The English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore (Volume Three)

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Item Code: IDH086
Author: Sisir Kumar Das
Language: English
Edition: 2012
ISBN: 8126014806
Pages: 1020(B & W Illus: 1)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 10.8" X 8.1"
Weight 2.50 kg
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Book Description


The volume is a collection of different genres of writings of Tagore. Unlike the previous two, neither does it have a close-knit structure, nor are the sections into which it is divided mutually exclusive. The materials presented here have been divided into four broad sections of varying lengths. The first section contains six prose works of Tagore. Among them, Letters to a Friend (1928) and Thoughts from, Rabindranath Tagore (1928 and former is a collection of letters written by Tagore to Andrews on various political and moral issues; the latter is an anthology of short pieces of meditative prose, thematically connected with Tagore's Bengali religious discourses collected in the Santiniketan lectures. The Religion of Man(1931), delivered as the Hibbert lectures at Oxford in 1930, is a comprehensive and powerful exposition of his understanding of the meaning and significance of religion in the cultural history of man. The remaining three works are not so well known, nonetheless they are of great interest to Tagore Scholars. Mahatmaji and the Depressed Humanity (1932) is an assortment of articles occasioned by Mahatmaji's fast in protest against the Puna pact. East and West (1935) published from Paris is an exchange of letters between Gilbert Murray and Tagore. And Man (19370 is an address at Andhra University.

The second section brings together a number of lectures and addresses delivered by Tagore at different places in India and abroad-some of them were delivered several times with occasional changes-in chronological order. The first essay,' Race conflict', was written in 1912 during his stay at Urbana when he was still an unknown figure in the West, and the last, 'Crisis in Civilization', was written and read a few months before his death in 1941. This selection thus presents a record of the continuous growth of Tagore's thoughts and ideas during the last thirty years of these writings were issued as pamphlets, as pamphlets, or had found place in anthologies. Most of them had remained imprisoned in journals and periodicals. This is the first attempt to collect them.

Apart from their literary merit, these essays are important in the study of modern Indian thought, since they are significant utterances by a man who more than anyone else among his contemporaries admirably represented his country during a turbulent period of its history. Thematically wide in range and varied in character, some of them are prophetic invasion. Some are poignant expressions of an agonized mind concerned with the welfare of mankind, and all of them, almost without exception, are profound in thought and elegant in expression.

The next section, also chronologically arranged, is a collection of occasional writings, namely, message, tributes, public statements, open letters, and so on. They present and even wider range of themes, both mundane and profound, and manifest Tagore's concern and curiosity about almost everything valuable in life. 'Tagore's enormous merit consists in this, 'Aldous Huxley once wrote, ' that he was at once a great idealist and a practical man of actions. 'His stature and success as a man of action may be debatable, but undoubtedly, what gives Tagore uniquencess among artists and thinkers is not only his deep concern and abiding interest in the political and social and economic life of the people, but also his direct involvement with works normally considered 'unpoetic'. Contrary to the popular image of a romantic and a mystic, he was deeply involved with the practical problems of education and rural construction in India, as well as with the problems of industrialization and organization all over the world. Anyone familiar with Tagore's concept of atma sakti (literally,' one's own strength) cannot fail to notice its resemblance with what the modern political thinkers call 'empowerment'. He thought of a different paradigm of development, preparing the individual to participate in the larger process of development instead of creating institutions without a meaningful relationship between individuals and the process of development. Writings belonging to these two sections are eloquent evidence of this aspect of his personality that was moulded by a philosophy of life-affirmation and humanism.

Equally significant and exciting is the last section, which is devoted to conversations and interviews. From 1912 onwards Tagore came into frequent tough with the finest minds of his time. During his extensive foreign tours that began three years later, he met several great individuals. They include poets and novelists, scientists and politicians, kings and diplomats, educationalists and scholars, religious leaders and philosophers, and performing artists. Unfortunately, very little is preserved of the conversation he had with them and the opinions he expressed on various themes and issues during these interviews. His associates, who accompanied him during his numerous travels in India and abroad, were too late in realizing their responsibility to posterity. Authentic records of only a few meetings are available and we have put them together in this section.

It will not be unfair to claim that the present volume includes almost all the scattered writings of Tagore in English. It is not unlikely that a few stray articles-Particularly the short prefaces and forewords that Tagore wrote to various books-might have escaped our notice or could not be procured by the time this manuscript was sent to the pres. But what we have not included, as a matter of policy, is Tagore's correspondence. This editorial decision needs an apology.

We are aware of the literary merit as well as the historical importance of the letters of Tagore. He, like his predecessor, the great Urdu poet Ghalib, was a master of epistolary prose. He had written several thousand letters. More than a dozen volumes of his Bengali letters have been published so far and the rest, so far uncollected, will fill as many volumes. All these letters are not personal in nature; in fact, only a small part of them is really 'private' and intimate. Some of them, such as Letter from Russia, are serious socio-political discourses in epistolary form. The corpus of Tagore's letters in English is not as copious and varied as it is in Bengali. But it is large enough, and also of great importance, being a record of the correspondence with some of the greatest figures of this century, which includes Gandhi and Rolland.

