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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  167 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Man's history is being shaped according to the difficulties it encounters. These have offered us problems and claimed their solutions from us, the penalty of non-fulfilment being death or degradation.
Paperback, 143 pages
Published February 28th 2002 by Rupa (first published 1917)
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You have to heartily concede it to Tagore, he is still no less poetic writing this essay on nationalism than if he were writing a poem.

“And yet I will persist in believing that there is such a thing as the harmony of completeness in humanity, where poverty does not take away his riches, where defeat may lead him to victory, death to immortality, and where in the compensation of Eternal Justice those who are the last may yet have their insult transmuted into a golden triumph. Let our life be si
This is a set of essays by Tagore on the phenomenon of nationalism as he saw it at at the dawn of the 20th century. His critique of the West's modern technocratic society - that "machine" whose inputs are men and nature and which allows for only "neatly compressed bales of humanity" are incredibly eloquent and impassioned. The warnings he gave to Europe of its own coming demise due to its nationalist fervor ended up being eerily prescient, its clear that he foresaw the devastation of the World W ...more
Andrés Pérez Mohorte
Do not approach to this book thinking in a historical peer-to-peer reviewed manual. This is not the purpose of Tagore, espiritual and very talented novelist who talks about nationalism in terms of pure sentimentalism. So that if what you're looking for is a professional paper about the topic just run away, we are talking about feelings here, not about facts. Yet there is something incredibly appealing and full of truth in the Tagore's view of nationalism, absolutely dyed with poetry and a ideali ...more
Diya Ganopadhyay
Tagore's vision of international unity and humanism above nationalism were truly ahead of his time. Particularly coming at a time when the Indian Swadeshi Movement was at its peak. However I found the lavish use of metaphors a little distracting from the main flow of content. It's worth thinking if the seemingly idealistic notions of all nations being co-operative rather than competitive can ever become reality. Also, his views on a human driven political system as opposed to an organized struct ...more
Kiran Kumili
No wonder why this great poet and literature genius has been awarded the Nobel Prize. Anyone who reads this book clearly gets an understanding as to how much this author has studied human mind and its social aspects that had been troubling the humanity ever since power and materialistic possessions have taken over spiritual freedom.
The book is divided into three parts- Nationalism in the West, Nationalism of Japan and Nationalism in India.
Rabindranath’s idea about a Nation is that of an evoluti
"And the idea of the nation is one of the most powerful anaesthetics that man has ever invented. Under the influence of its fumes the whole people can carry out its systematic program of the most virulent self-seeking without being in the least aware of its moral perversion, in fact, feeling dangerously resentful when it is pointed out."

Smart bugger that Tagore. Probably my favourite Indian along with Rushdie.
Natalia Tweet
Brilliant thoughts for humanity and against the materialistic society which became so normal to us that we hardly question our capitalistic system nor our monetary goals. Some of the thoughts which I think summarize our current challenge: [In the so called free countries the majority of the people are not free ;they are driven by the minority to a goal which is not even known to them. This becomes possible only because people do not acknowledge moral and spiritual freedom as their object. they c ...more
Tagore offers a nuanced critique of nationalism and modernity. Critical of the divisiveness of nationalism the book endorses a form of cultural patriotism. Tagore's humanism shines through every page of the book and is at the heart of his thinking. Modernity's emphasis on rationalization is critised as a form of abstractionism which dehumanises human relations. In the quest for efficiency details are overlooked and individuality sacrificed, opening the door for totalitaritarianism and oppression ...more
I picked this title for two reasons: one, I felt it was time I read some Tagore. Two - I studied nationalism closely while in graduate school. Completing this work, I know I need to read more Tagore as his literary writing in this piece is excellent. I give it three stars only out of my disappointment with Tagore's treatment of the subject of nationalism which I felt was shallow and not particularly well thought out.
Luis Branco
It is a great book, written by a great writer. Tagore with his triadic view that included Europe (West), Japan and India gives us a high meaning of the human kind and the formation of the society. It is a great book with an touching end with one of Tagore's poem.
Rajat TWIT
The book has a wonderful and erudite introduction by Ramachandra Guha, which helped a lot to understand the exact the nature and philosophy of the theme. Tagore was not just a poet but was a great influence on a whole generation. Though the essays (lecture given by him) were not that interesting and were rather impractical in some parts. Mr Guha has rightly pointed that in USA he was criticized for some thoughts which he was not able to defend properly. Regardless of that, the 'poet turns philos ...more
Athena Parker
This book was written in 1917 about the Nation-State and how the East should adjust to modernization. It is a well thought out and balanced view of society that reads more like poetry than like political philosophy. The just of the book is that the East and America must evolve in a way that is not mechanical but moral and human. Though this book was written in 1917 it is surprisingly applicable to our current situation. I definitely suggest giving this a read.
A great book written in the age of great turmoil in India. Diminishing of European power, rise of Japan and USA turning to be the most powerful country, all written well before turning to reality. What a great analysis by this great writer. The concept of nationalism and too much focus on spiritual insight is something I may not agree with, still this book gives a good insight to anyone trying to have some understanding of European rise and fall.
This is an overlooked book that represents a unique form of Indian anarchism, though it doesn't go by that name. Nationalism is Tagore's poetic critique of the state form and its role in post-colonial repression, and he offers up a truly indian vision of a free society based on decentralized communal democracy. A beautifully written book filled with lucid language.
Poetic exploration of Western 'civilisation' written in favour of Eastern spirituality and love of one's fellow man over commerce. Beautifully written, and unequivocal in its message Tagore's 1917 work resonates stronger now that it ever has done. Eurocentrism and white supremacy are perfectly critiqued in Nationalism and should be mandatory reading.
Thuỳ Vân
It would be nice if I could understand everything he wrote -ideals he put in for 100 years (is it still valid?). Therefore I could not make any controversy but I do think great minds produce great books.
Sonny Ny
Jan 19, 2009 Sonny Ny marked it as to-read
Available from Penguin Books India -
via Jabberwock -
An interesting counterargument to patriotism and parochialism. It can seem a little repetitive and the prose is somewhat purple, but kudos to a thinker who was way ahead of his time.
Gurudev Tagore is the greatest Indian author of the English language. The vision shown in this text is mind-boggling. Helped reaffirm certain views of India, and introduced new ones.
Prescient book, predicts the second world war and the destructive nature of nationalist sentiment, even in the context of the indian independence movement.
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Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913 "because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West."

Tagore modernised Bengali art by spurning rigid classical forms and resisting linguistic strictures. His novels, stories, songs, dance-dramas, and ess
More about Rabindranath Tagore...
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“Yes, this is the logic of the Nation. And it
will never heed the voice of truth and goodness.
It will go on in its ring-dance of moral corruption,
linking steel unto steel, and machine unto
machine; trampling under its tread all the sweet
flowers of simple faith and the living ideals of
“Neither the colourless vagueness of cosmopolitanism, nor the fierce self-idolatry of nation-worship, is the goal of human history.” 1 likes
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