1910 and the Evolution of Rabindranath Tagore’s Vernacular Nationalism

  • Krishna Sen


Tagore has been accused of capitulating to Western liberal-humanist ideologies, and/or to excessively romanticized Germanic concepts of the ‘volk’: from the political perspective, other critics have faulted his understanding of nationalism by arguing that Tagore misconceived the cultural dimensions of the nation-state. These reproaches are very different from Edward Said’s acknowledgement of what might be termed ‘nationalisms’ when he distinguishes between ‘coercive’ nationalism and nationalist opposition to imperialism. Tagore can certainly be called an anti-statist but not an anti-nationalist if one appreciates his dialectical perception of ‘nation’ as the intersection of ‘swadesh’ and ‘samaj’. This chapter describes this alternative nationalism as Tagore’s ‘vernacular’ nationalism.


Coercive nationalism Cosmopolitanism desh’ Vernacular nationalism Raja (King) 


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Copyright information

© Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. of English, Women’s Studies Research CentreUniversity of CalcuttaKolkataIndia

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