Words of Freedom Ideas of a Nation (Rabindranath Tagore)

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Item Code: IHL378
Author: Rabindranath Tagore
Publisher: Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd.
Edition: 2010
ISBN: 9780143068945
Pages: 132
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 7.0 inch X 4.3 inch
Weight 110 gm
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Shipped to 153 countries
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Book Description

India has never had a real sense of nationalism. Even though from childhood I have been taught that idolatry of the Nation is almost better than reverence for God and humanity, I believe I have outgrown that teaching, and it is my conviction that my countrymen will truly gain their India by fighting against the education which teaches them that a country is greater than the ideals of humanity

—RABINDRANATH TAGORE

Rabindranath Tagore was perhaps India's most prolific and most influential man of letters ever. Tagore consistently spoke up against the inequalities perpetrated by the British Raj. But, while a great deal of his writing was patriotic (the national anthems of both India and Bangladesh were written by him) he never quite saw eye to eye with the majority of nationalist leaders. This selection from Tagore's speeches and writings on the nation includes an early piece, 'The One Nationalist Party' (1908), his famous denunciation of nationalism, 'Nationalism in India' (1917), the bitingly sarcastic 'The Cult of the Charka' (1925) and the final lecture he delivered, 'Crisis in Civilisation' (1941).

Contents

Introduction

ix

1. The One Nationalist Party

1

2. Nationalism in India

31

3. The Cult of the Charka

77

4. Crisis in Civilisation

115

Introduction

Poet, novelist, playwright, songwriter,essayist and painter, Rabindranath Tagore (1861—1941) was perhaps India's most prolific and most influential man of letters ever. Tagore transformed the way in which music and literature were approached in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1913 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature—the first non-European to be thus honoured—for his 'profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse'. Among his most famous works are the novels Gora and Ghare Baire (Home and the World) and the verse collection Gitanjali. Also an educationist, Tagore founded the Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan.

Tagore consistently spoke up against the inequalities perpetrated by the British Raj, and returned the knighthood bestowed upon him in 1915 in protest against the Jalianwala Bagh massacre. But, while a great deal of his writing was patriotic (the national anthems of both India and Bangladesh were written by him) he never quite saw eye-to-eye with the majority of nationalist leaders who he thought suffered from tunnel vision. A naturalist and a humanist to the core, Tagore was also a rationalist, and roundly criticized Gandhi (whom he had named 'Mahatma'), for suggesting that the 1934 Bihar earthquake was divine retribution brought about by the oppression of Dalits. This selection from Tagore's speeches and writings on the nation includes an early piece, 'The One Nationalist Party' (1908), his famous denunciation of nationalism, 'Nationalism in India' (1917), the bitingly sarcastic 'The Cult of the Charka' (1925) and the final lecture he delivered, 'Crisis in Civilisation' (1941). Speaking when the Second World War was well under way, Tagore despaired at the destruction human beings had wrought, but was still hopeful of a future where humanity and freedom of thought would survive.

To celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Indian Republic, the Words of Freedom series showcases the landmark speeches and writings of fourteen visionary leaders whose thought animated the Indian struggle for Independence and whose revolutionary ideas and actions forged the Republic of India as we know it today.

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