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Nationalism von Rabindranath Tagore
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Nationalism (2012. Auflage)

von Rabindranath Tagore (Autor)

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Tagore was a fierce opponent of British rule in India. In this work, the author discusses the resurgence of the East and the challenge it poses to Western supremacy, calling for a future beyond nationalism, based instead on cooperation and racial tolerance. It finishes with a poem written on the last day of the 19th CenturySunset of the Century. Tagore was a fierce opponent of British rule in India. In this work he discusses the resurgence of the East and the challenge it poses to Western supremacy, calling for a future beyond nationalism, based instead on cooperation and… (mehr)
Mitglied:Arunkaippallil
Titel:Nationalism
Autoren:Rabindranath Tagore (Autor)
Info:(2012), 63 pages
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Nationalism von Rabindranath Tagore

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This work by Rabindranath Tagore is truly remarkable. In “Nationalism”, he writes about his interpretation of nationalism. He also points out the pitfalls of nationalism gone wild.
His fundamental premise rests on the comparison between the nationalist movement in Europe and the Indian situation.
To India has been given her problem from the beginning of history—it is the race problem. Races ethnologically
different have in this country come into close contact. This fact has been and still continues to be the most
important one in our history. It is our mission to face it and prove our humanity by dealing with it in the fullest
truth. Until we fulfil our mission all other benefits will be denied us.
He wrote this during the early days of the nationalist movement in India, and could see some threats that this had for Indians.
As he mentions in his book, the problem in India is social rather than political. Rabindranath Tagore specifically wrote about the social and human condition under the monarchs of India.
He does not say that the situation under rulers was ideal. Yet, it gave people wriggle room, in which to explore their individuality. A nationalist stare, he states, seeks to enforce uniformity on people, and how they view themselves as part of a larger whole.
We feel this all the more, because the teaching and example of the West have entirely run counter to what we
think was given to India to accomplish. In the West the national machinery of commerce and politics turns out
neatly compressed bales of humanity which have their use and high market value; but they are bound in iron
hoops, labelled and separated off with scientific care and precision.
India is not, and has never been, a homogenous country. In his view, India should find its own solution and not imitate the West. He wrote of the caste system, briefly. In his view, the problem was not in the system itself, but because we forgot the laws of mutation.

