Rabindranath --the pioneer of grassroot development

Sarmistha || Post On > May 20 2022 ||

The 161st birth anniversary of Rabindranath Thakur has set off a plethora of ceremonies across the country to pay tribute to the poet laureate who stands like a towering monolith in the cultures cape of the entire nation. All through his life, the poet sang the peans of human emancipation. As a thinker par excellence Rabindranath thought deeply enough about the collective salvation of the poor and the downtrodden and clearly suggested ways and means to bring them out of the vicious cycle of poverty. His pragmatic approach to drive away miseries and sufferings of the vulnerable sections of society has been a template for us to follow. It is fascinating to find that the poet with his clairvoyant vision chalked out the plan for village reconstruction with splendid results. He founded the Central Cooperative Bank in Viswabharati on Nov 22, 1927.It was he who realised that for the village people to become self- reliant the Cooperative Bank was a sine- qua - non, that is, an inevitable necessity. According to him, the formation of agricultural cooperative organisation would not only buttress the economic edifice of the country, but would also engender the spirit of concord and harmony among men, to act for collective ends. That was Rabindranath's firm conviction. Prior to the establishment of Central Cooperative Bank in Viswabharati, Tagore set up an agricultural bank in Patisar in 1907 with the sole objective of providing finance to the farmer borrowers.

This was undoubtedly a remarkable accomplishment particularly when we talk about rural banking today. The method of collective development project was adopted by Tagore keeping his eye fixed on the improvement in the sphere of education and health of the village people. With the establishment of Sriniketan in 1922, Rabindranath stressed the cohesive endeavour for the florid expression of manhood of the inhabitants of the village. He urged, " it should be our mission to restore the full circulation of life's blood into these maltreated limbs of society, to bring to the villages health and knowledge, wealth of space in which to live, wealth of time in which to work and to rest and to enjoy, respect which will give them dignity, sympathy which will make them realize their kinship with the world of men and not merely their survient position".

In order to disseminate education at all level of populace, Rabindranath embanked upon the novel idea of distance education which is running rampant now- a- days. To render health and happiness to the emaciated village folk he formed Health Cooperative Society in 1932 in Santiniketan. All these efforts were missioned to make the poor conscious of their innate strength to become self-confident. How marvellous it is to think that the poet of such an extraordinary creative verve was sensitive to the plight of the poor. He truly proclaimed, "our people need more than anything else a real scientific training that could inspire in them the courage of experiment and initiative of mind which we lack as a nation. Sriniketan should be able to provide for its pupils an atmosphere of rational thinking and behaviours which alone can save them from stupid bigotry and moral cowardiceness". 

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