Stalin Blocked Out Tagore's Criticism of Communism

Vinay Shukla/Moscow
Stalin Blocked Out Tagore's Criticism of Communism
Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, who had allowed legendary poet Rabindranath Tagore to visit Moscow in 1930, was irked by his critical assessment of the Communist system and had barred a daily from publishing his interview, a top academic has said.

"On the orders from Stalin, Izvestia daily did not publish Gurudev's interview in 1930, which was published by the same daily 58 years later in 1988 under Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika," Prof Sergei Serebryanny of the Russian State Humanities University here said.

He was speaking at a function organised at the Indian embassy to initiate Gurudev's 150th birth anniversary celebrations in Russia.

Serebryanny said Tagore was impressed by the Soviet system's achievement in providing education to all, but irked the Stalin regime by criticising the freedom of mind and expression.

"Gurudev's Letters from Russia were translated into Russian and first published 50 years ago during his birth century celebrations in USSR.

But his letter number 13, critical of Communist system's lack of freedom and other shortcomings was not published," Serebryanny recalled.

The function organised jointly by Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre (JNCC) of the Indian Embassy and oldest association of Indians in Russia 'Hindustani Samaj' was presided over by new ambassador Ajai Malhotra.

Paying tributes to Gurudev as a multifaceted personality, an outstanding humanist, educationist and patriot Ambassador Malhotra pointed that Tagore's interest in the situation of the people of Russia, chronicled in his book Letters from Russia after a visit there in 1930, was also censored by the British rulers of India.

He appreciated that the school children of Art Studio of the small Protvino town near here were also present at the function attended by eminent Russian indologists at which Indian and Russian artists performed Rabindra Sangeet and dances.

Malhotra expressed confidence that in the changed political scenario through the Tagore anniversary celebrations in Russia, the younger generation of the country would receive a wider exposure to his works and ideas.
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