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TALKING BACKThe Idea of Civilization in the Indian Nationalist Discourse$
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Sabyasachi Bhattacharya

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780198075042

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198075042.001.0001

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The Concept of Civilization

The Concept of Civilization

Rabindranath Tagore’s Evolving Perspective

Chapter:
(p.67) CHAPTER 3 The Concept of Civilization
Source:
TALKING BACK
Author(s):

Sabyasachi Bhattacharya

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198075042.003.0003

This chapter examines Rabindranath Tagore’s view of Indian civilization which later formed the basis of a full-fledged nationalist paradigm: the ‘syncretic’ civilization. Tagore argued that India’s aim through the ages has been ‘to establish unity amidst diversity’, without eliminating the uniqueness of each element, while Western civilization has been characterized by self-aggrandizement and suppression of diversity by state power. While Tagore’s idea of India’s ‘syncretic civilization’ was incorporated in the nationalist ideology, he moved increasingly towards a highly critical stance in respect of nationalism inspired by Western ideas and history.

Keywords:   Rabindranath Tagore, syncretic civilization, ‘The History of Bharatvarsha’, Indian nationalism, Western civilization

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