Tagore’s internationalism

Feb 052011

Tagore is regarded as one of the pioneers in creating a relationship with China. In cooperation with great personalities such as Tan Yun- Shan, he established the Institute for Sino-Indian Studies (Cheena Bhavana) in Visva Bharati, Santiniketan.  Click here to read a fascinating book published to celebrate the centenary of Tan Yun-Shan.   Amongst many interesting letters and correspondence between Yun-Shan, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Tagore, you will also find Tagore’s address at the opening ceremony of Visva-Bharati Cheena-Bhavana on April 14, 1937. This is how it begins:

The most memorable fact of human history is that of a path-opening, not for the clearing of a passage for machines or machine guns, but for helping the realisation by races of their affinity of minds, their mutual obligation of a common humanity

Romain Rolland with Rabindranath Tagore en Villeneuve, Suiza, 1926-FDr

Romain Rolland with Rabindranath en Villeneuve, Suiza, 1926. (c): Filosofiadigital on Flickr

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. Continue reading »

The conversation took place on July 14, 1930 and was first published in The Religion of Man (George, Allen & Unwin, Ltd., London), Appendix II, pp. 222-225.

Click here for more of the conversation

Our Tagore events

  • Oct 6, 2012 AUTUMN EXTRAVAGANZA, Michael Power St. Joseph High School, Toronto. A variety show with Tagore’s works, and a multicultural Dance Ensemble with folk dances of Ukraine, Chile, and India.

  • Sep 25, 2012 'Walking Alone: Justice and Inequality in Tagore's thought', talk by Ananya Mukherjee-Reed at Princeton University, USA.

  • May 4, 2012 Soul of Spring,McMichael Art Gallery, Kleinburg, Ontario. A medley of music, dance and poetry based on Tagore's play. It was performed during an exhibition of Tagore's paintings 'The Last Harvest' at the gallery.

  • Jan 19, 2012 'Race and Diversity in Tagore', talk by Ananya Mukherjee-Reed at the University of Toronto

  • Sept 30, 2011 Tagore reading at the Festival of South Asian Literature and the Arts

  • October 2, 2011 A panel on Tagore featuring Uma Dasgupta and Martha Nussbaum on Writers & Company, CBC Radio One Broadcast time 3:05 pm Eastern. Click here for more details and podcast
  • Dec 3-4, 2011: A film festival featuring the North American premier of two films based on Tagore's work.
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