Bolpur: Making a plea to protect the legacy of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore at Shanti Niketan on Tuesday, President Pratibha Patil said the world can take strength from his message to face challenges with fortitude.

Patil said, “Gurudev has spent a large part of his life here. He was committed to this place where peace prevails. It is incumbent on us to preserve the legacy of Gurudev in Santiniketan.”

While addressing a function at Visva-Bharati University to mark the 150th anniversary of Tagore and appreciating the restoration and renovation activities at the Uttarayan Complex, including the Pampa Lake, she said, “It is for this reason that he had an abiding faith in humanity. While speaking of injustices and repression, he saw a possibility of change, as long as human beings did not get entrapped in their prejudices.”

"Today, even as the world is facing with innumerable challenges we can take strength from his message to face challenges with fortitude, openness of mind and an optimism of spirit," she said.

Observing that Gurudev inspired a whole generation during his lifetime and continued to live in the hearts of millions, Patil said, "The agility with which we respond to new circumstances is a measure of our preparedness for taking advantage of emerging situations."

President Pratibha Patil also inaugurated an exhibition of Tagore's original paintings, besides attending other programmes at Santiniketan.

The President visited Uttarayan Complex in the Visva-Bharati University where Rabindranath Tagore stayed and attended a one-hour-long cultural programme there.

She then visited Kala Bhavan in the University and inaugurated an exhibition of Tagore's original paintings.

"It is for the first time, after many decades, that Visva-Bharati has made it possible for many to have a glimpse of these paintings, to see how great painter Tagore was, and how he was a harbinger of an art movement in India," Patil said.

Patil also paid tributes to the poet whose 150th birth anniversary is being celebrated in the country.

"I am very happy to be here at the Visva-Bharati University, in a year when we are celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore," she added.

(JPN/ Bureau)