A strong believer of the uniting power of the arts and culture, parliamentarian and renowned author Shashi Tharoor has said that culture builds bridges, not walls.
Having recently lent his voice to a short music video that features an emotional rendition of the Indian National Anthem, Tharoor is strong in his recital of another of Rabindranath Tagore works, "Where The Mind Is Without Fear" which appears towards the end. The anthem has been sung by playwright and Tagore fusion singer Isheeta Ganguly.
According to Tharoor, "our minds are currently gripped by fear of the unknown, of possible attack by the virus; fear has led to the demonisation of certain of our own citizens, either because of their appearance or their religion. The Tagore verse speaks of India transcending such fears and narrow divisions to a broader self-realisation."
Asked how the arts and culture act as unifying forces in difficult times, Tharoor told IANSlife: "Arts and culture build bridges, not walls. They help us to realise what unites us rather than divides us. They expand our minds beyond petty concerns to larger aspirations. Great art is always universal; it does not discriminate or demonize."
Tharoor also underlined the need to utilise the nation's symbols - like the National Anthem - to unite in. "It's important to remind everyone that India, indeed, belongs to everyone," he said.