Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Necessity of a Tagorean Philosophy by Dr. Md. Abu Zafor

The Necessity of a Tagorean Philosophy by Dr. Md. Abu Zafor
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Fakrul's Alam's Rabindranath Tagore and National Identity Formation in Bangladesh: Essays and Reviews is an excellent critical work on Tagore written in excellent English. Although the book is primarily meant for the non-Bengali reading public who want to know of Tagore's relevance to the world in general and Bangladesh in particular, it has special significance for Bangladeshi readers as well. The book demonstrates some aspects of Tagore's writings, especially his essays, lectures, speeches, letters, dialogues, etc, that were less or little explored before. The opening chapter is most important to understand the causes of an anti-Tagore sentiment among some sections of people in post colonial Bangladesh territory. Fakrul Alam shows how the Pakistani government tried to eliminate Tagore in a bid to destroy the Bengali speaking people's cultural heritage and make them impoverished as a language-based community. In the context of the Language Movement,  Alam states: 'Rabindranath is the architect of modern Bengali, he would inevitably become a key rallying point for the activists of the movement . Bids to eliminate him from East Pakistan's cultural history would only fuel the resistance to the Pakistani state.  In trying to minimize his presence in East Pakistan, the government of the country only succeeded in making East Bengalis realize that he was central to the formation of their distinctive identity.” Alam's essay, however, clarifies why an anti-Tagore sentiment among a section of people, who are mainly Islamists  or fundamentalists, continues to prevail more or less in independent Bangladesh though in reality Tagore 'was never a communal thinker and that he never sought wittingly to subvert or humiliate the Muslims.

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