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Author: Kalyan Kundu
Sakti Bhattacharya/Kalyan Sircar
Editor(s): Kalayn Kundu/Sakti Bhattacharya/Kalyan Sircar
Publisher: Sahitya Samsad
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8186806784
This volume is a comprehensive collection of news, reports, views, comments, letters and editorials with reproduction of photos, sketches and cartoons relating to Tagore in the British Press from 1912 to 1941.
The British press, dailies and weeklies, wrote extensively on the Indian poet-activist Rabindranath Tagore from 1912 – When on 12 July The Times, the best known newspaper, reported that – ‘On Wednesday last at the Trocadero Restaurant there was a large gathering in honor of Rabindra Nath Tagore’ – to 1941, the year he died. This volume is comprehensive collection of these writings. The newspapers also published a number of poems and prose pieces, and these are also included here. The entire text is thoroughly annotated, referenced and indexed for reader’s easy access.
The importance of this archival material to students of Rabindranath and his time need no elaboration. There is a need for a fresh reappraisal of Rabindranath Tagore’s reception by the contemporary intelligentsia of Great Britain. How was he introduced to the reading public of his time? How was he assessed s a creative writer and social and educational reformer? What place was he assigned as a poet-writer in the scale of European aesthetic sensibility? And did the media’s perception of him develop and change over time? The rich details of newspaper cuttings collected here tell a story which is both fascinating and important to Tagore researchers and the general reading public.
The introduction provides a framework for engaging with this text. The media representation of the poet-humanist reflects the Western knowledge about the Orient, a knowledge aimed at servicing the purpose of colonial relationship between India and Britain. In the early excess of interest and enthusiasm the press and the intelligentsia sought to imagine a man who was the ideal product of Christianity and English education in India. They wanted to secure and manage a sanitized Rabindranath purged of eastern irrationality and superstitious religiosity who would a timely reminder to the West of the latter’s ingrained spirituality presently lost in materialist moderation. When the constructed Rabindranath turned a transgressor, and refused to follow the path laid down for him, the media disenchantment was quick, and its criticism of him was harsh and sometimes cruel.
This work charts this story how the British press encountered Rabindranath and constructed him ideologically and imaginatively. The encounter reveals how cultural, economic and political factors shaped the media power relation which prevailed, and the discursive regime within which Tagore was constituted and represented.
The British Press: A Profile