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News updates of coronavirus (COVID19) have been flooding the media recently. Amidst the scares, Visva Bharati in Santiniketan has postponed the festival of Basanta Utsav, a century-old tradition. The celebration of spring was started by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore himself at the university. Every year, the festival takes place on the day of Holi which was supposed to be on March 9 this year.
This decision is a result of a meeting of the executive council of the university on March 6, in response to the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) precautionary advice that all universities and colleges in the country must avoid large gatherings on account of the rapidly spreading virus. Approximately five lakh people were expected to participate in the celebration.
Reports mentioned that Sushovan Banerjee, the President’s nominee to the University’s executive council said, “We were keen on organising the festival this year. The state government was also willing to extend all its cooperation. The crowd this year was expected to be about five lakh. But this year Basanta Utsav is not happening”.
Basanta Utsav sees students of all departments donned in traditional yellow garments, participating in a musical dance choreographed to Tagore’s songs in the morning.
The university has decided to set on an alternate date post the containment of the virus.
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