Dhara Mehta's Reviews > Gora

Gora by Rabindranath Tagore
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May 20, 2012

it was amazing
Read from May 14 to 20, 2012

Tagore’s Gora is a profoundly Indian book. It questions the identity of each of its characters as the well as the Indian nation. Caste, tradition, filial piety, patriotism and marriage are all philosophical addressed in the novel. Tagore examines the difference between religion and religious fanaticism. Tagore compares and contrasts relationship between: fathers and daughters, ruler and ruled, society and individual.

Binoy is an intelligent young man who lives in the shadow of his best friend Gora. Gora is an orphan that is raised in an orthodox Brahman family but was unaware of it. He is intensely patriotic but does heed caste rules. Around this time, a reformist movement is established “Brahmo Samaj” to counteract orthodox Hinduism as well as Christian attacks against polytheism and idol worship. Although Hindus and Brahmos lived side by side they observed different traditions. Brahmo women had more liberty than Hindu women. Binoy, being a good Samaritan, helps an injured neighbor (Poreshbabu) find a doctor. Poreshbablu is a moderate Brahmo, who philosophically advocates the middle road. Thus begins his acquaintance with a Brahmo family. He becomes a frequent visitor to their household. Their two elder daughters Lalita and Sucharita captivate his intellectual curiosity. In return they get an earful about his friend Gora. Gora become acquainted with the Brahmo household. After encountering Binoy and Gora, Sucharita rejects her predetermined suitor: Haribabu. The Brahmo family is invited to an English magistrate party. Gora visits villages outside of Kolkata and rebels against English tyranny. Lalita realizing the misdeeds of the British rebels by leaving her family and escaping the party with Binoy. Her action is scandalous by any standard. Her image and her family’s image are tarnished. Binoy protects Lalita, and eventually marries her. Both of them are abandoned by their respective communities. Gora’s mother (Anandamoyi) and Lalita father supports both the bride and groom. Gora mother considers Binoy her son. Eventually Sucharita is facing another suitor picked by her cunning aunt. Gora realizes his true identity and marries Sucharita.

If Dickens is the master of plot then Tagore is the master of character. Although Gora is slow in the beginning, plot thickens in the middle. The writing is lyrical an almost poetic in nature. Gora represents nationalism, Binoy intellectualism, Lalita feminism, Poreshbabu wisdom, Anadamoyi motherhood, and Borodasundari orthodoxy. Tagore speaks through Poreshbabu. Overall a five star read.

Favorite Quotes
1. It is lack of respect that presents us for a unified vision of our county (p 77)
2. The fact is man cannot function unless he belittles all things outside his own field of action as trivial.
3. Man real relationship with truth is based on deviation: it makes man naturally humble (97)
4. We see Bharatvasha only as a land of men (110)
5. If we could view our nation’s women outside domestic work, we could perceive our nation in its beauty and wholeness (111)
6. Tempted by the present one loses the future (277)
7. Dispelling all the falsehood of this world, let the pure image of prefect truth manifest itself in our lives (283)
8. The community makes us completely forget the simplest thing: our humanity (316)
9. Liberation from assaults of looseness and enslavement to falsehood. That is what I mean by liberation (320)
10. Gone are the night of sorrow, the day has dawned. Brokem, broken are the chains of bondage (336)
11. When a person comes to conflict with a society two things must be considered of the two sides who is mote powerful, who is more just. It is the society that must grow and extend itself for the human being (403)
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Reading Progress

05/14 page 100
18.0% "It is a lack of respect that prevents us from a unified country (77)
Man's real relationship with truth is based on devotion: it makes him humble (97)"
05/16 page 147
27.0% "We see Bharatvasha as only the land of men. If we could view our nation's women outside domestic work, we would perceive our nation in its beauty and wholeness"
05/17 page 247
45.0% "Today he surrendered his pride, all his prettiness to this shskti, this power infused with sweetness (205)"
04/23 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Meera (new)

Meera Srikant This is an amazing book with great characterisations, though I think long dialogues.

Ankita Sinha May I know in which language is it originally written?

Jogeshthakor Hindi

message 4: by Sabari (new)

Sabari Ghosh sabari

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