Gitanjali & Beyond <p class="font_8"><span><em>Gitanjali and Beyond</em> is a peer-reviewed open-access international journal, promoting creative writing, artistic expression and research on Rabindranath Tagore’s work and life, his circle and his impact.</span></p> en-US <p>This work is licensed under a <a href="" rel="license">Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License</a> (CC BY 4.0).</p><p>Authors retain the copyright for articles published in this journal, with first publication rights granted to the journal. As this is an open access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution and link to the licensing, in educational, commercial, and non-commercial settings.</p> (Christine Kupfer) (Christine Kupfer) Thu, 29 Nov 2018 07:29:43 +0000 OJS 60 Front Matter ##submission.copyrightStatement## Wed, 28 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Contents ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 End Matter ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Foreword ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Academic Articles <p>Academic articles</p> ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Rabindranath Tagore: The Deep-Rooted Environmentalist and The Origins of Sustainability <p>The opening years of the twentieth century witnessed rising public disquiet about evident environmental degradation and the ever more obvious loss of important habitats. In the United States, following the personal intervention of President Theodore Roosevelt, Congress passed an act in 1906 to establish a protected inventory of national parks and forests. A year later the UK Parliament passed an act to establish the National Trust. Following the well trailed campaigns of self-anointed environmentalists such as John Muir and Octavia Hill, the protection of vulnerable landscapes appeared for the first time on the public policy agenda.</p> <p>Against this background of rising awareness of the unfettered consequences of economic growth, a similar concern can be detected for the plight of rural communities in the Indian state of Bengal, largely as a result of the personal involvement – in both word and deed – of Rabindranath Tagore. It can be argued further that Tagore’s innate empiricism as a result of this growing awareness, anticipated the discourse that would lead eventually to the World Conservation Strategy published by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature in 1980. It was followed by the Brundtland Report (1987) Our Common Future.</p> ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 The Interface between Education and the ‘Rural Uplift Work’: Re-reading Tagore’s Letters, Lectures and Addresses <p>The present paper, by taking cues from Tagore’s letters, lectures and addresses, attempts to explore that he was unconventional in his ideas of education. Nature was the best teacher for Tagore, and he adopted the model of the ‘Ashram’ of the Ancient India for the realisation of his educational ideals. An academic institution, according to Tagore, should not merely impart information to the learners. It should offer elements of culture and opportunities for studying the socio-economic condition of villages around an educational centre. Leonard Elmhirst, the famous agronomist, helped Tagore in establishing ‘Siksha Satra’ at Sriniketan where the former started rural reconstruction. Tagore shared his views of education including the ‘Visva-Bharati ideals’ with Elmhirst. Another leading intellectual who gave original ideas of university education to Tagore was Patrick Geddes. Like Tagore, Geddes also advocated for the service to the community life. Arthur Geddes, the son of Patrick Geddes, to a great extent, fulfilled the poet’s dream of uniting teachers, students and humble village workers in an organic bond of necessity. Tagore’s championing of ‘the rural uplift work’ as a part of education continues to appeal to the Twentieth Century mind.</p> ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Jagadis Chandra Bose and the Politics of Science <p>On 6 June 1901, Jagadis Chandra Bose read a paper at the Royal Society in London, entitled ‘On Electric Response of Inorganic Substances’. Bose showed that external stimuli, such as poison or electricity, have a similar effect on living tissue, such as plants or muscle, and inorganic matter, such as iron oxide or tin. Bose recorded response curves for muscle, plant, and metal and was thus able to show parallels between the living and the non-living. This was not only revolutionary, but also unacceptable to parts of his audience. At this talk, Bose encountered two difficulties: firstly, in upsetting traditional disciplinary boundaries between physics and physiology, he, the physicist, undermined the authority of the physiologists who were present. Consequently, they attacked Bose’s findings on the grounds of the second difficulty, namely the common prejudice against Indians according to which the Indian mind, in its pursuit of metaphysic ideals, was unsuited to scientific thoughts and practices. The physiologists thus confounded Bose’s theory of unity between the living and the non-living with a theological bias according to which they believed that Bose could only have arrived at his results because of his predisposition for mysticism rather than by carefully executed experiments. They failed to see that both could be true: for Bose, the intuition to search for a unifying principle between the living and the non-living and the scientific rigour with which he strove to prove it were not mutually exclusive, but, in fact, mutually dependant.