Tagore and his Works
In writing about Rabindranath Tagore, William Radice said, ‘He wrote so much, he did so much, he created so much. He was truly global.’ (2012). Tagore’s life and work traversed two centuries - the Victorian and the modern. He not only reflected his times, but reflected on them and as a true modern, he evolved. His output was phenomenal.
In any reassessment of Tagore’s work, his upbringing and his familial influence at a time when Bengal/India was witnessing a reawakening, remain relevant. In this lecture, Professor Bashabi Fraser will consider Tagore as writer, artist, composer, activist and pragmatist. She will also look at his work as an educationist and environmentalist, evident in the institutions he established at Santiniketan and Sriniketan. This is where he built a ‘nest’ where the world could meet - a metaphor for intellectual and cultural exchange and cooperation which embody Tagore’s philosophy and work.
The internationalism of Tagore’s thought and work found global recognition with the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, after which he took on the role of a cultural ambassador in a one-man mission to bring the East and West closer through mutual understanding and respect.
What is remarkable about what he achieved and what he left behind is its richness, its diversity and its staggering volume. It is difficult to do full justice to Tagore’s multifaceted accomplishments in one lecture, but what will be attempted is a tribute to a nation builder and an internationalist to whom India and the world owe a great debt.
About the speaker
Dr Bashabi Fraser CBE is Professor Emerita of English and Creative Writing and Director of the Scottish Centre of Tagore Studies (ScoTs) at Edinburgh Napier University; an Honorary Fellow of the Centre for South Asian Studies, at the University of Edinburgh; an Honorary Fellow of the Association of Literary Studies (ALS), Scotland; and an associate Royal Literary Fund Fellow. She is the Chief Editor of the academic and creative peer-reviewed international e-journal, Gitanjali and Beyond.
Bashabi is an award winning poet, children’s writer, editor and academic. Her awards include a CBE (2021 New Year Honours) for Education (her academic work), culture (poetry) and cultural integration (her bridge building projects linking Scotland and India). She was declared an Outstanding Woman of Scotland by the Saltire Society in 2015.
She has authored and edited 23 books, published several articles and been widely anthologized as a poet. Her recent publications include Patient Dignity (2021); Critical Lives - Rabindranath Tagore (2019), The Ramayana, A Stage Play and a Screen Play (2017), My Mum’s Sari, (2017) and The Homing Bird (2017).
A photographic portrait of Rabindranath Tagore, date unknown – from Wikimedia Commons
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