Inauguration of the Thai Gallery at Rabindra Bharati Museum, in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Thailand and India

Inauguration of the Thai Gallery at Rabindra Bharati Museum, in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Thailand and India

วันที่นำเข้าข้อมูล 4 Jul 2022

วันที่ปรับปรุงข้อมูล 4 Jul 2022

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On Friday 24 June 2022, the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Kolkata, in association with Rabindra Bharati Museum, invited diplomats, dignitaries, press and media agencies, academicians, representatives of museums, cultural centres and associations, as well as friends of Thailand, to the inauguration ceremony of the “Thai Gallery” at Rabindra Bharati University, Jorasanko, Kolkata. From the Thai side, Her Excellency Ms. Pattarat Hongtong, Ambassador of Thailand to India, presided over the event as Chief Guest. For the Indian side, Shri Bratya Basu, Honourable Minister-in-charge, Department of Higher Education, Government of West Bengal, graced his presence and presided as Chief Guest.

The “Thai Gallery” project started as an idea to establish a room with exhibition to narrate about Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s Visit to Siam in 1927. The said idea originated in 2016 from His Excellency Mr. Norachit Sinhaseni, former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, during the tenure of Mr. Preecha Kaensa, former Consul-General of Thailand in Kolkata (2015-2017). After discussions with Rabindra Bharati University, authority in charge of Rabindra Bharati Museum, the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Kolkata began the conceptualisation and design of the Thai Gallery room as well as the exhibition pieces, under the supervision of Ms. Sweeya Santipitaks, former Consul-General of Thailand in Kolkata (2018-2021). After approval from Rabindra Bharati University, the Thai side proceeded with the printing and framing of the physical exhibition pieces, which were completed in 2020. After that, the project was put on hold due to COVID-19 pandemic and consequent closure of universities and museums across India. It was during the tenure of Ms. Acharapan Yavaprapas, current Consul-General of Thailand in Kolkata, that the physical setup of the Thai Gallery was completed. The said physical setup involved the construction, renovation and embellishment works of an empty gallery room inside Jorasanko Thakur Bari, House of Tagore family, which was a heritage building of many centuries old, as well as the installation of the finished exhibition pieces inside the Thai Gallery.

The content of the exhibition entitled “Tagore’s Visit to Siam: Prelude to the Modern-Day Chapter of Thai-Indian Relations” was elaborated based on the research of Associate Professor Sawitree Charoenpong (Retd) from Department of History, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. She was author of Thai book “Cultivating friendship in the name of Bharat : the roles of Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Satyananda Puri and Subhas Chandra Bose in Thai-Indian relations”. The exhibition pieces were designed by a Thai contractor with help from Mr. Sumeth Jackmetha from Silpakorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.

At the inauguration ceremony at Rabindra Bharati Museum, Her Excellency the Ambassador of Thailand to India and Honourable Minister of Higher Education of West Bengal inaugurated the inauguration plaque, cut ribbons in front of the entrance doors of the Thai Gallery, lit the lamp inside the Thai Gallery Room, followed by a photo session. The said inauguration gestures were telecast to Uday Shankar Hall, main inauguration venue, which was attended by nearly 100 guests and dignitaries, and were also broadcast via the Museum’s Facebook LIVE. This activity of major importance was in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Thailand and India.

Once the Chief Guests have arrived at Uday Shankar Hall (main venue), Professor Sabyasachy Basu Ray Chaudhury, Vice Chancellor, Rabindra Bharati University, as host of the event, felicitated the Chief Guests and the Consul-General of Thailand in Kolkata. The Consul-General of Thailand in Kolkata, on behalf of the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Kolkata and her team in charge of the Thai Gallery Project, presented to the Chief Guests and the Vice Chancellor the special memorabilia in form of coins. The front side was a display of Rabindranath Tagore’s Portrait, Thai and Indian Flags, in commemoration of the inauguration of the Thai Gallery. The back side was the official logo of the 75th anniversary of the Thai-Indian relations, mutually agreed by the governments of Thailand and India.

The Chief Guest Shri Bratya Basu, Honourable Minister-in-charge, Department of Higher Education, Government of West Bengal, delivered his congratulatory remarks, followed by the remarks by Professor Sabyasachy Basu Ray Chaudhury, Vice Chancellor, Rabindra Bharati University, and the remarks by Ms. Acharapan Yavaprapas, Consul-General of Thailand in Kolkata. Her Excellency Ms. Pattarat Hongtong, Ambassador of Thailand to India, delivered her congratulatory remarks to thank both the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Kolkata and Rabindra Bharati University for the excellent collaboration which led to the success of the Thai Gallery Project.

This project serves the purpose to tell the story of Rabindranath Tagore’s Visit to Siam in 1927 (95 years ago) to Indian, Thai as well as the international public. During the said visit, Tagore had an opportunity to have an audience with His Majesty King Prajadhipok, Rama VII, who was considered the first Monarch of Asia to have granted a royal audience to the Gurudev. Apart from the said part about King Rama VII which was central to the exhibition’s storyline, another major part of the exhibition was dedicated to the modern-day linkages between Thailand and India through Thai eminent personalities who entered into both direct and indirect contacts with Rabindranath Tagore post-Tagore’s visit to Siam in 1927, and the impacts of the said personalities which were considered quite long-lasting. The important modern-day linkage in the exhibition, as mutually agreed by both Thai and Indian sides, was focused on Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s Royal Visit to Kolkata and to Jorasanko Thakur Bari on 22 July 2014, during which Her Royal Highness was received by Professor Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury, Vice Chancellor, Rabindra Bharati University.

After the speeches, Mr. Nutt Svasti-Salee, Consul, as Thai Gallery project manager, presented to the audience the video presentation on the “Making of the Thai Gallery”, which included messages and interviews from persons who played major roles in the making of the Thai Gallery project, especially all involved Consuls-General of Thailand in Kolkata from 2016 to 2022, followed by the process of the Thai Gallery making, and a walkthrough inside the Thai Gallery. After the said video presentation, both Thai and Indian sides gave interview to the members of press and media agencies during the press meeting session. The ceremony would be concluded by the vote of thanks by Dr. Subir Maitra, Registrar, Rabindra Bharati University, and the serving of colorful Thai snacks and refreshments, which had been beautifully prepared and garnered by Chef Arnda Tiansiri, personal chef of the Consul-General of Thailand in Kolkata, surrounded by Thai culinary art and craft decorations, in particular art pieces from banana leaves and carves fruits and vegetables, which gave further touches to the expression of Thai culture at the inauguration venue.

In completing this Thai Gallery project, the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Kolkata sincerely hopes that the exhibition room and the content of the exhibition would fascinate the Indian, Thai and international public and inspire Indians to travel to Thailand to follow Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s itinerary in and outside Bangkok. In the near future, the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Kolkata dreams of exploring possibilities of establishing “Tagore’s Route” for Indians of younger generation to explore and discover more deeply about Thailand, which in turn would bring about better and deeper mutual understanding and people-to-people ties. These strong bonds between the Thai and Indian nations are sure to serve as the strongest and the most important foundation upon which the bilateral relations between both countries can be furthermore strengthened at all levels and in all aspects, especially in economic and political cooperation.

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