New Delhi, May 5 A 35-member panel led by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was set up on Tuesday to frame guidelines to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore that falls on May 9.
According to culture ministry sources, the government is determined to celebrate the poet-nationalist's birth anniversary who wrote the country's national anthem in a befitting manner. The committee will decide the various activities to take place to mark the event.
The other members of the panel are Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee and Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was a renowned poet, novelist, musician and playwright who reshaped Bengali literature in the 19th and 20th centuries. The first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, he was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom struggle.
Apart from members of various political parties, the committee consists of academics, scholars and artists.
Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury, who is also chairman of the Parliament Standing Committee on Culture, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) president Karan Singh and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen are the other members.
The Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are also part of the committee as are the heads of the Sahitya Akademi, Lalit Kala Akademi and Sangeet Natak Akademi, which promote and preserve art and culture in the country.
The vice-chancellors of Viswa Bharati — an open air school-cum-university set up by Tagore at Shanti Niketan and Rabindra Bharati University — the ancestral home of Tagore, located in the heart of Kolkata — are also part of the committee, the sources added.
The other members are filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Padma Bhushan winner Tan Chung. Culture Secretary Jawhar Sircar will be the member secretary.
The sources said the government had formed another committee called the National Implementation Committee with the Finance Minister as its head.
It will chalk out the programmes for the anniversary celebrations. Its other members are Mamata Banerjee, Kapil Sibal, Ambika Soni and Namvar Singh, an eminent Hindi literateur and critic.
Officials said the committee would be responsible for chalking out the programmes and activities and to implement the decisions of the national committee.
"The recommendations of the committee will be considered by the government for implementation, subject to rules, instructions and practices," a source said.