</p> ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Significance of the environment in the songs of Rabindranath Tagore <p>Born in a family of fourteen siblings Rabindranath Tagore spent a lot of time alone though not lonely. From his childhood he had been a lover of nature. The large expanse of meadows in Santiniketan, the wide stretches of the river Padma at Shelidah skirted by the murmuring rows of coconut palms made him feel that he was part of a universal oneness. Tagore’s philosophy behind his school in Santiniketan was to enable his students to relate to the environment. With an unorthodox approach to education he encouraged them to walk bare footed to feel the dust under their feet and experience the touch and feel of trees which they could climb. Rabindranath’s model was the forest dwellings of ancient times – the tapoban – which Kalidasa had immortalised in his epic works. Most of Tagore’s Gitanjali songs were composed in Santiniketan and spoke of a deep spiritual presence in nature’s harmony amidst the diverse moods of the seasons. To celebrate the environment Tagore organised several festivals in Santiniketan and composed songs especially for them such as Basant Utsav (for spring), Barsha Mangal (for the monsoons), Sharad Utsav (for autumn) and Ritu Ranga (for all the seasons). He also introduced the colourful festival of tree planting (Briksha ropan) from a Bali dance tradition. Harvest was celebrated with Halakarshan when agricultural fields were symbolically ploughed. In the school song ‘Santiniketan’, students sang of their communion with nature, nurtured by groves and protected by an embracing sky.</p> ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Liberating the River: Land and Politics in Tagore’s Plays <p>In matters of development and progress, it has always been a question of the acquisition of land. As history shows, control over land—extendable to different metaphors—and its resources has been instrumental in the development and destruction of human civilisation. Tagore’s Muktadhara dwells on the principle of identifying how the manipulation of a river-course could change the destiny of two neighbouring states and establish the rule of one man over others. So, in the character of Abhijeet, a typical Tagore-protagonist, one who breaks the dam to put an end to the authoritarian regime, a prototype of modern day environmental activists could be seen. The text goes beyond a mere pantheistic and humanist quest for the freedom of man as Tagore politicises the concept of land into a geopolitical space, and relates it to the imperialist policies and hegemonic propaganda that he experienced personally in his travels across Europe, Japan and America during this time.</p> <p>From Muktadhara (1922) to Raktakarabi (1924), Tagore seems to continue with this politics of land. If the former text represents the appropriation of nature for political benefit, the latter shows how industrialisation destroys the agricultural base, forces migration, and how these steps would be the only logical progress of the economy that advocates rampant capital accumulation. Interestingly, a play set in a mine uses a theme song about ‘pous’—a month of cultivation and opulence. The essays written by Tagore during this period, like his Introduction to Elmhirst’s ‘The Robbery of the Soil’, also reveal his vision of a sustained and inclusive human development.</p> ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 A Home in the World: People and Places in Rabindranath Tagore’s Chaturanga <p>There is a tendency in literature to poeticise rural settings over their urban counterparts based on the proposition that villages bring human beings closer to nature, whereas cities come between them. Problems born and accentuated in urban environments are often, in fiction and poetry, resolved in a more rural atmosphere. In his 1916 novella Chaturanga, Rabindranath Tagore seems to challenge this popular inclination. The story begins in Calcutta, moves to rural Bengal and then returns to the city. After his uncle, who was also his father-figure, philosopher and guide, dies, Sachish disappears from Calcutta. When his friend and the narrator of the text, Sribilash, finds him two years later in a village, Sachish has joined a so-called mystic named Leelananda Swami. He has also changed unrecognisably. Sribilash is shocked at his transformation and is distrustful of Leelananda Swami, but he cannot abandon his friend, so he too, joins the guru. He too seems to leave behind his old self and becomes engrossed and entranced in a new, unreal world. It is only when he returns to the city that Sribilash seems to come out of his trance and shake off the false skin; he misses or becomes his former hard-working and useful self again. Sachish’s path, however, is irrevocably changed.