Reassessing Tagore

  • Deepti Thakur Indian Institute of Advanced Study


As the contemporary socio-political scenario is getting increasingly intolerant and violent, Rabindranath Tagore and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi are acquiring a new relevance for both academic and non-academic readers. These two iconic figures had anticipated an acceleration of the dark forces of communalism and myopic, self-serving majoritarian nationalism in India, if the cultural and institutional framework of thought and values celebrated a consumerist materialism transplanted directly from Western imperialism. Tagore’s creative genius sought to liberate the Indian elite and middle-class imagination from a blatant imitation of a crass Western material acquisitiveness. Such imitation could only result in adouble disorientation of the literate communities within Bengal, for the ethos of the culture one was imitating would always elude the imitator, while the vernacular culture which provided the ground beneath one’s feet was discarded as “uncivilized”. A deeply concerned Tagore forged a different and far more creative manner of locating oneself within a synthesized new cultural idiom which retained a selection of the universalizing values from within the Bengali culture but which combined much that was liberating and beautiful from Western intellectual and cultural traditions. Chhanda Chatterjee’s edited volume puts together a string of essays by different Tagore scholars. There seems to be two broad themes around which the essays are arranged.

How to Cite
THAKUR, Deepti. Reassessing Tagore. Summerhill, [S.l.], v. 21, n. 1, p. 1-2 pages, mar. 2018. ISSN 0972-1452. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 24 mar. 2019.