This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Polemics Of Identity And Crisis: Rabindranath Tagore’s Ideas Of Civilisation And Modernism

3427 words - 14 pages


British Imperialism in India deeply affected attitudes to politics, society, community, nation, and gender and intercommunity relations. This inevitably conditioned the thought process of the then common masses as well as the intelligentsia. Colonialism in India and also elsewhere made it impossible to understand the history of the country and what emerged was deconstructed notions largely conditioned and shaped by the imperialist’s missions to ‘civilize’ the colonized and the broad agenda of the ‘white man’s burden’. Studying Rabindranath Tagore from this broad rubric shall lead one to understand how Imperialism and colonialism moulded and shaped his entire career as the polymath who ...view middle of the document...

In Bengal during the aforementioned period people started raising questions about beliefs and everyday issues and thus the period witnessed an intellectual awakening, deserving in its own right, to be called Renaissance in the European manner. This was indeed a revival of thoughts, a deep inquiry into existing belief systems, an endeavor to do away with the social vices and usher education as the tool for all round development. Raja Ram Mohan Roy, one of the first exponents of this revival, perceived that without the knowledge of science Indians would fail to participate in the social transition of the world. After him the other great thinkers and social reformers like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Bankimchandra Chatterjee, Swami Vivekananda and so on worked in the directions of opening schools and colleges, making education accessible to women, eradicating the social vices like the sati pratha and making widow remarriage a reality amongst several other social and cultural reforms. Rabindranath Tagore, born in 1861, got to witness these changes while he was growing up. The societal changes of the times and the cultural milieu of his home at Jorasanko made him the man that the world knows him to be. However, Tagore never remained confined to any parameters and his horizons remained limitless as he shifted, moulded and created his thoughts with each passing day and with each passing event of his days. When Mahatma Gandhi ushered in the Swadeshi Movement Tagore too was highly inspired and contributed in his own ways through his poems and songs. Realizing the impracticalities of the movement he was quick enough to move away from it. His detachment obviously raised eyebrows but he was clear in his thoughts. In a self referential essay titled ‘Rabindranather Rastranaitik Mat’ (Tagore’s Political Views) he wrote:
“…It should be known about me that no time has any fixed opinion on any subject of politics emerged out of my mind in a fully developed form- rather they have taken shape through various changes along with the experiences of my life. Of course there is a thread of unity in the sequences of those changes. But to retrieve it what should be considered is which parts of my writings are principal, which ones are subsidiary; which ones are ephemeral, and which ones have crossed the limits of particular times to keep flowing”. (Mukhopadhyay viii)

Tagore created a vast plethora of characters and situations in his literature that stood for his thoughts on liberalism and universalism. His characters spoke on his behalf and also echoed his confusions, disillusionments and dilemmas. They also set up for him the agendas that he intended to put forward through his literature. In the vastness of his creation it is an arduous task to fathom his thoughts through individual works. This can be done only when his works are taken in totality and a comprehensive study is done. Never the less I have selected two of his seminal works and will...

Find Another Essay On The Polemics Of Identity And Crisis: Rabindranath Tagore’s Ideas Of Civilisation And Modernism

Compatibility of Modernism and Traditionalism Essay

1436 words - 6 pages meanings beyond. The purpose of Modern biblical scholarship was said best by Charles Briggs himself. Biggs stated that Holy Scripture is, “covered over with the debris of the traditional interpretations of the multitudinous schools and sects” and that, “Historical criticism is searching for the rock-bed of the Divine word, in order to recover the real Bible.” These statements show that Modernism is based on refuting Tradition, but even so still

What do you think were the main features of the Arab Islamic civilisation of the Abbasid Period, and what made that civilisation so vibrant?

2732 words - 11 pages The 'Golden Age' of Arab Islamic civilisation was essentially a synthesis of diverse roots stemming from Greek, Indian, Iranian and pre-Islam Arabic sources. The advent of the Abbasids around 750 AD made this synthesis possible, and from peoples with varied origins and different religious affiliations was created one profound civilisation. A civilisation that allowed slaves to become rulers, Muslim, Jew and Christian to live side by side, and

The Oil Crisis And Alternative Energy Ideas

4694 words - 19 pages Fuelled by Greed: The Oil Crisis and Alternative Energy IdeasAccording to a study done for Environment Canada, a large oil spill can be expected to hit in or near Canadian waters every one to two years. The question of who's to blame for these oil spills, is often answered improperly. Considering that most oil is intended for the use in our vehicles, an ad from Greenpeace, quoted by Gordon and Suzuki (1990), pointed the finger rather precisely


1735 words - 7 pages Tabish Khair is an English writer in English whose concerns are about India even though he has settled in Denmark. He belongs to state of India which is entirely different in language, culture and tradition as compared to the European nations. He is a poet whose poems deal with small town culture, and experiences. His style is simple, rich in metaphor and irony. Concept of identity crisis and anxiety is a new emerging trend in world literature

