Pranab Mukherjee opens India's first cultural centre

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Kolkata, Jun 1(UNI) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today inaugurated the country's first cultural diplomacy centre here paving the way for exclusive interaction with South East Asian nations.

''Rabindranath Tagore Centre'' an enterprise of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), is expected to become a hub for international cultural events, with artists from the South East nations exhibiting their traditional and contemporary arts.

''Cultural diplomacy is now the trend all over the world. This centre will be the hub of our cultural diplomacy with the countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar. Following the ideal of Rabindranath Tagore's universalism, it will be our endeavour to go for cultural exchange with other countries without losing our own identity,'' Mr Mukherjee said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Indian Cultural Relations Affairs President Dr Karan Singh were also present on the occasion.

Describing the centre as a hub of cultural excellence, Dr Singh said the building had been set up on a land donated by the state Government in 1990.

The four-storey complex, on a plot of 3,442 square metres, was designed by famous Indian architect Charles Correa and completed by Kolkata architect Dulal Mukherjee. It has several art galleries spread over three floors.

It also has a library and archives, along with lecture and seminar rooms, as well as a Maulana Azad Conference Centre.

The art galleries have been named after luminaries from Bengal - Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy and Ramkinkar Baij.

A 280-seat auditorium has been named after Bengal's foremost film maker Satyajit Ray.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said the state Government would set up a similar centre at Rajarhat on the eastern fringe of the city with the help of corporate houses.


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