11 Apr 2021
On 31 March 2021, Miss Sweeya Santipitaks, Consul-General of Thailand in Kolkata, invited academicians and local press and media agents to attend the Sneak Preview and Press Conference for the Exhibition on Rabindranath Tagore’s Visit to Siam (Thailand) in 1927, at her Residence in Alipore, Kolkata.
This event, which was organised in conformity with social etiquettes and hygienic precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, serves to bring attention to the general public about the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Kolkata’s academic project which resulted in the Exhibition entitled “Tagore’s Visit to Siam: Prelude to the Modern-Day Chapter of Thai-Indian Relations”.
The origin of this project came from H.E. Mr. Norachit Sinhaseni, former Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, who headed a Thai delegation and presided over a Buddhist Royal Kathina Ceremony in Kolkata in November 2016. The Royal Thai Consulate-General in Kolkata translated the said idea into concrete actions. After receiving permission and budget allocation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, the Royal Thai Consulate-General started this project in 2019 and accomplished it in September 2020. The exhibition showpieces displayed at the Residence of the Consul-General of Thailand are installed for the purpose of the “sneak preview”. They are destined to be put for permanent display in the new “Thai Gallery” at Jorasanko Thakur Bari, Rabindra Bharati Museum, under Rabindra Bharati University.
The Exhibition narrated about Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s 9-day visit to Siam in October 1927. Its highlight was Rabindranath Tagore’s royal audience with His Majesty King Prajadhipok, Rama VII, which was the first-ever Monarch of Southeast Asia to have granted Tagore this opportunity. Moreover, the Exhibition portrays Tagore’s strong interest in Buddhism, which became his main motivation in visiting Siam. Tagore had an opportunity to appreciate the Siamese hospitality and culture, which reminded him of the ancient Indian civilisation in many aspects. The message of this Exhibition focused on Rabindranath Tagore’s contribution to the Thai-Indian cultural relations, which went far beyond his lifetime and have been perpetuated up to the present day.
Beyond Tagore’s contribution, the Exhibition also contains a section dedicated to Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, younger sister of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua, Rama X, who visited India many times, including the Royal Visit to Kolkata on 22 July 2014. During the said Royal Visit, Her Royal Highness visited many landmarks of Kolkata, including Rabindra Bharati Museum, and performed Thai traditional music there as a gesture of cultural exchange which captivated the heart of the Indian audience.
Through this Exhibition project, the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Kolkata aspires to commemorate the long friendship and understanding between the Thai and Indian people, through the central narration theme of Rabindranath
Tagore’s visit to Siam in 1927. The Thai Mission wishes to pay homage to His Majesty King Prajadhipok and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who contributed substantially in enriching the Thai-Indian cultural relations.
Through this Exhibition, the Royal Thai Consulate-General wishes to see the people of India, especially from Kolkata, to visit Thailand to rediscover Rabindranath Tagore’s itinerary and retrace his visit to the beautiful historical sites upon the next outbound trips.
Royal Thai Consulate-General, Kolkata
9 April 2021