Indian Political Thoughts Rabindra Nath Tagore Political Science YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Rabindra Nath Tagore: Poet, Thinker, India as Nation, Historical Development | Political Science

Title: Indian Political Thoughts Rabindra Nath Tagore


  • Rabindranath Tagore was first and foremost a poet and a visionary. Yet he had strong views on the political states of affairs of India of his time - the social and moral predicaments brought about by the British rule.
  • He was also critical of the world political situation between the two world wars, and the rise of nationalism in India and the world outside.

Tagore: A Poet and Thinker

  • One may ask the question: Why should one get interested in the political views of a poet who was not a politician in the technical and professional sense, and who did not found a political school or launched a political party?
  • Tagore had definite political speculations which are rich, multicolored, systematized and unconventional, and they call for serious attention in the perspective of world thought

Interpretation of Historical Development

  • Tagore՚s political ideas do not tread the familiar and conventional path of tracing dynastic history or the exploits of conquerors and invaders. They fall within the domain of what we call the history of ideas - a history of the unfolding of man՚s freedom.
  • ln one of his famous essays on “The Vision of India՚s History” Tagore notes the inner tendencies of history; he would not accept the Orientalists՚ view that the history of India is made out of wars, conquests, battles and dynastic intrigues and quarrels of rulers. Tagore draws our attention to the very basic fact that spirit of man, the creative impulse, is ever seeking unity and harmony among conflicting and contradictory forces.

Evolution of India as a Nation

  • In his study of India՚s history Tagore accepts dialectics of development. The essence of dialectical movement is comprised by the existence of two mutually contradictory aspects, their conflict and their flowing together into a new category. This is how Marx has spelt out the concept of the ‘dialectic’ .
  • According to Tagore, it will be futile to look for a Marxist critique of imperialism or capitalism in Tagore՚s perception of history. He interpreted the history of India without giving predominance to the productive forces of society, but with reference to the peculiarity of the social forces and relations.


Tagore՚s concept of nationalism is different from the modem concept of it, which takes into account the phenomenon of race, language, ethnicity, religion or nationalist myths. His anti-nationalism is related to anti-politics. This anti-politics implies primacy of civil society Tagore conceives civil society as something distinct from and of stronger and more personal texture than political or economic structure.


1. What were the literary works of Tagore?


  • apajog: Published in 1929, His novel is a compelling take on marital rape.
  • Nastanirh: Published in 1901. This novel is about relationships and love, both requited and unrequited.
  • Ghare Baire: Published in 1916. It is a story about a married woman constricted in her household trying to find her own identity.
  • Gora: In the 1880s, it is an expansive, exhaustive and extremely relevant novel which deals with several themes like religion, gender, feminism and also tradition against modernity.
  • Chokher Bali: In 1903, a novel which consists of various facets of relationships.
  • His short stories are Bhikarini, Kabuliwala, Kshudita Pashan, Atottju, Haimanti and Musalmanir Golpo etc.
  • Poems are Balaka, Purobi, Sonar Tori and Gitanjali.
  • In 1913 he won the Nobel Prize for Gitanjali, he was the first non-European and lyricist to do so.

2. According to Tagore, “Social identity of a nation is the basis of Political identity of a nation?” Discuss?

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