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Prime Minister Narendra Modi ended his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday with a song written by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. During his address, PM Modi highlighted the work done by his government in India and said, “India is a shining example of a vibrant democracy”.
While Modi talked about vaccines, climate change and global terror, he ended his speech with Tagore’s song, saying, “I am ending my speech with the words of Nobel Laureate Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, ‘Shubho kormo pothe dhoro nirbhoy gaan, shob durbol shongshoy hok oboshaan’.”
These are the first two sentences of the song that translate to — “Boldly move forward on your auspicious path of action, May all weaknesses and doubts vanish.”
PM Modi said, “This message is as relevant in the context of today for the United Nations as it is for every responsible country. I believe all our efforts will increase peace and harmony in the world, make the world healthy, safe and prosperous.”
The song quoted by PM Modi has special significance as it is a nod to Shyama Prasad Mukherjee who founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the predecessor to the BJP. Mukherjee, when he was vice-chancellor the Calcutta University, had asked Tagore to write two songs on the occasion of the foundation day of the university in 1935.
A Times of India report from 2005 said that Tagore sent the songs to Mukherjee’s office within two months, and the one PM Modi quoted on Saturday had become very popular.
Mukherjee was vice-chancellor of the Calcutta University between 1934 and 1938 and it was during his term that Tagore had delivered a convocation address in the university for the first time in Bengali.