Visva-Bharati: The Transnational Centre of Education

  • Kumkum BhattacharyaEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Education book series (BRIEFSEDUCAT)


Tagore started a school in 1901 and in 1918 he wrote, ‘…the Santiniketan School should form a link between India and the world…the epoch of narrow nationalism is coming to an end…. The first flag of victory of Universal Man shall be planted there’. This was the beginning of Visva-Bharati that finally encapsulated the school and university with its many programmes and courses under one unique integrated system. The university was a logical progression in his philosophy of education. The central idea of the university was for the east to offer to the west the best of its wealth and take from the west its knowledge. This was indeed a novel idea as the country was yet to have its own full-fledged universities. Tagore envisioned the university as the seat for research that would generate and also dispense knowledge. Tagore established the university in Santiniketan where he had founded his school. He wanted the university to offer education that was enmeshed with the Indian way of life so that knowledge grew out of the culture, society, history, literature, geography, economy, science and flora and fauna of the country. From this sense of nationalism, we see Tagore evolving into an internationalist based on equal terms of fellowship and amity between the east and the west. He shared his quest for such a centre of learning with the ideas of several noted international pedagogues. Tagore saw world problems and national interests as interrelated, and he felt that internationalism was the inner spirit of the modern age.


Exchange of knowledge between east and west The beginnings of internationalism Art, music and education Transnational links and educational movements 


  1. Alam, F. (2012). Luminous with vision: Rabindranath Tagore, Thoreau and life-centred education amidst nature. In Rabindranath Tagore and national identity formation in Bangladesh: Essays and reviews. Dhaka: Bangla Academy.Google Scholar
  2. Bhattacharya, S. (2011). Rabindranath Tagore: An interpretation (p. 112). India: Viking Penguin.Google Scholar
  3. Chakravarty, B. (2010). Byahata Sakhya: Rabindranath O Jadunath Sarkar. Kolkata: Visva-Bharati.Google Scholar
  4. Cox, P. (1984 May–1985 April). The Dartington connection. In The Visva-Bharati Quarterly (Henceforth VBQ), 50(1–4), 125–128.Google Scholar
  5. Datta, S. (2008 October–2009 September). Rabindranath Tagore and the centre of Indian culture. In VBQ, 17 & 18(3, 4, 1 & 2), 9–10.Google Scholar
  6. Mukherjee, H. B. (2013). Education for fullness: A study on the educational thought and experiment of Rabindranath Tagore (pp. 194–195). India: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Mukhopadhyay, P. K. (2010). Rabindra Jivani (Vol. 3). Kolkata: Visva-Bharati.Google Scholar
  8. Mukhopadhyay, P. K. (1962). Santiniketan-Visvabharati (Vol. 1, pp. 255–256). Kolkata: Bookland Pvt. Ltd.Google Scholar
  9. O’Connell, K. M. (2011). Rabindranath Tagore: Poet as educator (2nd ed., p. 264). Kolkata: Visva-Bharati.Google Scholar
  10. Rodriguez, J. P. (2002, April–June) Tagore and his relationship with the New School Movement: Santiniketan, Odenwaldschule and Institution Libre de Ensenanza. In VBQ 11(1), 3.Google Scholar
  11. Tagore, R. (1921, December 23). Address to Asramik Sangha. In Praktani, Kolkata: Visva-Bharati.Google Scholar
  12. Tagore, R. (2004). An Eastern University. In The English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore (Vol. 2, p. 557, henceforth EWRT2). New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi.Google Scholar
  13. Tagore, R. (1921). Letter to C.F. Andrews 1921, Rabindra Bhavana Archives, Serial No. 12 of C.F. Andrews papers.Google Scholar
  14. Tagore, R. (1929). Letters with the Geheebs, 1929, Visva-Bharati (hence forth RB), Serial No. 131 of English Letters and Correspondences.Google Scholar
  15. Tagore, R. (1916, October 11). Letter to Rathindranath Tagore, Chithipatra (Vol. 2, pp. 55–56). Kolkata: Visva-Bharati.Google Scholar
  16. Tagore, R. (1988). Ma ma hingshi (No to violence). In Santiniketan, Rabindra Rachanavali (Vol. 8, pp. 675–677, henceforth RR). Kolkata: Visva-Bharati.Google Scholar
  17. Tagore, R. (1931, June). My educational mission. In The Modern Review.Google Scholar
  18. Tagore, R. (2004). Religion of the forest. In EWRT2, 512.Google Scholar
  19. Tagore, R. (1988). Siksha Sanskar Siksha. In RR, 6, 573–576.Google Scholar
  20. Tagore, R. (2004). The centre of Indian culture. In EWRT2, 467–491.Google Scholar
  21. Tagore, R. (1923). The Visva-Bharati ideal. In RNT & C. F. Andrews, Visva-Bharati. Madras: Natesan & Co.Google Scholar
  22. Tagore, R. (1961). The problem of education. Towards Universal Man (pp. 66–72), Bombay, Asia.Google Scholar
  23. Tagore, R. (1991). Visva-Bharati. In RR (Vol. 14, pp. 243–291).Google Scholar
  24. Tagore, R. (2003). Yatrar Purvakatha. In RR (Vol. 14, pp. 268–270).Google Scholar
  25. Yeats Brown, Lt. Col. (1936, February). In Visva-Bharati News.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Visva-Bharati UniversitySriniketanIndia

Personalised recommendations