Discourse on Colonialism. His hope was that if India could establish equanimity between the various races and religious groups,through a basis of social co-operation and regeneration of the spirit, then she could hold herself as a model of unity for the rest of the world. This is the higher unity of humanity, which is different from corporate globalisation or what Tagore calls, the “mere political or commercial basis of unity” (Soares 105) between nations. sweeping over the human world of the present age and eating into its moral fibre” (Nationalism 9); a terrible absurdity that is seeking to engulf humanity in a suicidal conflagration. Tagore was an avid advocate of inter-civilisational alliance; his vision was given to a symbiosis of the East and West. Untouchables are the fifth caste in the hierarchy of Hindu society and are often treated as pariahs or social outcasts. India: Rupa, 2002.——. India: Rupa, 2003.Chatterjee, Kalyan K. “Lukacs on Tagore: Ideology and Literary Criticism.” Indian Literature 31.3 (1988): 153-60.Chomsky, Noam. Lawrence’s arrogance and contempt in the above statement only ratified Tagore’s claim that the chasm between the East and the West was created by the West’s unwarranted contempt for the East, which in return generated hatred in the East against the West. Nations and Nationalism. On hearing the news of Tagore’s death, Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in his prison diary, “Perhaps it is as well that[Tagore] died now and did not see the many horrors that are likely to descend in increasing measure on the world and on India. While doing so, the concept of world governance was discussed onhand of the writings by Jürgen Habermas. Cavite Mutiny, brief uprising of 200 Filipino troops and workers at the Cavite arsenal on January 20, 1872, which became the excuse for Spanish repression of the embryonic Philippine nationalist movement. Juan Mascaro. The logic is simple but cruel, and is sustained by a privileging norm, that in order to have rich and powerful nations, some nations ought to be left poor and pregnable: “Because this civilization is the civilization of power, therefore it is exclusive, it is naturally unwilling to open its sources of power to those whom it has selected for its purposes for exploitation” (Nationalism 13). Despite literature’s such active complicity in the formation of the institution and the global acceptance of nationalism as the only legitimate form of political organisation, India’s myriad-minded poet, Rabindranath Tagore—whom Bertrand Russell considered “worthy of the highest honour” (qtd. Tagore’s critique of modern civilisation finds clearest expression in his reflections on the concepts of nation and nationalism. Tagore urged the West to overcome its “logic of egoism” (Dutta 211), ignoble triumphalism, “forcible parasitism” (Dutta 210) and intentional ignorance, and seek to understand the East in a true spirit of creativity, fellowship and welfare of humanity. Introduction. The memory of the two World Wars and the increasing realization that for a continued peaceful evolution of the global village there is a need for a universal minimum in defining the good and desirable and mitigating the division between the privileged and the under-privileged. Nationalism, according to Tagore, is not “a spontaneous self-expression of man as social being,” where human relationships are naturally regulated, “so that men can develop ideals of life in co-operation with one another” (Nationalism 5), but rather a political and commercial union of a group of people, in which they congregate to maximise their profit, progress and power; it is “the organised self-interest of a people, where it is least human and least spiritual” (Nationalism 8). The EU youth project about whether or not Patriotism is an alternative form to Nationalism has tried to reflect some answers to this question. He would not accept such thorny hedges of exclusion or the labels and divisions that stood on the way to the formation of a larger human community. Nationalism is a system created by people who believe their nation is superior to all others. The caste system has become too rigid and taken a hypnotic hold on themind of the people; what was once meant to introduce social order by accommodating the various racial groups in India, has now become a gigantic system of cold-blooded repression. Elaborate. But it did more than that. Most often, this sense of superiority has its roots in a shared ethnicity. In 'The Home and the World', Nikhil, Tagore’s alter ego in the novel, who is patriotic but wouldn’t place nation above truth and conscience says, “I am willing to serve my country; but my worship I reserve for Right which is far greater than country. Although apolitical by temperament, Tagore at first was drawn to the movement and started giving lectures and writing patriotic songs with such fervour that Ezra Pound quipped,“Tagore has sung Bengal into a nation” (qtd. . Both of these limitations reduced nationalism to an incomplete, monolithic and unipolar ideology—essentially inadequate