Tagore, Nationalism and Imperialism
Tagore’s 1900 poem ‘Shatabdir shesh surjya’ (‘The century’s last sun’) is an early example of a reflective critique of international conflict and imperialism, whose distinctive features are violence and greed. Its driving ideology is nationalism. While trying to define ‘nation’, Tagore notes that there is no Bengali or indeed Indian equivalent. For him, this becomes an occasion to define a civilizational distinction. Explaining how militant nationalism is essentially destructive, he envisages this global nightmare in Crisis in Civilization. At the same time, the harmonizing principle he finds in Indian history is also analysed critically in terms of a greater, more absolute humanity.
KeywordsNationalism Colonialism Imperialism Civilization studies Nationhood
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