India: Of noble mind and of Nobel stature


tagoreA hundred years ago, a slender book — the English Gitanjali of Tagore — caught the world unawares. Wearing a deceptively frail look, the book has ever since arched over temporal and spatial distances to enthral hearts and incite critical responses. It was for this English Gitanjali that Rabindranath Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in November 1913.That was a historic moment. The award at once catapulted Tagore — first Asian to receive it — to international centre stage. Concurrently, it aroused an otherwise complacent West into taking a formal and serious note of the importance and opulence of a culture, philosophy and literature that were ‘different’ from their own. The award undeniably attracted western acclaim; and, the prized work comprised the complexities of Tagore translating in British India his own Bengali compositions into the colonisers’ tongue.

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