Tagore Program on Literature, Culture, & Philosophy

line drawing of person's profileRabindranath Tagore (1861 - 1941), Bengal's iconic literary and spiritual polymath whose teachings and philosophy are just as relevant today as they were in the 19th century, received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. Tagore was a poet, novelist, a short story writer, playwright, musician, composer and painter. A humanist to the core, Tagore was also a political and social reformer and educator who worked ceaselessly to promote multicultural, spiritual and social understanding. Visva-Bharati, a university established by him in 1923, was particularly intended to embody these values. Tagore’s wide-ranging intellectual interests and passions led to many deep and lifelong friendships with, among others, luminaries like Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Einstein.

The Tagore Program on Literature, Culture and Philosophy at UC Berkeley honors Rabindranath Tagore by fostering a greater understanding and appreciation of his life, legacy and the historical moment in which he lived.

The seed money for the Tagore Program on Literature, Culture and Philosophy at UC Berkeley was provided in 2018 by Drs. Maya and Sakti Das, both long time supporters of Bangla Studies at UC Berkeley as well as of the Institute.

The Mission & Future Goals

The Institute for South Asia Studies aims to raise a minimum of a $1 million dollar endowment in support of two goals.

The first is a visiting professorship in Tagore-related studies at UC Berkeley. Using money generated from the endowment, the Institute will invite a professor to Berkeley for up to a semester to teach a course on some aspect of Tagore. This person can be from any discipline and will be affiliated with the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies as well as the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies. In addition to teaching a class, the visiting faculty person will also organize a symposium/workshop focused on their area of research and interest.

The second goal of the Tagore Program is to fund student travel and study at Santiniketan or a university or library that houses the work of Tagore, host a bi-annual distinguished lecture and/or performance series featuring prominent Tagore scholars, artists and performers, offer a triennial prize for the best doctoral dissertation or book on Tagore or his legacy, promote the translations of his works, and create a regular speaker series on Tagore’s literary persona. 

The Bhushan & Santosh Khashu Research Award

As one step closer to this goal, the Institute is proud to announce the Bhushan & Santosh Khashu Research Award. Established with a generous contribution from Dr. Bhushan Khashu and his wife, Dr. Santosh Khashu, both prominent physicians and philanthropists from New Yorth, this award supports graduate students pursuing research projects on the life and legacy of Rabindranath Tagore and provides for one award of up to $5000 for research travel to South Asia. Students may propose to conduct research in Santiniketan, West Bengal or at another location relevant to Tagore’s life. Get more information about the Bhushan and Santosh Khashu Award.  

Why UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley is uniquely positioned to host the Tagore Program on Literature, Philosophy and Culture.

UC Berkeley offers both language- focused and content-based courses in Bangla. Since its inception in 2005, the Bangla program has fulfilled its unique potential through sustained student participation and scholarly engagement with the Bengali language, culture and society across the borders of the two Bengals. The distinguished Bangla teaching program is a particularly important part of the Bangla eco-system at UC Berkeley. Through it students are exposed to the depth and range of Bangla language and culture. Students who learn Bangla invariably encounter Rabindranath Tagore’s writings. The Tagore Program will offer them additional opportunities to learn about and appreciate his work.

The proposed Tagore Program will also augment other allied programs under the Institute for South Asia Studies such as the Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies and will provide many opportunities for collaboration with institutions in Bangladesh where Tagore spent many years of his creative life.

Ways to Give

The University of California at Berkeley invites alumni, parents and friends to join in supporting the Tagore Program at UC Berkeley. Gifts from families, businesses, and other organizations are also encouraged. Gifts may be given in the following forms:

  • Outright cash contributions, tax-deductible within certain limits of law
  • A pledge to be paid over several years
  • Gifts of securities
  • Matching gifts by employers. Many companies match gifts from retirees and board members as well as employees
  • Bequests

All donations are tax deductible. All individuals donating above $500 will be acknowledged on the Institute’s web

black and white image of Rabindranath Tagore

page. All individuals donating above $1000 will also receive a personalized certificate of appreciation from the Institute acknowledging their support.

For more information on giving opportunities, please contact:

Anirban Gupta-Nigam
Associate Director, Institute for South Asia Studies
(510) 642-3608
anirbangn@berkeley.edu