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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  506 Ratings  ·  58 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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Alex Yxola Hi, to my knowledge, you cannot read books in this website, but, fortunately, Tagore's essays can be found in this web: The…moreHi, to my knowledge, you cannot read books in this website, but, fortunately, Tagore's essays can be found in this web: The essays being part of this book are the ones found under "Nationalism" here:


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Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nobels, nonfiction
As Nobel Laureates go, Rabindranath Tagore ranges among my absolute favourites. I have loved his fiction for many, many years, and his nonfiction turns out to be equally intriguing.

When I first read Tagore's essays on nationalism, I kept checking the publication date. It can't be, I thought, it really can't be that this was written in 1917, when other people practiced their polemic sarcasm and propaganda prose style, yelling out their conviction that nationalism, us against them, was what made
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
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
In these times of hyper-nationalism, I picked up this book with the expectations to find some good arguments to use against my neo-right friends in the coffee-table and whatsapp discussions. Having read Tagore's Ghare Baire (The home and the world) previously, I am well aware of his views on 'Nationalism' which resonate with that of mine. My aim was to find some pithy sayings and finer examples in these essays that would bolster my stand. Like a mystic poet philosopher, Tagore has spoken erudi ...more
May 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Ashok Krishna
What a bore! Rabindranath Thakur might have been a great poet and philosopher, but he seems to have known little about the art of conveying the ideas succinctly so that they can reach their target audience.

Nationalism is another sick form of vile separatism that keeps the humans away from one another. While writing about such a critical concept shouldn't he consider the vast majority of laymen that might benefit by reading and contemplating on such topics?!

Agreed, these were lectures delivered
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: forgotten-wisdom
Severly underrated essayist.
A incisive take on nationalism: which he terms as a terrible absurdity.
Nationalism according to him is a giant unfeeling machine. The machine is built to achieve power,greed and unbridled materialism
The human being is but a minor cog in the wheel. The individual is indoctrinated to hate,distrust, murder, conquer,plunder other nations shamelessly. The writer considers it as a impediment to the world of love,care,cooperation and awareness.
In case of India, he like ambed
Swarnadeep Banik
thankfully, tagore didn't see WWII, the holocaust, the cold war, berlin wall, vietnam war or many political unrest. he died after two years when WWII started, yes, but he'd been disappointed, disheartened, shocked, hurt and pained if he knew about the holocaust. he would've changed his beliefs on human beings and humanity, maybe, where one human loves to torture another human, mercilessly. while reading this book, i freshly reminded one of my most favourite quotes from dostoyevsky's "the idiot" ...more
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Prescient book, predicts the second world war and the destructive nature of nationalist sentiment, even in the context of the indian independence movement.
May 06, 2016 rated it liked it
I picked up this book thinking I want to learn about what Tagore – one of the foremost freedom fighters of our country – thought of the word ‘Nationalism’ - this word that is being so misconstrued and used and abused by so many in our nation today.

Unfortunately, I think I have failed. I don’t think I really caught onto much of what his thoughts on ‘nationalism’ really are. They seemed a little scattered to be honest. But I did learn a lot more. One, I know that the man does do poetic albeit dra
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dit had ik echt nodig om af en toe aan Jelinek te ontsnappen. Tagore was een briljante denker, dichter, activist; misschien de belangrijkste intellectuele activist op Gandhi na. Zijn filosofie is ontzettend stilistisch geschreven en daar geniet ik van. De essays lezen als eloquente, welgeformuleerde statements met sterke punten. Tagore schrijft niet aanvallend, maar erg overtuigend. Hij preekt vrede zonder sentimenteel te klinken.
Kiran Kumili
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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 Gangopadhyay
Dec 30, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, indian
"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.
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-star
Published a century ago. It is so eerily prophetic given what unfolded in the decades that followed, especially given that Tagore speaks directly to Europe and Japan. And still relevant today, of course. I bought this the weekend after the referendum result and it is still eerie and prophetic, but full of hope.
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Sugavanesh Balasubramanian
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
It started as a philosophical rant where he was giving more analogies and examples and explaining what we are to lose. It felt like a mere commentary about the history of events and the behavior of man/society. Then he laid out in clear words his perspective of things in Japan, America, Europe and India. Never have I read such clear distinction of Europe and India and the problems each of them face.

The book had many punchlines and observations which are more relevant (timeless) today given the
Mar 13, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Sidharth Vardhan
It is a mistake to see Tagore as a mere poet, his political views are more than interesting. Even when Indian National movement was still gathering force, he understood the rising nationalism all over the world to be what it was – a disease:

“..this nationalism is a cruel epidemic of evil that is sweeping over the human world of the present age, and eating into its moral vitality.”

“This government by the Nation is neither British nor anything else; it is an applied science and therefore more or l
Joey Dhaumya
Apr 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Rambling liberal garbage.
This would have been 5/5, but Tagore's defence of Indian nationalism in the case of the caste-system didn't sit well with me. He criticises it from what is a privileged position (iirc he states that he is Brahman in the first essay), and seems to be saying that the caste-system is necessary for India in order for it to function. He also seems to believe that those of differing castes are actually different races, but I don't know enough about the ethnography of India to give a substantiated crit ...more
Muthuvel Deivendran
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
"Be not ashamed, my brothers, to stand before the proud and the powerful With your white robe of simpleness. Let your crown be of humility, your freedom the freedom of the soul. Build God's throne daily upon the ample bareness of your poverty And know that what is huge is not great and pride is not everlasting."

His revelations of Western ideologies on nationalism and prophesies of Emergent Japan are still relevant to this day.

"Not merely the subject races, but you who live under the delusion tha
Natalia Tweet
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Radhika A R
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favourites
A slim, power-packed compilation of Tagore's lectures on the subject of nationalism. With his piercing vision, he sees through the facade of nationalistic politics, makes the distinction between patriotism and nationalism, understanding as no one else of his time probably could, that mere political freedom would not make a person truly free. A nation in its form of a political-economic unit organized for a mechanical purpose, in his view, was no equal to a fulsome society, which he saw a spontan ...more
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
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it
The premise of the essays needs to be well appreciated - that nationalism is inherently aggressive, competitive and leads to needless war. The book is full of memorable rhetoric, not surprising Tagore's way with words and the message is worth every effort to drive home the importance of the matter at hand.

Where it fails is that in the many metaphors and personifications of nations and generalizations of entire people and selectively interpreted culture and history, there is little scope for rig
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is no doubt Tagore's style and message are sublime. The dangers of blind nationalism can be utterly destructive and dehumanizing. That said, I was very disappointed with Tagore's 'solution'. He does a very good job at highlighting the evils of the west and the consequences associated with pursuing competitive national interests, but he does not offer any real solution. Learning to love one another just seems a bit lackluster. I'm still quite happy I read this. Perhaps Tagore's message is n ...more
Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ensayo
Tagore parte de la dicotomía Oriente/Occidente para analizar la Nación como mecanismo de control y organización. Usa la situación e historia europea para distinguir los errores cometidos y propone vías para evitarlos en las naciones "jóvenes". Aún cuando fue escrito en los 40s sigue siendo pertinente, la mecanización, el liberalismo económico, el problema racial, entre otros, a excepción del optimismo que presenta cuando habla de Estados Unidos, que lamentablemente fue equivocado. El lenguaje po ...more
Oct 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Athena Parker
Jul 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
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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
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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.” 7 likes
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