Dr. Sumit Ganguly Speaks at Inaugural Tagore Center Lecture Series

L to R: Asoke Dey Sarkar, Sanchali Basu, Aurko Dutta, Ruma Acharya, Surupa Shaw, Philamena Baird, speaker Sumit Ganguly, Subbalakshmi Mohan from Indian Consulate, Mark Praigg and Paula Sutton.

HOUSTON: To build a global village at Tagore Center in the heart of a very diverse city like the City of Houston had been a dream come true for the founders Dr. Ruma Acharya and Asoke Dey Sarkar. The dream is taking shape on a 14-acre land of hope and harmony in Southwest Houston. On October 7 it held its inaugural lecture of the Tagore Lecture Series delivered by Dr. Sumit Ganguly, Tagore Chair at University of Indiana, Bloomington titled the mystical journey of Rabindranath Tagore in search of global peace and humanity.

Speaker Sumit Ganguly

The event started with light refreshments and instrumental music of Tagore playing in the background. Ruma Acharya then presented the architectural vision of the development of the complex. With its emphasis on education embracing diversity and convergence of knowledge, the complex currently  houses an Early Education Development Center and an Adult Education Center. It also includes a Visual and Performing Arts Center, an Open-Air Theater, an Art Gallery, and Fairgrounds. Its focus is to bring awareness and implement the inspirational global vision and ideals of Rabindranath Tagore with regard to art, literature, philosophy, education, global socialization, understanding of diversity, and empowerment to a broader international audience.She welcomed the foundation advisory board member Mark Praigg who briefly described Tagore’s mystic journey in search of global peace, love and humanity and introduced the speaker of the day.

Professor Ganguly spoke about the history of the relationship between India and the United States of America explaining the historical context of the relationship and pointing out that the collaboration of these two like-minded countries are vital in creating the world envisioned by Tagore. In the cold war era due to Indian Policies such as non-alignment and state-driven industrial development there was no intrinsic interest of the USA to engage with India, and thus the relationship was framed in terms of US interests and engagement with other countries such as the USSR and PRC. However, due to PRC’s current aggressiveness and India’s opening up the economy after the end of the cold war cooperation is now possible. This has been aided by the growing influence of the Indian American diaspora and the civilian nuclear agreement between the two countries. This has led to US strategic aid such as supplying India real-time troop movement information to assist her in defending its borders. The relationship has become multifaceted, and while challenges remain it is vital to strengthen this relationship to prevent rise of ethnic nationalism and backsliding of democracy in both countries.

The lecture was followed by a lively question and answer session moderated by Indo-American Radio news commentator Sanchali Basu.

The event was attended by dignitaries such as Ms. Subalaxmi Mohan representing the Indian Consulate, representing Fort Bend County Commisioner’s office, noted philanthropists Philomena and Arthur Beard, scientist Professor James Tour, and members of the local interfaith community as well as Indian-Americans.