Barring The Imperfect Encounter, edited by Mary Lago, which covers the Tagore-Rothenstein correspondence, is available yet. Our decision to exclude the letters has not been prompted by the absence of scholarly editions but by the unavailability of one of the participants, the letters of the other are likely to be denuded of their contexts. They would appear like, to use a Tagorean simile, a bird bereft of one wing. This is, however, not to deny the value of the available material, howsoever truncated. We want them to be preserved with care and love. But this volume, like the golden boat in a popular Tagore poem, overfull with harvest, does not have any more room to accommodate them. The letters deserve a separate volume.

About the Book

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) become an international figure when his Gitanjali, an anthology of religious lyrics, originally written in Bengali and translated into English by the poet himself, was warded the Nobel Prize for literature- the first ever to an Asian-in 1913. since then he came to be known not only as a great writer but also as the most able spokesman of modern India. Till today he is the most widely read Indian writer in India and abroad. Although his reputation outside the Bengali-speaking area rests largely if not entirely, on his English writings no attempt has been ever made to put them together. Sahitya Akademi has decided to bring out a complete collection of Tagore's writings in English in three volumes. The corpus of Tagore's English writings is fairly large and diverse. In addition to translations of his own works, his original writings in English, mostly essays, also form a substantial part of his total works. The present volume includes all poetic works translated by Tagore including The Child, the only major poem he wrote in English. These works, distinguished by profundity of thought and beauty of expression, made a great impact on readers belonging to different countries and cultures. Their appeal is still fresh and abiding. For the first time The English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore are presented with detailed annotations and information about the historical context to which they belong.

About the Author

Sisir Kumar Das is the Tagore Professor at the University of Delhi where he teaches Bengali and Comparative Literature. He received the Nehru Prize of the Federal Republic of Germany for his monograph Western Sailors: Eastern Seas (1969), an essay on the German response to Indian culture, and the Tagore Memorial Prize of the West Bengal Government twice for his works The Shadow of the Cross-Hinduism and Christianity in a Colonial Situation (1974) and The Artist in Chains, The Life of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1984). A poet, playwright and critic, he has also translated Aristotle's Poetics and several Greek plays into Bengali. His Bengali publications include Gadya Padyer Dwanda (Essays, 1984), Hayto Daroja Ache (verse, 1986), Abalupta Chaturtha Charan (verse, 1986), Socrates-er Jabanbandi (play, 1989) and Bajpakhir Sange Kichuksan (verse, 1992). He is the author of a History of Indian Literature (1800-1910): Western Impact: Indian Response, published by the Sahitya Akademi.


