Rabindranath Tagore: The Patriot

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 22:38 Written by  Published in Article Read 4774 times

...Tagore marks humanity to be a potential channel to bring about inner unity of the self, by diffusing the duality of the "self" and the "world" and become part and parcel of the whole - a process in which the superficial notions of the centre and the margin is in a subtle fashion questioned...

Remembering one of the most celebrated ambassadors of world peace and universal brotherhood, the vibrant and inspiring figure of the great "patriot"- Rabindranath Tagore was honoured worldwide on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary on the 8th of May 2012. Well-recognized for his contributions to the world literature that conferred him the honor of being the first Indian Nobel Laureate in the field of Literature (1914) for his collection of poetry "Gitanjali", Rabindranath Tagore excels for being a mind without fear and his head held high when it comes to narrating and writing his belief of the concept of a "home" in the "world". The world today glorifies Tagore as the greatest Indian Writer writing in English and draws immeasurably from his world philosophy motivated and fired by his intense trust upon "Internationalism". As could be well witnessed from his wide range of literary works- poetry, novels, plays, short stories and essays in English (and in translation into English), it may be inferred that Tagore's thoughts and concerns transcend the compartmentalized definitions of "Nation" and "Nationalism" and dilute the narrow and selfish lines drawn between one man and the other. The idea of the "Nation" according to the great patriot involves a kind of "border-crossing" whereby, the mapping process of the world territory based upon narrow, domestic thoughts and guidelines are totally condemned. Instead his literary writings since his early age, are well guided by his immense celebration of the merging of all the differences prevalent in the society in the name of caste, class, religion, color and many other hollow systems and henceforth, his works become an extended metaphor for an artistic "Prayer" offered to a universal God figure to bless mankind with the heaven like world of "freedom" and "democracy".

Rabindranath Tagore - the Nobel Laureate writer, poet, philosopher and the ambassador of Indian culture to the rest of the world is the most prominent figure in the cultural world of the Indian sub-continent. His contributions in the field of Indian Writings in English are best illustrated when varied circle of literary communities today re-read and re-search his immense range of works and account critically on the "relevance" of Tagore's universal patriotic zeal as the need of the hour. When the world today looks peaceful and calm on the surface but ironically are filled with undercurrents of disturbing turbulences underneath, marked by fear of a third world war possible due to the current craze in a kind of nuclear power race, the thinking intellectuals of the day look back and all the more, recalls a figure like Gurudev Tagore who once voiced out for a kind of patriotism that discards regionalized greed and lust for power. When Tagore was sixteen years old and as early as 1877, he wrote an essay titled "The Hope and Despair of Bengalis" that dealt on the theme of the necessity of better understanding between East and the West. At an early age, this prophet of World Brotherhood envisioned the need for assimilation of the best of world's philosophical principles that could guide mankind towards a better world order. Not only does his literary works highlight the rich cultural traditions of India but also fashion out a newer trend of writings in English that merge together celebratory literary world traditions. This therefore, brings forth his dynamic works of literature marked by the presence of polyphonic voices interacting, intersecting and conflicting creatively and productively.

When we think of Tagore's views of empire and nation, generally we turn to his essays on Nationalism (1917), or his novels The Home and the World (1916) and Four Chapters (1934), or the poem "The Sunset of the Century," which are all principally dedicated to these two themes. Dismissing both nation and empire as the twin axis of egoism and evil, he urges humanity to reach out for a global dialogue that will facilitate a cultural confederation between the East and the West or races and nations. Launching forth his belief in inclusivism and a pattern of synergic interaction between cultures, Tagore's literary works propel the world towards harmony and global fellowship and an appropriation of Santam, Sivam, and Advaitam principles which he derives from the Upanishads. Even his Nobel Prize winning work "Gtanjali" (1912) instantly establishes the spiritual and poetic basis of Tagore's political ideas. He marks humanity to be a potential channel to bring about inner unity of the self, by diffusing the duality of the "self" and the "world" and become part and parcel of the whole - a process in which the superficial notions of the centre and the margin is in a subtle fashion questioned.

Rabindranath Tagore's inclusivism or his inclusive sense of patriotism motivated by selfless rejoicing of things big or small, and his stern rejoicing of the power of equality, freedom and universal brotherhood- makes him one of the most celebrated Patriots of all time and a great pride for those in the field of literature today and for days to come in India and the other parts of the world. Commemorating his priceless contributions in the field of Indian Writings in English, his 150th birth anniversary celebrated recently with utmost regard by lovers of literature worldwide once again, establishes his valuable place in our hearts and mind that will continuously keep on paying homage to the figure of this great Patriot, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.

Last modified on Thursday, 14 June 2012 05:44