12-Point Plan For Vivekananda's 150th Birth Anniversary Creation of Swami Vivekananda chairs in universities across the country and preservation of some of the important sites visited by him are among the key recommendations made by a committee set up to plan his 150th birth anniversary celebrations. The high-level committee headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held its first meeting here today which was attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, chief ministers of several states and eminent academicians. It prepared a 12-point plan to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda which falls in 2012. The Prime Minister announced setting up of a National Implementation Committee under the Chairmanship of Mukherjee to work out further details of programmes. The panel mooted the idea of establishing a Vivekananda Chair at the Chicago University, where Swami Vivekananda gave his famous speech on Hinduism at the Parliament of World's Religions on September 11, 1893. Creation of Vivekananda chairs in universities, preservation of some important heritage sites, encouraging students to visit such sites by offering concessions, organising conferences, lectures and seminars and establishing Chairs in Overseas universities are some of the suggestions which were discussed at the meeting. Bringing his ideas into current discourse, countering current perception of religion as violent and divisive and giving emphasis on secular aspects of religion were also discussed, an official release said. The committee focused on him as a youth icon and also his relevance in the 21st century. It was also decided that his contributions to gender issues should be highlighted through his writings and letters and special programmes for women's education and health. The celebrations will focus on involving youth through competitions, interactions and study circles. The issue of "reprinting complete works in improved form and abridged versions for different segments" also figured in the meeting. Reprinting Romain Rolland's biography of Swami Vivekananda, developing proper understanding of Yoga preached by Vivekananda and propagating his message through All India Radio and television were also discussed. The committee also decided to commemorate the Chicago Address. In this connection, the Indian community in the US may be asked to suggest programmes. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today also pitched for the revival of Shanti Niketan, the abode of Rabindranath Tagore, and asked the committee for commemoration of the Nobel Laureate's 150th anniversary to see how the historic institution can be restored to its original glory. Singh also said the government should use the occasion to create cultural institutions and structures that honour the memory of the great poet, and which have lasting value. Noting that Tagore travelled to the farthest corners of the globe and is remembered with reverence and affection in many countries, Singh said embassies in different countries should be involved to rekindle interest in Tagore and to build on these historic cultural links. Singh made the remarks at the first meeting of the National Committee for Commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore. "We need to pay special attention to the university of his dreams, the Visva Bharati. The High Level Committee under the leadership of Gopalkrishna Gandhi had made several suggestions. Government of India has released funds for the implementation of the recommendations. "But we should go further and I would like the Committee to use its knowledge and experience to see how we can revive this historic institution and restore it to its former glory," he said. Singh said the tribute to Tagore on his 150th birth anniversary should reflect his complex and multi-layered personality and the different strands of his cultural genius. "We should use the occasion to create cultural institutions and structures that honour the memory of the great poet, and which have lasting value," Singh said at the meeting attended by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and several academicians, intellectuals and ministers. Jawaharlal Nehru and Education Minister Humayun Kabir had started a programme of building auditoria and cultural complexes that were named as Rabindra Rangashala, Rabindra Bhavan, Rabindra Manch, Tagore Centre and so on. In the 1960s and later in the 1970s, these were among the first visible cultural spaces of independent India, he said. Singh said he is of the view that the Implementation Committee under Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is considering the upgrading of some of the older auditoria that were set up as part of the Tagore Centenary Celebrations. "The Committee would also look into the possibility of establishing new auditoria in cities where there is a genuine need for such complexes," Singh said. "We should ensure that these auditoriums and bhavans are aesthetically designed spaces and are worthy of being named after the great cultural icon that Tagore is. So, it would perhaps be a good idea to invite designs for these buildings through open national level competitions," he said. Singh also said more efforts should be taken to translate Tagore's works into other languages. "We should encourage translation of his works not only into Hindi and other Indian languages but also foreign languages. His message is very relevant today and can attract people of all persuasions and creeds," he said. Singh also said the committee will have to consider how India can fulfil the commitment given to Bangladesh that the celebrations will be conducted jointly and how to associate Tagore's many followers in Bangladesh. "Gurudev's experiments with alternate education, especially through his Patha Bhawan in open sylvan surroundings were remarkable. I would be happy if this commemoration highlights the relevance of his views on education," Singh said. At the meeting, a number of suggestions were made on how to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Tagore. The committee said steps should be taken to popularise Tagore's art. The meeting sought proposals from states to translate West Bengal States proposal to renovate Tagore's ancestral house at Jorasanko in Kolkata. The committee is also understood to have proposed setting up of zonal Tagore Commemoration Committees in at least seven major cities to examine and support local proposals for celebrations. CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury also raised the issue of renovating the ancestral house of Tagore in West Bengal, for which the Prime Minister responded that the government will take steps. The CPI-M leader said a cultural complex under Tagore's name should be set up in every state capital. He also demanded that the government celebrate the centenary birth anniversary of renowned Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said the state would organise Rabindra Sangeet festivals in major cities.