</p> <p>In this paper, I wish to examine why and how Tagore, who wrote so many thousands of lines in so many different forms eulogising nature, depicted an apparent divide between nature and human beings in this text: when the men are in the city, they are grounded in reality and engaged in meaningful activity; when they are in the lap of nature, so to speak, they seem to become disoriented escapists. I will also address the importance of the fact that these characters retire froity when they are bereaved and spend their mourning period in the villages, and that their return to Calcutta is closely linked to the appearance of a new love <br>interest in their lives. The paper will explore how, in this particular text, people and places seem to affect each other and what they signify.</p> ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Ecotourism In and Around Santiniketan: Challenges and Potentialities <p>Santiniketan, Tagore’s ‘Abode of Peace’ is located in the western part of the state of West Bengal in India. The place is the site of Visva Bharati, a world renowned residential university as well as a Brahmacharya Asram (hermitage where a vow has been taken by the residents) established by Rabindranath Tagore himself. Santiniketan, in the Birbhum District of West Bengal and its environs provide ample scope for the development of ecotourism. It is a place where ecotourism and rural tourism go hand in hand. The place has an idyllic setting. Around Santiniketan, there exist a number of tribal villages inhabited by the Santhal tribe. Ecotourism combines nature tourism, wilderness tourism and agri-tourism. This form of niche tourism is essentially rural in character. It is a type of Special Interest Tourism that has emerged recently and has evoked concern among social scientists. Of late, ecotourism has become popular in the tribal villages around Santiniketan. A unique natural landscape here is formed by the khoai, a vast, desolate area with lateritic soil and gulley erosion. Resorts have been built in the khoai by private entrepreneurs where tourists flock round the year. Ballavpurdanga, along with some other typical Santhal villages – Boner Pukur Danga, Mouldanga and Phuldanga, bordering the Sonajhuri forest in the khoai, have been brought within the Rural Tourism Scheme under the Endogenous Tourism Project (ETP) introduced by the Government of India in the early years of the 21st century. Tagore was a wayfarer. Although in his times, the concept of ecotourism had not emerged, the Poet was one with nature and one can say that he would have definitely advocated the practice. This paper studies the scope and sustainability of ecotourism in Santiniketan and seeks to find out the benefits it can provide to the host community and to visitors. The paper also attempts to investigate how ecotourism, as a practice, can serve actively in a rural reconstruction programme as envisaged by Tagore.</p> ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 A Spoken Silence: Rabindranath and the Ecology of Modern Consciousness <p>Rabindranath’s enormous corpus of varied work has been widely un-derstood as that of a poet, a writer, a playwright, a musician and a man of letters. He has only rarely been interpreted as a philosopher, and almost never as an ecological philosopher. Preliminary research shows that he is perhaps India’s first modern ecological philosopher - at growing odds with modernity. <br>The essay argues that Tagore’s perspectives and insights are unique and his intellectual contribution in this area is indispensable to an understanding of the ecological and spiritual implications of technological, industrial modernity. There are few thinkers during the last hundred years anywhere more relevant when it comes to teaching us the significance of how we relate to the natural world (including, needless to add, our very own bodies) and what it tells us about ourselves and the way we have come to live.<br>The focus in this paper is on what we can learn about Tagore’s outlook on the natural world and our relationship to it from a set of letters he wrote to his niece during his years as a young man, looking after his family estate in East Bengal (now, Bangladesh). </p> ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Book Reviews <p>Book reviews</p> ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 To Whom I Return Each Day ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Poetry and Art <p>Poetry and art</p> ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Chrys Salt ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Lesley May Miller ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Sue Whitmore ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Liz Niven ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Tapati Gupta ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Ross Donlon ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Usha Akella ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Jaydeep Sarangi ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Zoe Bicat ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Beth Junor ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Mario Relich ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Sam Smith ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Celia Purcell ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Mandy Haggith ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Essays <p>Essays</p> ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 The Ocean-Cradle of Birth and of Death – An Appreciation of Tagore’s Sea Poetry ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 24 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000