While looking for Tagore’s works in the public domain, I came across this wonderful book Rolland and Tagore published in India in 1945. It contains essays, letters, conversations between Romain Rolland, the great French intllectual and Nobel Laureate and Tagore. The exchanges occur between 1919 and 1940, a time of crisis for the `West`. As the editors write in their introduction:
Perhaps the most significant fact about their friendship is that they met when night had fallen over the continent of Europe. Neither of the two was young any longer. But while Rabindranath still cherished hopes in regard to a reawakening of the West, Rolland was the more disillusioned of the two. … Their last letters were written during the final cataclysm. Night had fallen over the mountains. They could no longer hear their voices in the storm. Two solitary giants they clasped each other`s hands waiting for the dawn for which they had sung all their life.
Indeed, as Romain Rolland wrote to Tagore in 1923:
The union of Europe and Asia must be, in the centuries to come, the most noble task of mankind. As for myself, India, from now on is not a foreign land. She is the greatest of all countries, the ancient country from which once I came I find her again deep inside me.