KOLKATA: The 80th death anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore was observed in West Bengal in a low-key manner on Sunday due to the pandemic situation with organisations and people paying homage to the Nobel laureate by organising virtual programmes and uploading pictures of the bard.

At Visva-Bharati University, founded by Tagore at Santiniketan in 1921, Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty observed ‘Baise Srabon’, the death anniversary of the Bard, by praying on the campus in the company of select few faculty members, shunning the usual gathering.

The occasion was observed with due solemnity, but the number of people attending was below 30, far less than pre-Covid times, a university official said.

Tagore died at the age of 80 on August 7, 1941, according to the Gregorian calendar.

But his death anniversary is observed on ‘Baise Srabon’ (22nd day in the month of Srabon) of the Bengali calendar.

At Nimtala crematorium in the city, where the mortal remains of Tagore were consigned to flames in 1941 on this day, floral wreaths were placed at the memorial, sans any function.

The Rabindra Bharati Society, a cultural organisation, hosted a programme ‘Diner Seshe Ghumer Deshe’ (The land of slumber at day’s end), based on the lyrics of the bard’s famous composition, on zoom where educationist Pabitra Sarkar and singers Swapna Ghosal, Sampa Kundu among others participated.

“We could not hold it at Jorasanko due to the COVID-19 crisis. Hence we opted for the virtual mode like in the past year,” an office-bearer said.

Education minister Bratya Basu was slated to attend a function at the Bard’s birthplace in Jorasanko in north Kolkata but could not attend it due to some other commitments.

A floral tribute was paid to the Nobel laureate by the Rabindra Bharati University authorities by no cultural function was held.

Ashramite Supriyo Tagore, Shubhra Tagore, elocutionist Sujoy Prasad Chatterjee and others observed the day by ‘Briksharopan’ (planting trees ) at Santiniketan.

Tagore family descendant Supriyo Tagore said, “It is Tagore’s philosophy that we celebrate an event through ‘Brikkhoropon’ ritual. It shows how nature is important in our life.”

The programme was held in collaboration with SPCKraft, Elmhurst Institute of Community Studies and streamed on Facebook Live.

Speaking about another virtual programme during the day, singer Sanjukta Das said, “Unlike the situation till 2019, there is no possibility of attending a cultural soiree on this day like in 2020 when the pandemic first struck.

Instead, I will be participating in a virtual function on Facebook where singers from other states and places like Singapore and Canada will sing”.