressed the
It is a Dayawansa Jayakody publication.
Jathiye Vimukthi Aragalaya
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