Unheeded Caveats: Examining Pax Americana in the Light of Tagore’s Nationalism

Abin Chakraborty, University of Calcutta, India

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Rabindranath Tagore’s much discussed opposition to nationalism has often been seen as a source of consternating confusion which not only invoked the ire of many contemporary nationalists who interpreted his vision as one of helpless inaction as well as by certain contemporary critics who have considered Nationalism to be a disorienting product of “impassioned myth-making” which falls within the tradition of English liberalism[1]. This paper seeks to analyse Nationalism, as well as other related texts, in a different light, by comparing Tagore’s assessment of ‘Nation’ and Nationalism in the West’, with both the Communist Manifesto, as well as Lenin’s Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism in order to reveal how Tagore’s explorations constitute a sustained and scathing critique of capitalism, as manifested through the European bourgeois nation-state which is also relevant for this present age of U.S. imperialism and its consequences as many of the crises unfolding around us were presaged by Tagore’s unheeded caveats. The paper also suggests that whatever post-imperial vision we may imagine for our future, they must always be based on those values that Tagore championed throughout his life and which have often been dismissed as sentimental naivety.

Representation of the ‘National Self’— Novelistic Portrayal of a New Cultural Identity in Gora

Dipankar Roy,Visva-Bharati, India


Any colonial rule involves a systematic and ruthless attack on the culture and heritage of the colonized race. This often results in a total loss or at least maiming of the sense of ‘self’ for the colonized people. The masculinist self of the colonizer labels the self of the colonized as ‘effeminate’. In reaction to this, the nationalist consciousness of the colonized people often tries to replicate the macho virility of the colonial masters in an act of fashioning a ‘nationalist self.’ In the context of Indian colonial history we see development in similar lines. But, the codification of the dominant strand of the nationalist consciousness in overt masculinist terms often have strange reverberations. This paper is about such an act of fashionning selves and its after-effects. To study the issue in the Indian colonial contexts I have chosen Rabindranath Tagore’s novel Gora as a case-study. The conception of this novel’s central character is largely modelled on the issue of an ‘ideal’ national self.  The author, however, by observing the dialogic principle consistently in the text, problematises the dominant ideas connected with the figure of ‘nationalist self’. How he does it will be my main concern in this article. Whether it is possible to arrive at a general tendency of the nature of India’s colonial encounter with the British in relation to the issue of the development of the national character will be dealt with in the concluding section of this essay.

Open Texture of Nationalism: Tagore as Nationalist

Gangeya Mukherji, Mahamati Prannath Mahavidyalaya, Mau–Chitrakoot, India

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“The attempt to evaluate the relationship of Tagore with the phenomenon of nationalism is hardly uncomplicated and defeats easy categorisation, naturally drawing attention as it must, to the porosity of the concept of nationalism. Although it is the received wisdom in many quarters that Tagore unlike Gandhi was opposed to nationalism, a close analysis may reveal why in his obituary of Tagore Gandhi chose to say: ‘In the death of Rabindranath Tagore, we have not only lost the greatest poet of the age, but an ardent nationalist who was also a humanitarian’.  Was there a nationalist hidden in Tagore which appealed to Gandhi’s nationalism? This paper will try to examine Tagore’s nationalism and his different understanding of the constituents of the nation – culture, language, history, idea of nationhood, memory, non violence – which led him to occasionally take stances that appeared to strike at the roots of the conventional notion of nation, exploring in parallel the extent to which the category of nationalism can be stretched without becoming something of its opposite. Waismann’s idea of open texture, more generally used in the philosophy of language, indicates that notwithstanding definitions there still remain possibilities of a definition being inadequate, although being different from vagueness insofar as the definition may be fairly accurate. This paper on the nation of Tagore will look at the open texture of nationalism.”

The Inseparable Dichotomy of Nationalism: the Readings of The Home and the World in China and the Reconsiderations

Xingyue Zhou, Peking University, China

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While Tagore’s literary works are widely praised in China, his political thoughts have undergone a longtime denouncement. The reception history of The Home and the World fully proves this double-standard: acclaimed for its artistic achievements but despised for its nationalistic thoughts. This essay traces the Chinese scholars’ different reviews on this novel in various periods, at the same time it investigates into Tagore’s own meditation and choice in front of the conflict between mild humanism and radical patriotism. As this investigation touches some ideological dichotomies, it intends to uncover the absolutism of these criticisms, in order to refresh the critical views toward Tagore’s effortful request in the complicated reality of nationalism.

