Nationalism in Rabindranath Tagore Plays


  • G. Sankar Assistant Professor, Department of English, Vel Tech Dr.RR & Dr.SR Technical University, Chennai, Tamilnadu, India



History reveals that institutions or artifacts produced by human beings can lead to the exploitation or the loss of freedom of other human beings. Thus the celebration of the good life of an Athenian citizen in Plato‟s time can hide the wretchedness of vast numbers of slaves whose labor made it possible for the few free citizens to enjoy that good life. Our criteria then must apply to all, or at least the vast majority of the vast of the human group concerned, if they are to lay claim to universality.

Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Perilous Passage1

The story of Indo-Anglican literature is the story of yesterday, of a little more than a century, and today. One of the natural results of the British rule in India is the rise and development of literature. The term “Indo-Anglican” was first used in 1883 when a book published in Calcutta that bore the title Indo-Anglian Literature


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Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Perilous Passage: Mankind and the Global Ascendancy of Capital. Delhi: Oxford University Press (2006). p. 4.

Manik Bandyopadhyay, “The Reptiles” (Sarisrip), in Shreshtha Galpa, Kolkata: Bengal Publishers Ltd. (2002).

Mahasweta Debi, “Salt” (Nun), in Nairite Megh (Clouds in the Southwest). Kolkata: Karuna Prakashani (1979).

See for example, for general critique, Samir Amin, Unequal Developments: An Essay on Social Formations of Peripheral Capitalism. New York: Monthly Review Press (1976);

Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Political Economy of Underdevelopment. Cambridge UK:

Cambridge University Press (1982). See also,

Caren Grown and Gita Sen, Development, Crisis and Alternative Vision: Third World Perspectives. New York: Monthly Review Press ( 1987). For feminist critiques, see

Swasti Mitter, Common Fate, Common Bond. London: Pluto Press (1986);

Maria Mies, Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale.; Women in the International Division of Labour. London: Zed Books (1986).

See David McNally, Another World is Possible. Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring (2002);

Malini Bhattacharya (ed), Globalization. New Delhi: Tulika (2004), in association with School of Women?s Studies, Jadavpur University. On agricultural crisis and food (in) security, see

Utsa Patnaik, “The New Colonialism: Impact of Economic Reforms on Employment and Food Security in India”, in Ibid.; “Global Capitalism, Deflation andAgrarian Crisis in Developing Countries”, Journal of Agrarian Change 3, 1-2 (January & April 2003).

Walter Benjamin, “Theses on Philosophy of History”, in Illuminations, edited by Hannah Arendt. New York: Schocken Books (1968). On location and situation of knowledge production, see Ato Sekyi-Otu, Fanon?s Dialectic of Experience. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press (1996), p.11. On standpoint of knowledge and issues of ideology, see also

Dorothy E. Smith, “Women?s Experience as a Radical Critique of Sociology”, in Conceptual Practices of Power: A Feminist Sociology of Knowledge. Toronto: University of Toronto Press (1995).

See Jorge Larrain, Theories of Development: Capitalism, Colonialism and Dependency. Cambridge, Mass: Blackwell (1989), and also, for the concepts „the modern? and „modernity? see Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. London: Fontana Paperbacks (1983).

Emma Rothschild, Economic Sentiments: Adam Smith, Concordet and the Enlightenment.

Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press (2002)

Sandra G. Harding (ed), The “Racial” Economy of Science: Towards a Democratic Future.

Bloomington: Indiana University Press (1993); Science and Social Inequality: Feminist and Postcolonial Issues. Urbana: University of Illinois Press (2006); Sander Gilman, Difference and Pathology: Stereotypes of Sexuality, Race and Madness. Ithaca: Cornell University Press (1985); see also, Freud, Race and Gender. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press (1993); Stephen J. Gould, The Mismeasure of Man. New York: Norton (1993).

Michel Foucault, Abnormal. Edited by V. Marchetti and A. Salomoni. New York: Picador. For the concept of „so-called primitive accumulation? see Karl Marx, Capital, Vol 1, chpt. 1. Trans. by S. Moore and E. Aveling. Moscow: Foreign Language Publishing House (1955).

For critical geography and urban studies, see David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernism: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change. Oxford: Blackwell (1989), and Mike Davis, Planet of Slums. London: Verso (2006). See also Bagchi, Perilous Passage and John S. Saul,

Development After Globalization: Theory and Practice for the Embattled South in a New Imperial Age. Gurgaon: Three Essays Collective (2006).

Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press (2000).

Ellen Meiksins Wood, Empire of Capital. London: Verso (2003).

Ward Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, 1492 to the Present. Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring (1998).

Adam Hochschild, King Leopold?s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa. Boston: Houghton Mifflin (1998).

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto. New York: Penguin (2006). See also Marshal Berman, All That is Solid: The Experience of Modernity. New York: Penguin (1988).

For reports on farmers? suicides in India, see reports by Navdanya, http:// and P. Sainath, 2007/nov/psa-mids1.htm.

Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, in op.cit. For conversion of water into a profitable commodity and dire consequences of this globally, see Maud Barlow, Blue Gold:

The Battle against Corporate Theft of the World?s Water. Toronto: Stoddart (2002). For a useful study of migrant and undocumented workers, see Nandita Sharma, Home Economics: Nationalism and the Making of „Migrant Workers? in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press (2006).

For a feminist critique of development and land related issues, an important contribution is that of Bina Agarwal, A Field of One?s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (1994).

„Femocracy? is a term originated in Australia, source unknown, to describe mainstream liberal feminists, who have become administrators or bureaucrats of the state and other ruling institutions.

See for example Joseph Stiglitz, Globalization and its Discontents. New York: Norton (2003)

Susan George, How the Other Half Dies. Harmondsworth: Penguin (1977); A Fate Worse than Debt. New York: Grove Press (1988).

Utsa Patnaik, The Long Transition: Essays on Political Economy. New Delhi: Tulika (1999); Madhura Swaminathan and V.K. Ramachandran (eds), Agrarian Studies: Essays on Agrarian Relations in Less-Developed Countries. London: Zed Books (2003).

C.B. MacPherson, The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke. London: Oxford University Press (1962); Democratic Theories: Essays in Retrieval. Oxford: Clarendon Press (1973).

MacPherson, The Life and Times of Liberal Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press (1977).

Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Press (1991), pp. 36-37.

Rabindranath Tagore, The Religion of Man. Boston: Beacon Press (1966), pp. 93-94.

Sumit Sarkar, Swadeshi Movement in Bengal 1903-1908. New Delhi: Popular Prakashan (1973).

Tagore, quoted in Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson, Rabindranath Tagore: The Myriad-minded Man. New Delhi: Rupa (2000), p. 221.

Ibid., p. 222

Bagchi, Perilous Passage, p. 48.

Kathleen M. O?Connell, Rabindranath Tagore: The Poet as Educator. Kolkata: Visva-Bharati (2002), p. 106. Though O?Connell does not speak in terms of a „decolonizing? pedagogy, the book gives us an account of Rabindranath?s pedagogical trajectory in a detailed and straightforward manner which speaks in terms of transcendence and humanism. Tagore, Religion of Man, p. 18.

David McNally, Bodies of Meaning: Studies on Language, Labor and Liberation. Albany: State University of New York Press (2001), p. 23.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, trans. R.J. Hollindale. Harmondsworth: Penguin (1961). Sekyi-Otu, op.cit., p. 21.

Ibid., p. 118.




How to Cite

Sankar, G. (2015). Nationalism in Rabindranath Tagore Plays. International Journal Online of Humanities, 1(3), 8–45.