Visva Bharati is in a dampened spirit now. In consequence writing about Visva Bharati in this website ‘muktodhara’ is a strained job at this moment. With Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) knocking at the doors of this university, we are again both sorry and amused at this latest ritual. Last time, at the time of Nobel Medallion theft CBI left the university empty handed. Nobody knows what would be the results of their latest foray!
In the meanwhile at the outskirts of Santiniketan, ‘Babla’ trees are at bloom, attracting a variety of butterflies. To me, such events are much more refreshing than being engaged with Visva Bharati, which is a big damp squib these days.

In nearby Islampur village Shamukkhol birds in large herds have started to arrive for their nesting time, which would last till November. There are four big ‘Tentul’ trees, which remains till now, a safe and cool nesting place for these locally migratory birds for decades. Two of those big ‘Tentul’ trees at the periphery of the village were prevented from being cut and sold, by our own Bijoy Mukherjee of Philosophy Department. He had to virtually buy the tress, to which I also contributed with great pleasure. Later he wishes to buy the plot on which those two Tentul trees stand; again I would be very happy to contribute. Sometimes it is really nice to come across such souls like Bijoyda; which has indeed become a rare phenomenon in Visva Bharati and Santiniketan.

For last few months, due to unprecedented scorching heat, I preferred not to move out with my camera into the country side. After a few sporadic rains in June, I ventured out in a relatively cloudy morning and was pretty surprised to locate white lotus flowers in a dried up pond beyond Kankalitala and towards Labhpur. I shall surely revisit the pond around August to shoot the flowers at more favourable times.
Coming back to Visva Bharati, in last decade or so, power became shamelessly consolidated in Central office, leading to much abuse of power, both in appointments and finance. It seems for the administrators, a regular flow of cut money here and there has become a way of life, and violation in norms of appointments a normal incidence. These actually happens in all Government offices to some extent or other, we need to reconcile to the fact that Visva Bharati is no better and no worse than any other sundry Government institute in India. But, the lack of academic spine to challenge such irregularities from within Visva Bharati is the latest trend. Hence the University now needs CBI to probe such irregularities, in spite of existence of several such inbuilt mechanisms within the University to check such malpractices. The point is, either academicians lack the spine, or they just do not bother. I think it is a combination of both, and hence there will again be such scenarios in future, perhaps more CBI probes in coming decades. In short the whole episode appears hugely demoralizing.

For quite some time Kala Bhavana student Vishnu, under the tutelage of Nanda Dulal Mukherjee is engaged with wall painting a portion of Kalobari, following the earlier techniques used. After a few failures where the painted portions simply peeled off, Vishnu has ultimately succeeded after due modification of techniques applied; providing him with an excellent opportunity to follow rather ancient techniques of wall painting. I watched him off and on at his work, and really appreciate the venture taken up by Kala Bhavana with a very special mention for Nanda Dulal Mukherjee, faculty Kala Bhavana.
As I mentioned before, it is very refreshing to come across nice souls like Bijoy Mukherjee and Nanda Dulal Mukherjee, whose engagements with society are strictly not only for personal gains, as is the general norms in Santiniketan now.

So demoralized and yet blessed with occasional engulfing smiles now and then courtesy Bijoy-da and Nanda-da, these days I prefer to move out of Santiniketan into the countryside, just to brace in unbridled nature. The numerous fences around every nook and corner of Santiniketan, is fairly un-inviting in any case. I sat under a tree and was fascinated to re-discover this old man almost out from the fairy tales of my childhood!



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