Bangla prez to pay tribute to Tagore in Rilbong today

Balat another destination to reminisce about 1971 War

SHILLONG: President of Bangladesh Md Abdul Hamid will pay tribute to Rabindranath Tagore in Rilbong during his visit to the state on Friday.
As per the itinerary, the President will lead a large delegation, mostly family members, to the places associated with the Nobel laureate in the evening.
Prior to this, he will fly to Balat village in a chopper from Guwahati on Friday around 12.45 pm as he wanted to reminisce the time when he helped to set up a camp for training in the village for Bangladeshi youths fighting against Pakistan during the Liberation War.
The first lady of Bangladesh, Rashida Khanam, and other relatives will also accompany him.
He will leave Balat at 2 pm and arrive at Raj Bhavan at 3 pm.
Chief Secretary Y Tsering said later the Bangladesh president will visit both Brookside and Jit Bhumi in Rilbong.
Tagore visited Shillong on three occasions. He stayed at Brookside in Rilbong in 1919 in an Assam-type building, which is now called Rabindranath Tagore Art Gallery and is currently maintained by the Meghalaya Arts and Culture Department.
Later, a life-size statue of the bard was erected in 2011. During his stay at Jit Bhumi in Rilbong in 1923, Tagore wrote the drama Raktakarabi (Red Oleanders) and a poem Shillong Er Chithi (Letters from Shillong).
During Tagore’s third visit in 1938, he stayed at Sidli House on Upland Road, Laitumkhrah that once belonged to Maharani Manjula Devi.
After Shillong MP Vincent Pala’s relative bought Sidli House in 2010, the old structure was razed to the ground to pave way for a new building.
The chief secretary said that though the president primarily came to Delhi, he wanted to visit some of the historical places in Meghalaya.
“He also wanted to visit Tura and other parts of Garo Hills but could not arrange due to paucity of time,” the official said.
After his visit to Rilbong, he will come back to Raj Bhavan before proceeding to Guwahati the next day.