Tagore dreamt of the unity of Mankind
Tagore at Home in the World, Sanjukta Dasgupta & Chinmoy Guha (Eds.), Sage Publications, Pp 329, Rs 495.00
The theme of this compilation of 22 essays is best summed up by historian Sabyasachi Bhattacharya who defines Tagore’s active internationalism in the domain of culture and civilisation as “humanist universalism” and that the “distinctive features of Tagore’s universalist approach was that it was wholly cultural, to the exclusion of political means. He wanted the world to look beyond national boundaries to the unity of mankind.”
As a passionate harbinger of creative freedom, Tagore was intolerant of borders and boundaries that denoted cultural limits and indicated a shortsighted and prejudiced response to the world outside the known location of the “idealised home”.
In this book under review, the essays by different experts are thematically arranged in seven parts and were initially presented at an international conference on ‘Tagore: At Home in the World’, organised in Calcutta.
In the first part, titled ‘Tagore and the Language of Relationship’, Udaya Narayana Singh analyses the linguistic strife within Tagore stretching across boundaries with a latent desire to fuse the local and cosmopolitan. In doing so, Tagore reiterated the need to recognise the inclusive policy that would be the bonding adhesive between the peoples inhabiting different locations and belonging to different races, cultures, religions and gender.
In Part II, ‘Europe and Tagore’, Martin Kampchen situates Tagore in a politically tumultuous Germany where the latter successfully comforted the sentiments of the populace. Imre Bangha critiques Tagore’s reception in East and Central European regions within the purview of Hungarian translations and comparing it with Chinese translations to analyse attitudinal shifts with respect to other Asian languages. Chinmoy Guha recalls Tagore’s encounter with the French socialite, Anna De Noailles and shows how he was treated like a cult figure and hero-worshipped by both men and women.
Part III, ‘Discovering the Unknown’, through Tagore’s letters contains a paper by Amrit Sen who traverses with Tagore in time and discusses the overlapping space of travel and tirtha. Ramakrishna Bhattacharya refers to Tagore’s travelogues, Parasya Jatra and Parasya Bhraman within the context of the latter’s visit to Iran and Iraq in 1932 and his disapproval of religious bigotry and obscurantism. Tutun Mukherjee analyses five short stories of Tagore that deal with ghosts.
In Part IV, ‘No-Nation’ and Beyond Nationalism’, Indra Nath Choudhuri deconstructs into several substructures the concept of Tagore being at home in the world with the whole world being his home, thus signifying the amalgamating of the oriental and the occidental.
In Part V, ‘Text, Context and Subtext’, Sanjukta Dasgupta addresses the politics of language, exploring the tensions between vernacular ‘home’ language or mother tongue with ‘English’ as the language that connects the home with the world.
In Part VI, ‘Performing Tagore’, Shoma A. Chatterji addresses the issue of Tagore’s acceptability outside Bengal through the use of his tunes in Hindi cinema while Anita Dutt Mookerjee complements her views on Indian dance and music to which Tagore contributed largely. Reba Som argues that Tagore’s songs, commonly regarded as untranslatable, often is translated with felicity by able translators.
In the last part, Debabrati Bandyopadhyay explains space logistics in Tagore’s Taalgaach. Ana Jelnikar engages Tagore’s conceptualisation of universalism and critiques his non-conformist subject position in colonial India.
In other words and in short, these essays reveal Tagore’s spirit as an icon of creative freedom, as poet-philosopher and messenger of harmony and peace to build bridges of cultural understanding between the world and his home, despite all kinds of diversities.
(Sage Publications India Pvt Ltd, B1/I-1 Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area, Mathura Road, Post Bag 7, New Delhi-110044; www.sagepublications.com)
Book on Vivekananda’s views on industrialisation, economy and labourers released
Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has published a book compiling Swami Vivekananda’s views on industrialistaion, economy and the labourers. Written by senior BMS leader Shri Amarnath Dogra, the book was released in New Delhi on July 24 by RSS Uttar Kshetra Sanghachalak and noted economist Dr Bajranglal Gutpa, senior journalist Shri Rambahadur Rai and BMS national general secretary Shri Baijnath Rai.
Apart from other important topics related to industrilisation, economy and the labourers the book also contains BMS founder Dattopant Thengadi’s famous Washington speech on ‘Global Economic System for a peaceful world’. Thengadiji had delivered that speech to mark the centenary celebrations of Swam Vivekananda’s Universal Vedantic Message at Chicago.
The book release was followed by a seminar on two decades of globalisation. Speaking on the occasion Dr Bajranglal Gupt said since the beginning of globalisation in India about two decades back, the poverty increased manifold and it only helped boost the economy of foreign nations. He said it is time for us to rethink over it, as it would only ruin our economy.
Shri Rambahadur Rai described Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Planning Commission Vice Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia as the agents of America. He termed globalsation as Americanisation, which only made our politics slave of America. He said democracy might be seen getting strengthened but the democratic institutions only got weaker day-by-day.
Shri Baijnath Rai said there are many laws for ensuring proper wages to the labourers, but none of those are followed in practice. He said wages due to globalisation might have increased, but their volume has decreased which led to mass underemployment.
Avoiding Armageddon America, India, and Pakistan to The Brink and Back by Bruce Riedel, Pages 230, $27.96; Publisher: Brookings Institution Press, 2013, Brookings 1775, Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC
Women’s Movement In India by B Ramaswamy, Isha Books, Gyan Books Pvt. Ltd. 5, Ansari Road , New Delhi-2
Misunderstanding Financial Crises by Gary B. Gorton, OUP UK, Pages 240 , Hardback, £19.99, Oxford University Press, Academic Division, Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford ox2 6DP United Kingdom
Rights of Divorced Wife and Widows, Universal Law, List Pages :596, Price :Rs. 575.00, Binding :Paperback, Universal Law Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. C-FF-1A, Dilkhush Industrial Estate (near Azadpur Metro Station), G.T. Karnal Road, Delhi-110033
From A Creative Pen of A Unique Judge by Justice VR Krishna Iyer, Universal Law, Pages :142, Price : Rs. 325.00, Universal Law Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. C-FF-1A, Dilkhush Industrial Estate (near Azadpur Metro Station), G.T. Karnal Road, Delhi-110033
Tenth of December, By: George Saunders, Format:Hardback, RRP:£14.99, Bloomsbury Publishing India Pvt Ltd., Vishrut Bldg. DDA Complex, Bldg. No.3, Ground Floor, Pocket C-6&7, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi-110070
Measuring Voting Behaviour in India by Sanjay Kumar and Praveen Rai, Sage, Pages 188, Rs, 350, Sage Publications India Pvt Ltd, B 1/I-1 Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area, Mathura Road, New Delhi- 110 044
Euthanasia Appeal & Plea for Mercy Killing by Ritika Bansal, , Universal Law, Pages 125, Rs. 195;Universal Law Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. C-FF-1A, Dilkhush Industrial Estate (near Azadpur Metro Station), G.T. Karnal Road, Delhi-110033
Seven Elements That Have Changed The World by John Browne. Hachette India, Page 288, Price: 499, Hachette Book Publishing India Pvt Ltd, 4th/5th Floors, Corporate Centre; Plot no 94, Sector 44; Gurgaon-122009