Monday, May 31, 2010

Rabindra Nath Tagore: Visionary in Multiplicity

Rabindra Nath Tagore, who commonly known to the world with the surname of “Tagore” was undoubtedly the topmost acclaim as representative of the identity and belief of India’s national culture but sharply away from the popular notion of Indian nationalism. The Tagores were an aristocratic elite family with a very sound family tradition of learning-father Maharshi Debendra Nath was not less than an institution of knowledge; bond between father-sons cultivated a relentless tradition of learning for long time.
Linguistic division has turned India’s national culture into many chocked status that badly haunted the creativity-remarkable literaturer like Bankim Chandra Chatterji or Subramania Bharati who shown great zeals to consolidate the India as a supreme unit {Authority}by spending years at Varanasi couldn’t get similar attention because of same divisive trap of British colonialist.
In no manner,Tagore faced the similar ire, as universalism was much sacrosanct for him then anything else…he was in favour of Indian independence but not through Swadeshi movement or any other nationalist stances based on the boycott of foreign conception or material goods.

At his own frame of mind, sovereignty of nation remained a puzzling issue before him-his book on the contemporary Swadeshi movement “Ghare Baire {The Home and the World}”poignantly touched the entire issue and left as reference point for his dislike with nationalism at the cost of internationalism. His idea of internationalism were primarily a humanist stand and broadly a world vision to see the world borderless atleast in sphere of culture-leading Sociologist Ashish Nandi’s work “The Illegitimacy of Nationalism” provides some deeper insight on this debate.
He was an avid proponent of Universalist aspiration though Universalism with a difference-his imagination hadn’t any place for power struggle and that were the real point of unusualness.
Two ideologue of Asian Universalism-Okakura Kakuzo and Sister Nivedita were the propagator of his vision in Asia and beyond;he himself extensively traveled across the world including Central Asia and CHINA-in a short span,he visited thrice time to China and streamlined the bond of sharing between these two ancient civilization.His official Chinese translator in 1920’s, Xu Zhimo {affectionately he called him Suo Sima} shared with him a bond that weren’t lesser then father-son relations.
They were so close that Tagore stayed at his house in Simingcun or Siming village {Shanghai} during all three visits; Tagore’s quotation placed the village’s community walls and he still remembered as most profound cultural representative from India. Tagore’s theme or life philosophy “the crescent moon, adolescent heart and the quintessence of nature” received mix response in contemporary Chinese literary circle-Chinese literaturer Tan Chang came out with a reverse opinion through his essay “Tagore’s Inspiration in Chinese new Poetry”; he termed Tagore’s view as escapist but his stand must not be confused with collective opinion of Chinese.

Leading social historian Ram Chandra Guha’s view on Tagore, ‘If Tagore had merely been a ‘creative artist’; perhaps one would not have found him put to rank alongside those other builders of modern India-draws his unique persona in terms of multiple efforts he had relentlessly made in his lifetime. His humbleness that always exposed him as “creative artist” in consistent effort largely differed from his very early acceptance into a worldwide figure. Tagore always enjoyed this intrinsic struggle of art very intimately and entwined those cruxes to different realm of life.
Literaturer and classical music exponent Amit Chaudhuri’s elaboration that Tagore knew this, and it’s from his intimacy with solitariness and secrecy that his extraordinary language and his transformative vision of the world emerge-he often seems to make this solitary self an interlocutor, in a tone at once self-flagellating and accusatory; in India, Tagore is viewed as a sort of Guinness Book of World Record holder {Nothing but a Poet, Hindustan Times, May7,2010,Friday}, deciphers the versatility of this unparalleled man.
Indeed we Indians have masterly command in forgetting our own strong side of tradition and being a part of that tradition, Tagore’s assessment also suffered similar flaws both at home and the world. Amit Chaudhuri’s concern,”from Vidyapati {great Maithili poet of14th century AD, of whose songs he once composed a pastiche} to Tagore, there’s an immense movement; but of what kind? Brilliantly covers the historical series of negligence towards the discipline of literature.
After 150th birth anniversary of Tagore on May17th, 2010, time has sufficiently mature now to convert some of positively earmarked proposition into action-prolific work of Tagore essentially needs a revisiting for streamlining and formation of proper views on his life and accomplishment. He had unique capacity to converge the pastime to painful efforts-remarkably; he succeeded on most of counts with same consistent calibrated blend of action. He was a Poet, Artist, Institution Maker, Patriot, Conservator, Reformer, Naturalist par excellent-moreover, he epitomizes perfectly as a mean-line between tradition and modernity which is indeed a rare combination in itself.

The most genuine tribute to Tagore would be introspection in broad light about his activism as an epoch-maker during significant and decisive phases of late nineteenth century and first half of twentieth century; his sustainable world view amidst the wave of his prolific work symbolizes his zeal to uplift his motherland and entire humanity at large.
Apart from his contribution, one aspect is equally imperative to cover the rare quality of this doyen of non-conflict-at no point, Tagore even for a moment never subdued with the gap of his conception and standard of worldly acceptance. Infact, he felt aggrieved, shocked but never let allowed those melancholic inferences to block his voyage of Universalism.

Among much uniqueness, Tagore had credit to compete the national anthem of two neighboring countries-“Jan gana man”, the national anthem of India is thoroughly entrusted with “Rag Kedar” after first stanza and national anthem of Bangladesh “Amar Sonar Bangla” emerged from the “Baul Music” tradition of Bengal; that naturally reflects his vision for beauty around the corner. Truly, this defender of natural human development amidst the healthy environment easily imparts a solution for mankind in next course of development. Time would be never as appropriate as presently to shed the growing discontent through contemplating the vision of Tagore.
Atul Kumar Thakur, New Delhi
May28th, 2010, Friday