, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 553–562 | Cite as

Tagore in Debate with Gandhi: Freedom as Creativity

  • Richard Sorabji

Tagore in debate with Gandhi: freedom as creativity

Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) and Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1947) rose to the occasion in supporting each other at crucial moments during the Indian struggle for independence. They were both experimenters with distinctive views, but their views were very different, which is why I believe there was collaboration without meeting of minds. Their letters to each other and published controversies from 1915 to 1941 have been recorded by Sabyasachi Bhattacharya.1 I notice four major themes behind Tagore’s side of the debate.


It is harder in one way, I think, to write about Tagore’s side of the debate than about Gandhi’s, because of Gandhi’s deliberate attempt to build up a coherent life view. He could come later in life to new ideas and still adapt them sufficiently to weave them into a consistent whole with his earlier ideas. It is harder to find consistent themes running through Tagore’s side of the debate, because he is often...


Rabindranath Tagore Mahatma Gandhi Freedom Unfreedom Creativity Debate Diversity of individuals Truth Untruth Religion Joy Poetic rhythm Artist Violence Non-violence Non-cooperation Maya Self-rule Renouncing attachments Constructive work 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Sorabji
    • 1
  1. 1.Wolfson CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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