Civilisation in The Picture of Dorian Gray and Heart of Darkness. Wilde and Conrad's view of man in society

2363 words - 9 pages The depictions of Dorian, the 'young Adonis' in The Picture of Dorian Gray, and of Kurtz, the 'universal genius' in Heart of Darkness leads one to question the effects of society on man: does civilisation help or hinder morality? Although many critics have argued the former, there is much evidence which shows that elements within society have detrimental effects on the two protagonists. I believe that the deterioration the men experience is a

The Theatre and its Identity Crisis

2733 words - 11 pages scares me a bit, yes, but even as I sit here writing, I love this newfound instability because it’s ironically made me feel more grounded than I’ve ever felt. Armed with these ideas, I have looked back at the world I’ve grown up with and finally begun to see society’s seams tugged apart, its splintered frame exposed, and the fear and worry of its people uncovered. But I have also exposed, buried deep within its guarded chest, the hope and

Of Ideas, the Mind, and the Universe

1315 words - 5 pages appears larger . Next, Philonous tackles movement, reasoning that movement is only described as the space in which an object moves (which has already been shown to be within the mind with extension), and the passage of time, which he likens to the succession of ideas in the mind, which is subjective . Hylas then argues that there is absolute length (a metre, for example), a concept abstracted from relative extension. Philonous counters Hylas

History and Contributions of Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengal Mystic and Artist

1468 words - 6 pages A Bengali mystic and artist, Rabindranath Tagore was a great poet, philosopher, music composer and a leader of Brahma Samaj who became a prominent voice of the Indian heritage. Best known for his poems and short stories, essays, novels articles etc., Tagore largely contributed to the Bengali literature in the late 19th and early 20th century and created his masterpieces such as Ghare- Baire, Yogayog, Sandhya Sangeet, Naibedya, Gitanjali and

The Partition of Indian Subcontinent: Crisis of Identity and Uprooted Nationalities Resulting in Double Disaster for Pakistan

2127 words - 9 pages valley civilization are largely glossed over except in the tawdry publications, India produce for the benefit of the few foreign tourist who venture here. Those contortions have resulted in a major identity crisis that has robbed at least two generations of their creativity: by cutting the people out off from their real roots. Pakistani ideologues have fabricated a nation that is unsure of its position in the region and the world. One reason why

Humanity of the Primitive in Heart of Darkness, Dialect of Modernism and Totem and Taboo

1632 words - 7 pages Humanity of the Primitive in Heart of Darkness, Dialect of Modernism and Totem and Taboo     The ways in which a society might define itself are almost always negative ways. "We are not X." A society cannot exist in a vacuum; for it to be distinct it must be able to define itself in terms of the other groups around it. These definitions must necessarily take place at points of cultural contact, the places at which two societies come

Commentary of Rabindranath Tagore's Africa

1590 words - 6 pages ‘Civilisation’ as an individual being allows readers to condemn it as though they are condemning the act of an individual human. It also creates an oxymoron with the contrasting terms 'civilisation' and 'barbarous', which supplements Tagore’s point that the antithesis of what is civil has in fact occurred. In addition, it underscores the hypocrisy of the supposed ‘Civilisation’, questioning that if a people are willing to heedlessly trade human

Similar Essays

Modernism And Identity Essay

592 words - 2 pages One of the major issues that is found within works written during the period of Modernism is a character's sense of loss for things that have valuable meaning and purpose to life. The suffer from a great deal of alienation, leading them on a search for their true identity within the already chaotic modern world. Much of this may be caused by their surroundings, while often it occurs due to personal feelings. Whatever the case, a character is

The Crisis Of Identity Essay

1553 words - 6 pages Why is it that man needs to compare himself to others in order to define himself? Is man able to form a society where only the necessary connections between individuals are the most basic fundamentals of the human condition? The world we live in is vast with a web of social interconnections, and we can no longer just identify ourselves in simple terms. When one is born, he or she is not simply brought into a family identity, but along with that

The Study Of Modernism And Globalization

1988 words - 8 pages , developed and less developed countries, while blurring geographical borders. Along with the study of modernism and globalisation, some theorists have raised the question of the new forms of modern violence and its plausible relation to modernity and globalisation. In Fear of Small Numbers: An Essay on the Geography of Anger (2006), Arjun Appadurai presents a number of key explanations as to how high-scale violence has increased in a global

Disappearance Of The Mayan Civilisation Essay

566 words - 2 pages Between the 300 A.D. and 900 A.D. the Mayan civilisation flourished in Central America south Mexico. Around 900 A.D., the Mayans left their stone palaces and abandoned their cities until finally they disappeared entirely by 1000 A.D. It is said that there could be many reasons for the disappearance or decline of the Mayan civilisation. There are many theories concerning the disappearance of which some include epidemic diseases, a mega-drought or