Argumentative Indians

As part of December meetings, we went through the Gandhi-Tagore debate, as illustrated in Amartya Sen’s -The Argumentative Indian.



One of our Libyan friends is a lover of Tagore’s poetry.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high

Where knowledge is free

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow

Domestic walls;

Where the dear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary

Desert of dead habit;…

Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake

Gitanjali, Rabindranath Tagore

                                    Nobel Prize for Literature 1913



gandhi tagore 1940 feb 18
Gandhi ji-Tagore -Santiniketan-18th Feb, 1940

While Tagore respected Gandhi as a person, they had serious differences of their vision of India, its past, present and future.

Tagore had the greatest admiration for Mahatma Gandhi as a person and a political leader, but he was also highly skeptical of Gandhiji’s form of nationalism and his conservative instincts regarding the country’s past traditions. He never criticized Gandhi personally.

In the 1938 Essay- “Gandhi the Man”, he wrote

Great as he is as a politician, as an organizer, as a leader of men, as a moral reformer, he is greater than all these as a man, because none of these aspects and activities limit his humanity. They are rather inspired and sustained by it.


We will Discuss Ghaire Baire- Tagore’s novel on divergent views on Nationalism and Humanity.

It deals with a subject that has often appeared in Ray’s work: the emancipation of women and what it does to them and to the men who love them. “Ghare Baire shot”. Via Wikipedia –


Did women pay, and continue to pay a great price for the Libyan wars after 2011? The theme for discussion in our Reading Group, with Tagore-Gandhi Debate and Ghaire Baire as frame of reference








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