Indian state wants to buy former home of poet Rabindranath Tagore in Hampstead?
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima
Heathman has heard a whisper on the international grapevine that the state government of West Bengal has made an approach to buy Tagore House in the hope of turning it into a museum.
The historic house on the Vale of Health is currently privately-owned, but the Indian state is apparently very eager to acquire the property, where noble laureate Rabindranath Tagore spent a considerable amount of time in the early twentieth century.
A blue plaque has adorned the door of the house since 1961, and reads “The Indian poet stayed here in 1912.”
On her recent visit to London, Bengal’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee reportedly asked the Indian high commissioner if he would make an offer to the owners on Bengal’s behalf – valued at an estimated £2.7 million.
Tagore is believed to have written his famous collection of poems, Geetanjali, at the house.
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Ms Banergee told the Times of India: “My government is keen to buy the house where Tagore lived. Tagore is our pride. It is a private property and, therefore, I have asked our high commissioner to see if we can strike a deal.”
Business tycoon Harsh Neotia accompanied Ms Banergee on her official visit, and said: “It would be a lot of pride and interest for the people of India and Bengal if the state government could get the house and convert it into a museum or study and research centre.”
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Heathman approached the owners of the house for comment, but has received no word as yet on their willingness to negotiate with the government. His ear remains to the ground.