The birth anniversaries of Kobiguru Rabindranath Tagore and National Poet of Bangladesh Kazi Nazrul Islam were recently celebrated in South Korea.
The celebration took place at Asia Culture Center, Gwangju, the birthplace of the May 18 Democratization Movement and a hub of cultural activities in the Republic of Korea.
It was jointly organised by the Embassy of Bangladesh in Seoul and Bangladesh Community in Gwangju, said the Bangladesh Embassy in Seoul on Thursday.
Vice Mayor of Gwangju City Lee Byung Hoon and President of the Asia Culture Institute Lee Gi Pyo attended the programme as guests of honour.
More than 200 guests including Korean and foreign nationals and expatriate Bangladeshis were present at the event.
The celebration started with the signing of the national anthems of both countries.
Then the ‘Lamp of the East’, a short poem written by Rabindranath Tagore on the Republic of Korea, was recited by a Korean national.
Bangladesh Ambassador Abida Islam, in her welcome address, paid rich tribute to these two stalwarts of Bengali literature and culture.
Comparing the democratic movements in Bangladesh and the Republic of Korea, she said that ‘May 18th Uprising of Gwangju’ inspired Koreans to bring democracy to their country.
Similarly, the works of Tagore and Nazrul were sources of constant inspirations for freedom fighters during Bangladesh’s War of Independence, she said. The national eventually won its freedom under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Abida said that Tagore and Nazrul’s works are still relevant in today’s world and will continue to guide us in the years to come.
Lee Byung Hoon highlighted the similarities between Bangladesh and the Republic of Korea in their struggle for democracy.
He also underlined that the writings of Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam had a profound impact in achieving independence and expressed his optimism of enhanced cultural exchanges between the two friendly nations.
Lee Gi Pyo said this celebration will help Koreans understand the Bengali culture. He said that such events contribute to strengthening the people to people contact and build cultural bridge between the two friendly countries.
Two documentaries on the lives and works of Tagore and Nazrul were screened along with the one the ‘May 18thUprising’.
A representative of the ‘May 18th Memorial’ Kim Hyang Son, Professor Na Kyung Soo of Chonnam National University, discussed the ‘May 18th Uprising’. Dr Narayan Chandra Paul of the same University focused on the contributions of Tagore and Nazrul in their respective remarks.
The cultural segment included songs, dances, and poems of the two legendary poets.
Renowned singer Biswajit Roy captivated the guests with his rendition of Nazrul songs whereas the expatriate Bangladeshi community rendered the Tagore as well as Nazrul songs.
Korean traditional Pansori performance and colorful Chinese dances added a multicultural dimension to this event.