Author's personal copy J. Metaphor is a significant trope in the writings of Tagore and to a certain extent of Gandhi on truth. The questions raised have the promise of stimulating more scholarship and diverse dis- course.
The book argues that its core idea stems from the difference between Tagore and Gandhi in their responses to tradition and modernity and this difference could possibly lead to a philosophical analysis. One of the assumptions of such a task is that the two entities have to be comparable with sufficient evidences of differences between them.
The book has some lacunae in these and other aspects as the major argument is founded on the apparent differences between Tagore and Gandhi while ignoring the themes on which both found common cause and the strong impetus to come together as one voice on various occasions as has been shown by a number of scholars across disciplines. He has achieved what none else could so far: he has moved the mind not simply of a handful of politicians but that of the wide commonality of Indians. It is not difficult to understand the appeal of Patanjali to a ritualistic Gandhi Erikson On the other hand, it is conjectured, Tagore would not have much to comment if asked to consider Yoga Sutra—the material and physical aspects of this school would not have appealed to him.
Thus, using this text as a foundation for considering a possible comparison and contrast exercise does not hold out. Gandhi was more for testing his notions on himself—his autobiography bears out this in ample measure. Tagore, on the other hand developed a very special point of view that allowed him abstraction of ideas and notions that were accepted, if not as full-fledged philosophical systems or schools, but certainly as the philosophy of universal humanism.
Truth has two sides — as the Upanishads say Reflective individuals participating in the concerns of the times they live in are engaged in philosophical questions—some do so unconsciously while a few do so with all their intellectual rigour and reason. Gandhi and Tagore belong to the latter category, though neither has taken his ideas to the levels of doctrine or credo.
There may not be such a direct connection between philosophical engagement and being considered a philosopher in the professional sense of the term. The former was a writer per se while the latter was one by default, i. What is truth? What is God? What is virtue? What better sounding board could have Gandhi found other than in the Tagore—Gandhi correspondence over a remarkable 26 years? There is another dimension to be considered, the ways in which the two public figures lived out their lives; Tagore did not think it necessary to lay bare himself in public though expressing clearly in no ambiguous terms what his opinions and ideas were while Gandhi in his praxis of truth felt that his everyday life should be like an open book.
He was a public figure and he believed that his life was open to meticulous recording and inspection both of which he dutifully performed and invited the public gaze. The Tagore—Gandhi correspondence can be seen from this dialogic perspective. The author delineates two primary reasons for this exercise: a to understand Gandhi as a philosopher and b how the debate between the two contributed to the creation of India.
The author has presumably chosen the position that Tagore was accepted as a philosopher while Gandhi grew into one over the years through his experiments with truth.
The author chooses to take a serious note of the fundamental philosophical differences between Tagore and Gandhi while not denying the areas of agreement between them. In this, she treads a somewhat singular path when seen against the many scholars who have justifiably elected, to focus on the enduring aspects of the interre- lationships between these two otherwise differing personalities.
She has tried to bring in the angles of the specific schools of thought that directly impacted Gandhi and the portions he appropriated for himself for his praxis; in the case of Tagore, the same analytical rigour 14 Tapan Raychaudhuri, ; K. The book being about arguably the two of the greatest personalities of the twentieth century will attract attention of cross-section of readers and, in this work, they will confront another angle of interpretation.
Tagore and Gandhi the Tagore Gandhi controversy. New Delhi: Pankaj Publications. Alter, J. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Bhattacharya, A. Prabandha panchasat: prasanga Rabindranath. Kolkata: Ananda. Bhattacharya, S. The mahatma and the poet: letters and debates between Gandhi and Tagore — New Delhi: National Book Trust. Bindu Puri. The Tagore-Gandhi debate on matters of truth and untruth. New Delhi: Springer India. Chakravarty, B. Swadeshi samaj: Rabindranath and the nation. Sen Eds. Kolkata: Punascha and Visva- Bharati.
Dasgupta, S. New Delhi: Orient Black Swan. Dev, A. Santiniketan: Rabindra Bhavana.
Elmhirst, L. The poet and plowman. Kolkata: Visva-Bharati.
Erikson, E. London: Faber and Faber. Gandhi, M. Speech at Talimi Sangh. Ahmedabad: Navajivan Press. Hardiman, D. Gandhi in his times and ours. New Delhi: Permanent Black. Kakar, S. Young Tagore: the making of a genius. New Delhi: Penguin. Lal, B. Contemporary Indian philosophy.
Larson, G. Something old, something new: Rabindranath Tagore th birth anniversary volume.
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