for human beings given to an inherent multiplicity and seeming contraries, that needed to be unified and synthesised, through a process of soulful negotiation and striking of an axial line between opposites, to create the whole and wholesome person. Paul Hirst, a leading international social theorist, has predicted that with the prospects of climate change that might attenuate our resources and result in mass migration from a loss of “habitable land in highly populated areas like Bangladesh or the southern coast of China,” or “desertification or water shortages in the Middle East or Southern Europe” (2); increase in the global income inequality; accretion of human rights violation worldwide; America’s quest for global dominance and challenges from “new ‘beggars’ armies” to the military hegemony, as well as the general selfishness of the developed nations, threatens the world with a “conflict ridden international environment” (2) in the twenty-first century, with the prospects of several conventional wars, “to limited nuclear war” (2). He argues that the rise of nationalism in Western Europe was made possible by the decline, if not the death, of religious modes of thought, in the wake of the rationalist secularism of the Enlightenment, or the Age of Reason. “National Culture.” Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin Brenan, Timothy. in Quayum, “Touched by a Divine Afflatus 14). Chmosky comments, “World opinion strongly favoured diplomatic-judicial measures over military action. affirm that in spite of “all its contentiousness, and the difficulty of theorising it adequately, [nation/nationalism] remains the most implacably powerful force in twentieth century politics” (151). It installs the spirit of sacrifice for the cause of nation and that is why modern state creates national army and not mercenary forces. No accepted papers currently in this panel. Yet Tagore and Gandhi never saw eye to eye on the way towards India’s future, as Tagore stubbornly refused to supportGandhi’s nationalist movement against the British rule. But this did not imply that he was devoid of all attachment to his homeland. Since literature and poetry play a huge role in the formation of Nationalism – in the case of Greece one needs to think only of Lord Byron but also what was the role of poetry in the years of resistance, if not to bring out a new version of the heroic song as the case in Elytis' 'Axion Esti' – be praised - this debate about Nationalism received an interesting impuls once Gabriel Rosenstok proposed to look into the writings by Tagore and what some scholars such as Mohammad A. Quayum made of his criticism of Nationalism. In a letter to C.F. The Home and the World. . By its very nature as an organisation, Tagore argued, nationalism could ill afford any altruism in this regard. India is no beggar of the West." Perhaps respite will come only when the “pious warlords” (Dutta 191) after all their calculated savagery and sacrifices to the “dark gods of war” (Dutta 191) will have successfully realised Bertrand Russell’s sombre prediction about world peace:"After ages during which the earth produced harmless trilobites and butterflies, evolution progressed to the point at which it has generated Neroes, Genghis Khans, and Hitlers. Several post-colonial critics agree with Tagore’s view that nationalism begets a disquisition of intolerance and “othering.” Ernest Gellner, Benedict Anderson and Tom Nairn have pointed out the irrationality, prejudice and hatred that nationalism generates, and Leela Gandhi speaks of its attendant racism and loathing, and the alacrity with which citizens are willing to both kill and die for the sake of the nation. Yet his transcendent thought provides a testament to his noble and beautiful mind, and strikes a cord in the moral person in each of us. in Chomsky 16) and that in which, as Radhakrishnan said, “self-interest is the end; brute force, the means; conscience is taboo” (163). Works Cited:Alterman, Eric, and Mark Green. by putting the country in its place” (224). .Kripalani, Krishna. in Quayum, “In Search of a Spiritual Commonwealth” 32-33). It calls for a humanitarian intervention into present self-seeking and belligerent nationalism, through the introduction of a moral and spiritual dimension in the institution. (27-28). First and foremost, India must address the caste issue. ", Quite so. London: Macmillan, 1976.Radhakrishnan, S. The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore. His wish that the West could help India in her mission was also impracticable, especially since he knew that the West came to the subcontinent, as he recounted in his essay “East and West,” “not with the imagination and sympathy to create and unite, but with a shock of passion—passion for power and wealth” (Dutta 206). Ed. . Tagore is a complex man. It also requires us to step out of history to reinvent a new future for ourselves that respects human dignity and sees every individual and nation as equals, in a true democratic spirit. in Kripalani 227) as a poet—shared not an iota of positive sentiment towards the ideology. Much like Chomsky, Tagore believed, to put it in Chomsky’s words, that “‘another world is possible’ [by] seeking to create constructive alternatives of thought, actions and institutions,” and by bringing “a measure of peace and justice and hope to the world” (236-37). A Critique on Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Nationalism’ The dictionary definition of the word ‘nationalism’ is “identification with one’s own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations.” The Price of Loyalty. He was severe in his criticisms of the inability of European civilization to transmit its basic civilizational traits to others. