The birth anniversaries of Kobiguru Rabindranath Tagore and National Poet of Bangladesh KaziNazrul Islam were celebrated on 16 June 2019(Sunday) at Asia Culture Center, Gwangju, the birthplace of the May 18 Democratization Movement and a hub of cultural activities in the Republic of Korea. It was jointly organized by the Embassy of Bangladesh in Seoul and Bangladesh Community in Gwangju.
His Excellency Mr. Lee ByungHoon, Vice Mayor of GwangjuCity and Mr. Lee GiPyo, President of the Asia Culture Institute graced the occasion as the Guests of Honor. More than 200 guests including Korean and foreign nationals and expatriate Bangladeshis were present at the event.
The celebration commenced with the signing of the national anthems of both countries. Then the ‘Lamp of the East’, a short poem was written by Rabindranath Tagore on the Republic of Korea, was recited by a Korean national.
Bangladesh Ambassador Abida Islam, in her address of welcome, paid rich tribute to these two stalwarts of Bengali literature and culture. Comparing the democratic movements in Bangladesh and the Republic of Korea, she stated that the “May 18th Uprising of Gwangju” inspired the Koreans to bring democracy in the country and similarly, the literary works of Tagore and Nazrul were sources of constant inspirations to our freedom fighters which eventually led the country to freedom under the iconic leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. She added that their works are still relevant in today’s world and will continue to guide us in the years to come.
In his remarks, the Guest of Honour Mr. Lee ByungHoon highlighted the similarities between Bangladesh and the Republic of Korea in their struggle for democracy. He also underlined that the writings of Rabindranath Tagore and KaziNazrul Islam had a profound impact in achieving independence and expressed his optimism of enhanced cultural exchanges between the two friendly nations in the future.
The other Guest of Honour Mr. Lee GiPyo said that this celebration at the Asia Culture Center will help the Koreans understand the Bengali culture and opined that such events contribute to strengthening the people to people contact and building the cultural bridge between the two friendly countries.
Two documentaries on the lives and works of Tagore and Nazrul were screened along with the one the “May 18th”Uprising. A representative of the “May 18th Memorial” Ms. Kim Hyang Son, Professor Na Kyung Soo of Chonnam National University, discussed the “May 18th Uprising” while Dr. Narayan Chandra Paul of the same University focused on the contributions of Tagore and Nazrul in their respective remarks.
The cultural segment included songs, dances, and poems of the two legendary poets. Renowned singer Biswajit Roy captivated the guests with his beautiful rendition of Nazrul songs whereas the expatriate Bangladeshi community rendered the Tagore as well as Nazrul songs. Korean traditional Pansori performance and colorful Chinese dances added a multicultural dimension to this event. The guests were entertained with traditional Bangladeshi foods at the end of the program.