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Buenos Aires Travelogue – by Rabindranath Tagore

23 February, 2021 11:58:01
Buenos Aires Travelogue – by Rabindranath Tagore

It all started a year ago in Tianjin, China, when the next meeting of the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) was announced to be scheduled in Buenos Aires. The acronym TWAS has an added suffix that reads: ‘for the developing world.’ TWAS was established by the great physicist Abdus Salam. Though Salam went on to win the Nobel Prize in Physics for the monumental contribution in elucidating the fundamental forces of nature, his biggest legacy to my mind if his translation of his deep concern for Science in the developing world, covering Asia, Africa and Latin America. Thus came up the creation of International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP).

Argentina has always been known in the culture map of India for the enthralling meeting of Rabindranath Tagore and Victoria Ocampo in Buenos Aires in the year 1924.

Located in the northern Italian city of Trieste, ICTP is situated in the seductive surroundings of the Adriatic Sea, flanked by the beautiful Miramare Castle. Over the years it has helped generations of third world scientists, in terms of state-of-the-art library and computational facilities as well as visitors’ programmes. TWAS was thus called The Third World Academy of Sciences when Salam founded it. Unlike other academies of sciences that were country specific, TWAS is unique, catering to all countries across the globe. 

Argentina has always been known in the culture map of India for the enthralling meeting of Rabindranath Tagore and Victoria Ocampo in Buenos Aires in the year 1924. Visva Bharati had previously honoured Ocampo with the highest award Desikottama. Unfortunately, the several documents of their meetings that Ocampo’s secretary tried to hand over to Visva Bharati were not taken or preserved. Apparently Gurudev on the famous sea voyage to Latin America in 1924, did not know Ocampo. He was accompanied by Leonard Elmhirst on that voyage who was one of the pioneers in the reconstruction of rural Sriniketan. 

When they reached the port city of Rio De Janerio of Brazil, Tagore was struck with Influenza. They were earlier planning to ride a train through Andes in a cross-country trip to Lima in Peru to attend a commemorative convocation. However, the flu-stricken Tagore was so sick that he was advised to be taken to Buenos Aires. He was booked in the Plaza Hotel. Ocampo lived about 50 kms away and rushed in at the news. 

(To be continued)
(Inspired by A random Walk in Santiniketan Ashram by Sushanta Dattagupta)

Story Tag:
  • Rabindranath Tagore, Victoria Ocampo

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