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. in Kripalani 268). London and New York: Routledge, 1997. Over 2800 delegates from approximately 80 countries are expected to attend. [Who] survives by sticking scraps of the Upanishads and the Bhagavadgita into his works amid the sluggish flow of his tediousness” (qtd. with all the great power of music which he has, that the East and West are ever in search of each other, and that they must meet not merely in the fullness of physical strength, but in fullness of truth; that the right hand, which wields the sword, has the need of the left, which holds the shield of safety." Perhaps it is not too late for us to wake up from our horrific moral slumber and accept the path of international solidarity, peace, harmony and justice paved by the Indian enlightened humanitarian poet, Rabindranath Tagore; by challenging the reigning ideological system of self-seeking nationalism and jingoism, we could still avert the all-consuming nightmare before us and alter the damning course of history. Robert B. Silvers and Barbara Epstein. London: Penguin, 1985.——. According to Alterman and Green, a Gallup poll after the operation in Afghanistan on nine Muslim countries showed “ 77 percent of the respondents judged U.S. actions in Afghanistan to be unjustifiable; only 9 percent expressed support” (236). The first section will focus on presenting contemporary and historical definitions. In 1857, only four years before the poet was born, the first military uprising for self-rule broke out in India. In this Tagore questions the idea of nation, and insists that moral principles and … When you borrow things that do not belong to your life, they only serve to crush your life. Tagore saw this radical view of Sandip, in which the nation is apotheosised and placed above truth and conscience, as a recipe for disaster. It is because of the perpetuation of an outmoded and short-sighted policy of the advanced countries that the philosophy of universal brotherhood has been relegated to a secondary status. They were never sincere in developing colonised countries/nations, as to convert their “hunting grounds” into “cultivated fields” (Nationalism 12) would have been contrary to their national interest. Throughout his life, Tagore remained deeply critical of nationalism, a position that pitted him against Mahatma Gandhi. One might think that Tagore’s critique of nationalism is a little lofty and far-fetched—“too pious” as Pound might have said; his arguments are layered in atavistic spiritualism and romantic idealism. . I believe that it does India no good to compete with Western civilization in its own field. in Desai 7). See . Despite its “mythical” quality, and the difficulties involved in defining it, the phenomenon stillenjoys profound political and emotional legitimacy in modern society. The Break-Up of Britain: Crisis and Neo-Nationalism. Academia.edu is a platform for academics to share research papers. It advocates trade policies that protect domestic industries. Tagore argued that British colonialism found its justification in the ideology of nationalism, as the coloniser came to India and other rich pastures of the world to plunder and so further the prosperity of their own nation. This will need to be altered through the restoration of the soul to its rightful place. . 7-14.Dutta, Krishna, and Andrew Robinson. “War in the Twenty-First Century.” Paper for the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm. India has since been broken up into three countries: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh; ten million people were made homeless in the aftermath of the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, one million of which also lost their lives in inter-religious riots (Wolpert 348); two major wars have been fought in the subcontinent, with border skirmishes and threats of furtherwars, including a nuclear war, casting a shadow of desperation on the people; several riots have also broken out between the Hindus and the Muslims, claiming thousands of lives.10 India still remains a poor country, with political corruption rife, and plights of the downtrodden a daily reality. This is an estimated figure only, frequently proclaimed by the post-liberation Bangladeshi government. He was aware of the admiration of the concept of nationalism and This childhood experience became the poet’s lifelong companion; he