Rabindranath Tagore, an Indian poet, philosopher and social reformer, is the “widest common ground” between India and Turkey, according to an Indian academic based in Turkey.
“We are at a point where we can work together, live together … and take this relationship higher and higher to a strategical level and diversify in all works of life,” Omair Anas, an international relations professor at Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University, said regarding the Indian-Turkish ties.
His remarks came Wednesday during an event titled “Rabindranath Tagore: Common Grounds for India and Turkey”, which was organized by the Indian Embassy in Ankara as part of a series of events to mark India’s 75th year of independence.
“Rabindranath Tagore is one of the strongest pillars and one of the widest common ground where we all Indians and Turks can come together and make a better world, society, and relationship, and can cooperate on everything possible regarding our bilateral ties,” Anas continued.
On Tagore’s effect in the Ottoman era and early republic days, the academic said: “When I started my research in Turkey, especially about India, I was so surprised to find many references about Rabindranath Tagore, especially in Ottoman Turkish.”
“I was not aware that the Ottoman Turks, especially the late Ottoman Turks, and then early republic, or intellectuals in Turkey were so fascinated of Tagore and his words,” he said, showing a couple of newspaper articles in which Tagore’s name and works were appreciated.
He added that the Ottoman Turkish language was “among the first languages” to which many works of Tagore were translated at that time.
Turkey, India ‘have no bilateral issues,’ envoy says
Also addressing the event, India’s Ambassador to Turkey Sanjay Panda said the two countries have “very deep” historical civilization and cultural ties.
“We do not have any bilateral issues between our countries. It is actually some external issues which threaten sometimes to take a hostage to this strategically important relationship between India and Turkey,” he stated.
On Tagore, Panda said that there is “no second person similar” to him as his ideas are respected and used as a guide even by freedom fighters from different ideologies.
He recalled that Tagore was called a “wise teacher” by Mahatma Gandhi, India’s freedom icon.
Tagore was born on May 7, 1861 and died on Aug. 7, 1941.