This year’s ‘Poush Mela’, a heritage cultural festival that attracts thousands of visitors to West Bengal’s Santiniketan, will take place outside Visva Bharati University’s campus.
Bidyut Chakrabarty, the university’s vice-chancellor, said on Thursday that this year’s fair cannot be held on campus due to the state government’s inaction.
We approached the state health secretary seeking advice on how to hold the fair since October this year. We sent three reminders but received no response, Chakrabarty told the media.
In contrast, the district administration says that the fair will take place at a location outside of Visva Bharati premises since the university authorities have not taken any initiative. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the varsity authorities canceled the fair in 2020. A local organization held the fair outside the campus last year in a relatively small capacity.
“This year the same social organization is organizing the fair at an alternate place outside the university campus, around 1.5 km away. The district administration is helping the organization to organize the fair. There was no initiative from the university authorities,” said Bidhan Ray, district magistrate of Birbhum.
The over-a-century-old handicraft, handloom, art, and music festival is usually held in December-end. It was inaugurated on Thursday and will continue till December 26.
Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, the father of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, founded the Poush Mela fair in 1894, which Visva-Bharati, the university founded by the bard, started organizing in 1951.