would feel muffled by any confining circle and challenge it with utmost vigour. In a letter to Yone Noguchi, a Japanese writer who had asked for Tagore’s moral support for Japan’s invasion of China in 1937, in the name of “saving China for Asia” (Dutta 192), Tagore roundly criticises Noguchi for his naive acceptance of the grotesque rhetoric meant to veil an adventure of greed:"I was amused to read the recent statement of a Tokyo politician that the military alliance of Japan with Italy and Germany was made for ‘highly spiritual and moral reasons’ and ‘had no materialistic considerations behind it. To worship my country as a god is to bring curse upon it” (29). Untouchable. It breedsexclusivism and dogmatism through the Hegelian dichotomous logic of self’s fundamental hostility towards the other; thus every nation becomes narcissistic and considers the presence of another a threat to itself; waging war against other nations for its self-fulfilment and self-aggrandisement becomes a justifiable and even “holy” act. As the world had barely crossed the portal of a new millennium, and stepped into the twenty-first century, it found itself again battered in torrents of blood and locked in a devil dance of destruction. Thus, ironically, this world of pomp and finery, wealth and power, at its height of crisis, was left to the wisdom of one person; and had Arkhipov been as “insane” as some of the other nationalist chauvinists, the world would have almost surely been extinct now through a major nuclear warfare—if not the world, the Northern Hemisphere. . 'From Wealth of Nation' (Adam Smith) to 'Greatness of the Nation', over and again this yearning for affluence brings with it a certain curse. The results of this project have to be developed further. Tagore saw very clearly two clear-cut alternatives to the present scenario: one to continue to fight amongst one another and second, to locate the true basis of reconciliation and mutual help”. . For an estimated figure for the number of deaths in wars and other forms of political violence in the twentieth century, see . Moreover, the on-going violence in the subcontinent vindicates his position. Tagore’s response to his critics was fictionally articulated in both 'The Home and the World' and 'Four Chapters' (both seen as Tagore’sprofound testament to non-violence). New York: Monthly Review, 1972.Chakravarty, Amiya. Tagore, aware of the fate of Sita in Ramayana, for overstepping a similar circle by her husband, would accede to the forceful confinement, but would feel a defiant wish to wipe out the chalk line and find the horizon. Tagore’s vision might seem idealistic but it is not unattainable. (173). Tagore explains this process, using a metaphor similar to Whitman’s “grass” in “Song of Myself”:As the mission of the rose lies in the unfoldment of the petals which implies distinctness, so the rose of humanity is perfect only when the diverse races and nations have evolved their perfect distinct characteristics but all attached to the stem of humanity by the bond of love. (Soares 104-05). Both Sandip and Indranath, begin as charismatic nationalist figures, but gradually become self-obsessed and vainglorious in their cause, losing sight of their dharma of dispassionate, disinterested action (as advised by Krishna to Arjuna in The Bhagavad Gita), and use violence as a fetish for personal gain; thus their early optimism is replaced later by a senseof nada. Like predators (and nationalism, as wesaw above, inherently cultivates a rapacious logic), they thrived by victimising and violating other nations, and never felt deterred in their heinous actions by the principles of love, sympathy or universal fellowship. Personal considerations were added when the CIA claimed to have detected an Iraqi plot to assassinate ex-president Bush while he was on a visit to Kuwait, though the evidence for this alleged attempt looks a great deal sketchier in retrospect” (275). Trans. That provokes immediately the question but what about those who go freely into war, and this in the name of upholding the nation's flag? Such “mendicant politics” (Dutta 167) that fails to tear down the customary barriers between people, was of little worth to Tagore. Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction. New York: Modern Library, 1950.Wolpert, Stanley. Nationalists believe that the resources of our country should be for the benefit of our people today and in the future. Secondly, a brief account of the emergence of nationalism and debates over its origins will be presented. As Tagore himself has written in the book, Nationalism has its dimension in varied ways. West had its own axe to grind; in spite of their “superior force of character” (Dutta 128), they were not interested in the “nest-building of truth” (Dutta 214) but in money, machine and matter. The “jihadists” (by which I refer not only tothe radical Islamists but also the ferocious jingoists, who seem equally enthusiastic in violence and to kill innocent civilians with utter abandon like the “terrorists”) have struck again and the world has