  Acknowledgements 11
  Introduction 13
  Thoughts from Rabindranath Tagore 27
  The Religion of Man 83
  Man 191  
  Letters to a Friend 219
  Mahatmaji and the Depressed Humanity 323
  East and West 341
  Race Conflict 359
  The Spirit Of Japan 364
  The Meeting of the East and the West 376
  At the Cross Roads 380
  The Message of the Forest 385
  Construction versus Creation 401
  A Cry for Peace 410
  The Call of Truth 412
  The Union of Cultures 426
  A Vision of India's History 439
  The Way to Unity 459
  International Relations 470
  The Indo-Iranians 477
  Notes and Comments 489
  The Fourfold Way of India 495
  The Schoolmaster 504
  City and Village 510
  The Voice of Humanity 519
  The Indian Ideal of Marriage 524
  The Cult of the Charka 538
  Judgment 549
  The Philosophy of Our People 559
  The Rule of the Giant 570
  The Meaning of Art 580
  'American Experience 589
  The Principle of Literature 595
  The Function of a Library 401
  On Oriental Culture and Japan's Mission 604
  Ideals of Education 611
  The Philosophy of Leisure 615
  India and Europe 620
  Wealth and Welfare 623
  The Educational Mission of the Visva-Bharati 626
  Meeting of the East and the West 631
  My Pictures 635
  The first and the Last Prophets of Persia 639
  My School 641
  International Goodwill 646
  Lectures in Iran and Iraq 648
  Asia's Response to the Call of the New Age 659
  Can Science Be Humanized 665
  Rammohun Roy 667
  'To the Youth of Hyderabad' 670
  'Women's Place in the World' 676
  Reply to the Madras Corporation Address 680
  The Religion of an Artist 683
  To the Citizens of Delhi 698
  The Communal Award 700
  Address at the Parliament of Religions 704
  China and India 711
  To Subhas Chandra Bose 716
  Convocation Address at Gurukula Kangri 720
  Crisis in Civilization 722
1 The Problem of India 731
2 Spiritual Civilization 735
3 National Language of India 736
4 The Object and Subject of a Story 737
5 Hindu Intercaste Marriage 741
6 Vernaculars for the M.A. Degree 742
7 'This Youth which Lies Hidden in my Heart' 744
8 On Some Educational Questions 746
9 'Poet's Contribution to Your Noble Work' 749
10 'When Badges of Honour Make Our Shame Claring 751
11 'A Great Crime… in the Name of Law' 752
12 On British Mentality in Relation to India 753
13 'The Efficacy of Ahimsa' 755
14 Message to the Young 755
15 Introducing Elmhirst 758
16 Farewell to Dr. M. Winternitz 759
17 To My Ceylon Audience 760
18 Letter to Lord Lytton 766
19 Birth Control Movement 766
20 'Knighthood' 767
21 Deshabandhu Chittaranjan Das 768
22 Romain Rolland 768
23 Farewell Address to Carlo Formichi 769
24 Philosophy of Fascism 771
25 Fascism Denounced 776
26 Protest Against the Policy of Repression 778
27 Henry Barbusse's Appeal: Tagore's Response 779
28 Freedom 781
29 Mother India 783
30 Colour Prejudice 785
31 To the world League for Peace 785
32 At the Immigration Office 786
33 'East is East' 787
34 Protest Against the Arrest of Mahatma Gandhi 787
35 India: An Appeal to Idealism 788
36 Race and Colour Prejudice 790
37 Faith in British Justice 790
38 Message to the Quaker Society of Friends 792
39 'I Am Proud of My People' 792
40 Statement Contradicted 793
41 The Women's International League 793
42 The Colour Bar 794
43 Takagaki 795
44 India and Britain 796
45 On Proselytism 796
46 Sarnath 797
47 Imprisonment of Gandhi 798
48 Message to Iraq Air Force 798
49 The World's Children 798
50 Appeal to America 899
51 Welcome Address to Professor Davoud 800
52 On the Centenary of Wilberforce 801
53 Deshapriya J.M. Sen Gupta 801
54 Homage to Islam 802
55 Bihar Earthquake and the Mahatma 802
56 Protest Against the Nazis 803
57 My Ideals with regard to the Sreebhavana 804
58 Communal Award: To Madan Mohan Malaviya 806
59 Farewell to Abdul Ghafar Khan 807
60 My Young Friends 808
61 A Letter to an English Friend 809
62 Ishopanishat 810
63 Ramchandra Sharma 811
64 'A Message of Condolence 811
65 To Indian National Congress 812
66 The Rice We Eat 812
67 Message to World Peace Congress 813
68 New Education Fellowship 814
69 The English in India 816
70 Spanish Civil War 819
71 Appeal to the United Party of Sind 819
72 In Defence of the Workers on Strike 820
73 On India 820
74 Appeal for Andaman Prisoners 821
75 In Response to Rasbehari Bose's Appeal 823
76 Vande Mataram 824
77 Appeal to Journalists 825
78 Jagadish Chandra Bose 826
79 The British Constitution in India 829
80 To the People of China 831
81 'Fascism' of the State of Travancore 832
82 Letters to Czecho-slovakia 833
83 Tagore and Noguchi 834
84 W.B. Yeats 845
85 Bihar Cooperative Federation: 21st Conference 845
86 A Tribute to Mahatma Gandhi 846
87 European Order and World Order 847
88 'Freedom of Mind' 847
89 Telegram to Roosevelt 848
90 Bengal's Great Inheritage 848
91 Man's Lost Heritage 849
92 Welcome to Xu Beihong 850
93 Message to 'Foreword' 850
94 Reply to Miss Rathbone 851
  B. ON BOOKS 855
  Thirty Songs from the Punjab and Kashmir 857
  To the Nation 859
  The Web of Indian Life 862
  'A Great Channel for Communication' 864
  The Robbery of the Soil 866
  Zoroastrian Hymns 872
  The Case for India 877
  Voiceless India 879
  Christ 881
  Rebel India 882
  Preface to 'Deliverance' 884
  When Peacocks Called 884
  Marguerite Wilkinson and Tagore 887
  Benedetto Croce and Tagore 888
  Romain Rolland and Tagore 890
  Salvadori and Tagore 899
  Angelica Balban and Tagore 903
  Interview with F.L. Minigerode 904
  H.G. Wells and Tagore 908
  Einstein and Tagore 911
  Conversations in Russia 916
  Interview with the 'Jewish Standard': On the Palestinian Problem 940
  Interviews in Persia 942
  Tagore on Films 949
  To Shakespeare 953
  'A Weary Pilgrim 953
  Appeal for Relief 954
  The Cleanser 954
  'Freedom from Fear 954
  Deshabandhu Chittaranjan Das 955
  Ramakrishna Paramahansa 955
  'Speak to Me, My Friend' 955
  Two Poems Written in Iran 956
  My Vina Breaks Out 956
  You Have Come to Me 957
  The Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech 961
  Notes 967
  Index 1015

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