What is more, we have to recognize that the history of India does not belong to one particular race but to a
process of creation to which various races of the world contributed—the Dravidians and the Aryans, the ancient
Greeks and the Persians, the Mohammedans of the West and those of central Asia.
Rabindranath Tagore admired Japan, and he also contrasted the Western and emerging Indian model with the Japanese one.
The Japanese seemed to blend the new concept of nationalism with their own ancient culture.
The truth is that Japan is old and new at the same time. She has her legacy of ancient culture from the East,—the
culture that enjoins man to look for his true wealth and power in his inner soul, the culture that gives self possession
in the face of loss and danger, self-sacrifice without counting the cost or hoping for gain, defiance of
death, acceptance of countless social obligations that we owe to men as social beings. In a word, modern Japan
has come out of the immemorial East like a lotus blossoming in easy grace, all the while keeping its firm hold
upon the profound depth from which it has sprung.
Rabindranath Tagore’s views diverge from those of his contemporaries like Sri Aurobindo. Aurobindo was a revolutionary who became a mystic.
I quote Aurobindo from the Orissa Review * November—200827
In 1908 he said in a public meeting in Bombay,
“Nationalism is not a mere political programme; Nationalism is a religion that has come from God; Nationalism is a creed which you shall have to live. If you are going to be nationalist, if you are going to assent to this religion of nationalism, you must do it in the religious spirit. You must remember that you are the instrument of God,”.
In more recent times, Shashi Tharoor has quoted extensively from Tagore in his book, “The Battle of Belonging”, which I reviewed.
This volume by Tagore is exceptional. I am not a great fan of his novel, “Gora” in which he probed the question of nationalism. I reviewed “Gora” as well.
In “Nationalism”, he has expressed his views directly, clearly and in a style that is quite poetic. He does not beat about the bush. You can feel the flow of the words. They are almost like a river stream that flows calmly to the delta.
His words, composed almost a century ago, ring true today.
Nationalism is a great menace. It is the particular thing which for years has been at the bottom of India's
troubles. And inasmuch as we have been ruled and dominated by a nation that is strictly political in its attitude,
we have tried to develop within ourselves, despite our inheritance from the past, a belief in our eventual political
destiny. ( )
  RajivC | Dec 25, 2020 |
I knew nothing of this Nobel Laureate and "discovered" his work while playing Sid Meier's Civilization VI. I first played this game to kill some time on my Artillery ROBC in Manly in 1994, and have played it occasionally ever since. The game is so well researched and I have learnt so much from it about art, music, literature, geography, history, theology, philosophy, science, technology that I am keen to find a way to incorporate it into my teaching. Now I have smaller classes, it may be possible to do so. I should probably be too proud to state I have learnt so much from a computer game but if that is how it happened, and I am an educator, then being a pedagogical snob is rather lacking in integrity. But I digress. Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 1913 for his poetry which, ironically, "made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West". This collection of essays on nationalism was written in 1917 at the height of the Great War. The essays cover nationalism in Japan, the West, and in India. It is perplexing to read, one hundred years later, a great thinker's prophecies on the likes of Japan (which went on to do what Tagore was most concerned about, at least morally), the rise of China and India, and the explosion of anti-globalisation and racism, when humanity is in the midst of the latter two issues once again. Tagore called for greater tolerance, greater freedom from restrictive class systems, and a less mechanical view of the world. He saw the "Nation" as a machine. Interestingly, [a:Matthew Arnold|53451|Matthew Arnold|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1212355536p2/53451.jpg] (1869) in [b:Culture and Anarchy|251264|Culture and Anarchy|Matthew Arnold|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1173146258s/251264.jpg|243478] (see my earlier review) referred to the problems of "machinery" in a similar sense. This makes me think of systems thinking, and Descartes, and how viewing the world as a machine or a clockwork is a first-principle mistake! The inter-connectedness of the Grand Ecosystem thwarts attempts at mechanical explanations for phenomena, yet it also has a moral dimension that Tagore explores in these essays. He made some interesting observations. First, he stated that Europe was one country divided into several, whereas India was many countries jammed into one. Second, he predicted Japan's moral decline through imitation of the West. Third, he noted how Europeans in America and Australia solved the problem of race: ...by almost exterminating the original population. Even in the present age this spirit of extermination is making itself manifest, by inhospitably shutting out aliens, through those who themselves were aliens in the lands they now occupy.Yet we should not be too hasty to attribute all-seeing wisdom to Tagore. History defied his thesis in relation to India (as it was then) and what it would become after independence: But India tolerated difference of races from the first, and that spirit of toleration has acted all through her history. Writing at this point in history must have been depressing, and Tagore sees the worship of the "wonderful efficiency" of the West as a cause of the war: The veil has been raised, and in this frightful war the West has stood face to face with her own creation, to which she had offered her soul. She must know what it truly is. It is not difficult to feel the workings of a poet in these essays. Matthew Arnold was a Professor of Poetry, too, so the style is not unfamiliar to me. Indeed, it would seem that the vague incisiveness of poets waxing political has a style of its own. Tagore might not be pleased about being lumped together with Matthew Arnold! But as I read Nationalism immediately after Culture and Anarchy, I must beg forgiveness for sticking these two poets in the one inappropriate box! But there it is: The vague incisiveness of the political poet. ( )
  madepercy | Dec 28, 2017 |
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Tagore was a fierce opponent of British rule in India. In this work, the author discusses the resurgence of the East and the challenge it poses to Western supremacy, calling for a future beyond nationalism, based instead on cooperation and racial tolerance. It finishes with a poem written on the last day of the 19th CenturySunset of the Century. Tagore was a fierce opponent of British rule in India. In this work he discusses the resurgence of the East and the challenge it poses to Western supremacy, calling for a future beyond nationalism, based instead on cooperation and

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