suffered colossal disasters. Lukacs, who found both Tagore and Gandhi counter-revolutionary, took the opportunity to pounce on Tagore, after the publication of his anti-nationalist, anti-revolutionary novel, The Home and the World (1915). « India | The Indian ideology by Perry Anderson », Tagore's criticism of Nationalism - Mohammad A. Quayum, The marketplace of voices by Waqas Khwaja, Imagine all the people in the world - Civil Society, NGOs and Development, Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do, EU youth project about whether or not Patriotism is an alternative form to Nationalism. Instead self interest comes into play. Tagore was a believer in an interactive, dialogic world, given to a deep sense of sympathy, generosity and mutuality, and in which nations would not be parochial, xenophobic and centripetal, or guided by mere selfishness and self-aggrandisement, but poised towards a morally and politically enlightened community of nations through the espousal of a centrifugal outlook, multilateral imagination, principal of universality and reciprocal recognitions. This is to ensure that both metaphysics and orders (as guaranted by the police) do not determine consciousness and thereby give space to the individual so that he can decide and act according to his own free conscience. John A. Kouwenhoven. Tagore's critique of nationalism is mainly based on this homogenising effect of nationalism. in Sen 86). Tagore’s prediction that joining the bandwagon of nationalism would make India a beggar of the West has also come true. You are here: Home » International » India » Tagore's criticism of Nationalism - Mohammad A. Quayum. His vision is given to a “magnificent harmony” that he believes is the ultimate destiny of humankind: the enlightened individuals and nations coming together to form an enlightened global society. Why is this so or rather what is the purpose behind such an effort to silence the conscience has to be seen in terms what it entails. The West could in fact help liberate India from its “mind-forg’d manacles” and lift the dead weight of tradition from its soul through a constructive engagement and inducement of energy, strength, elasticity, tolerance, resolve and courage among its people—qualities that the West possessed but India lacked. Starring Soumitra Chatterjee, Victor Banerjee and Jennifer Kendal in the lead roles, the story is set in the aftermath of the partition of Bengal (1905). New York: Viking, 2004.Anand, Mulk Raj. Sometimes these wars, especially by the rich and powerful nations, are disguised with expressions of noble intent, such as “liberating the people from an evil dictator” and/or “introducing democracy.” But such rhetoric is always disingenuous. Inthis sense Tagore stands a precursor to many of the modern critics and philosophers of post/trans-nationalism and globalism such as Frantz Fanon, Edward Said and Noam Chomsky. The Post-Colonial Studies Reader. I have also pointed out in the introduction of the essay how nationalism is often used as a pretext for terrorism, factional or state, and war. A Tagore Reader. The mechanism of globalization is a new device to perpetuate the spirit of domination and exploitation of the older imperial times rather than make an attempt to create a new partnership among nations and its people based on equality and shared prosperity. Merchants and the government work together to reduce the trade deficit and create a surplus. It is difficult to understand him partly because he is not discussed as much as he should be and also partly because his ideas are intellectual and not that easy for us to relate to. Kalika, ayoung wife and a nationalist dogmatist, who badgers her husband, a moderate but sensitive person, for not being fervent enough, refuses to come to the aid of an old municipal sweeper, who is being assaulted by a group of orthodox Hindus for accidentally touching someone in the crowd, just because he is an untouchable. London: Macmillan, 1959.——. London: Verso, 1991.Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin, eds. Rabindranath Tagore was a believer in universal humanism and internationalism. A New History of India. India: A Mosaic. (qtd. London: Macmillan, 1970.Suskind, Ron. For the free conscience is only possible if the individual is not over determined, but free to decide. He was always opposed to the nationalism of Realpolitik and hyper-nationalism that breathed meaning into Thucydides’s ancient maxim that “large nations do what they wish, while small nations accept what they must” (qtd. This, however, I believe is a passing nightmare; in time the earth will become again incapable of supporting life, and peace will return." The truth is that the spirit of conflict and conquest is at the origin and in the centre of Western nationalism; its basis is not social co-operation. British policy of partitioning Bengal crisis was the most powerful armies of world e.g reduce the trade deficit create... ( qtd of limited purpose” ( nationalism 9 ) back later to read in! 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