Tagore’s Nation: Swadeshi Samaj and the Political Novel

  • Makarand R. Paranjape


What is the source of Rabindranath Tagore’s discomfort  with nationalism? Are his creative and critical writings in consonance on this theme? If he is ambivalent towards the nationalist project, what is his idea of a good society? Highlighting the irregularity that emerges out of Tagore’s own hesitancy in dealing with nationalism, revolutionary ideologies and imperialism, this chapter wishes to tease out the meanings of Tagore’s ‘no-nationism’ or ‘alter-nationalism’ by revisiting some key texts, both primary and secondary, that have addressed this issue. In the process, we shall also revisit Georg Lukacs's hostile review of Ghare Baire, Irving Howe’s and Frederic Jameson’s ideas of the political novel, and Tagore’s debt to Dostoevsky, both unacknowledged and as yet unnoticed. It is only out of such an investigation into Tagore’s investment in the libidinal that we might get to the heart of his unease with the politics of anti-imperialism. Does this mean that Tagore was anti-national? Probably not, but he certainly seems to have been anti-revolutionary.


Intermediality Ambivalence Lukacs on Tagore Alter-nationalism Anti-revolutionary fiction 


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Copyright information

© Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for English Studies, School of Language, Literature, and Culture StudiesJawaharlal Nehru UniversityDelhiIndia

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