Naming and Memory: A Sweep of Some Tagore Observations

“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.” – Rabindranath Tagore

The young tagore

I came across this quote from Tagore today. I often wonder about the man- he was the first bengali to win a Nobel Prize, which he received for his poetry collection Gitanjali.

Even Tagore’s memory is so fractured, so eager are nationalists to claim his words as the anthem of not one but two countries (both India and Bangladesh), that the fact that we memorialize him through the long beards he donned in his late life. For example, I had never seen the image above, of his youth, before.

English: Rabindranath Tagore ,Tamilndu,India

Tagore in his old age.

Regardless, I find his thoughts on Mahatma Gandhi‘s naming to be fascinating, particularly because he actually privileges the renaming, and by doing thus assuming that the layers of “class” separation and distinction can, as such, be undone, and is, therefore, perhaps not entangled:

taken @ the Gandhi museum in Madurai, Tamil Na...


2 thoughts on “Naming and Memory: A Sweep of Some Tagore Observations

  1. Tagore didn’t turn down the Nobel Prize. He was knighted by the Viceroy of India after getting Nobel. He returned his knighthood after the British ruled Government did not respond to the raging criticism of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of unarmed people. It was a meal l mark of protest. Strange, no one corrected this.

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