Magic Realism in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude

B.J Geetha

Periyar University, India

Volume 2, Number 3, 2010Download PDF Version

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v2n3.13


In his One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez through the arsenal of magic realism, deals with war, suffering, and death in the mid-1960 of Colombia which had witnessed two hundred thousand politically motivated deaths. The purpose behind portraying the politics of the region is to comment on how the nature of Latin American politics is towards absurdity, denial, and never-ending repetitions of tragedy. His magical flair is to merge fantastic with reality by introducing to the reader his Colombia, where myths, portents, and legends exist side by side with technology and modernity. These myths, along with other elements and events in the novel recount a large portion of Colombian history.

Monsiváis Writes the (Bi)centennial

Amber Workman

University of California, USA

Volume 2, Number 3, 2010Download PDF Version

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v2n3.12


Despite his participation in many of the festivities and events related to the (Bi)centennial, Carlos Monsiváis was one of the most direct critics of the commemorations of the initiation of Mexican Independence and the Mexican Revolution.  However, in his literary chronicles to date, many of the author’s disagreements do not appear; instead, these writings show two general tendencies: 1) the tendency to postpone the (Bi)centennial to another year or transform the festivities into celebrations of something else; and 2) the tendency to mask the author’s own preferences, that is, to not take sides in his chronicles on the commemorations.  The article inserts Monsiváis’s chronicles into a “tradition” of “commemoratory chronicling” and suggests some possible reasons for their somewhat unusual treatment of Mexico’s (bi)centennial celebrations.

Electroacoustic Music in Mexico

Rodrigo Sigal

Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonoras, Mexico

Volume 2, Number 3, 2010Download PDF version

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v2n3.11


Mexico has been an outsider to the electroacoustic music movement. Countries like Argentina, Cuba and Chile were pioneers in establishing electronic music centers in the continent. This texts aim to illustrate briefly the story behind the first initiatives in Mexico andthe actual situation and characteristics of the institutional electroacoustic music scene.

Kittens in the Oven: Race Relations, Traumatic Memory, and the Search for Identity in Julia Alvarez’s How the García Girls Lost Their Accents

Natalie Carter

George Washington University, USA

Volume 2, Number 3, 2010Download PDF Version

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v2n3.10


The search for an ever-elusive home is a thread that runs throughout much literature by authors who have immigrated to the United States.  Dominican authors are particularly susceptible to this search for a home because “for many Dominicans, home is synonymous with political and/or economic repression and is all too often a point of departure on a journey of survival” (Bonilla 200).  This “journey of survival” is a direct reference to the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, who controlled the Dominican Republic from 1930-1961. The pain and trauma that Trujillo inflicted upon virtually everyone associated with the Dominican Republic during this era is still heartbreakingly apparent, and perhaps nowhere is that trauma more thoroughly illustrated than in the literature of Julia Alvarez.  Alvarez is a prime example of an author who utilizes narrative in a clear attempt to come to grips with lingering traumatic memories.  After her father’s role in an attempt to overthrow the dictator is revealed, Alvarez’s family is forced to flee the Dominican Republic as political exiles, and a sense of displacement has haunted her since.  Because both the Dominican Republic and the United States are extraordinary racially charged, concepts of home and identity are inextricably bound to race relations in much of Alvarez’s art.  Using theoretical concepts drawn from the fields of trauma studies and Black cultural studies, this essay examines Alvarez’s debut novel in order to illustrate the myriad ways in which culture, politics, and race converge and speak through each other, largely in the form of traumas that can irreparably alter one’s sense of home, voice, and identity.

In ‘prison-house of love’[i]: The Bad Girl and bad girls of Mario Vargas Llosa

Tajuddin Ahmed

Netaji Subhas Ashram Mahavidyalaya, India

Volume 2, Number 3, 2010Download PDF Version

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v2n3.09


Mario Vargas Llosa’s recent novel The Bad Girl centers around a sexually liberated woman who is in search of individual emancipation through transgressions of all social norms. The issue of female sexuality and its relation with woman liberation occupies an important and debatable position in Feminist discourse. Llosa’s own attitude to liberated female sexuality had been an ambivalent one. In this paper I would like analyse and explore the question of woman’s liberation in the novel of Mario Vargas Llosa, taking into account the major conflicting Feminist discourses as well as the presence and erasure of female sexuality in the history of Latin American novels. 

Border Identity Politics: The New Mestiza in Borderlands

Lamia Khalil Hammad

Yarmouk University, Irbid-Jordan

Volume 2, Number 3, 2010Download PDF Version

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v2n3.08


This paper investigates Anzaldua’s Borderlands, first, for its radical theory of the mestiza consciousness and how it would establish the border identity for the Chicana/o people.Anzaldua’s Borderlands exemplifies the articulation between the contemporary awareness that ‘all’ identity is constructed across difference and argues for the necessity of a new politics of difference to accompany this new sense of self.  Borderlands maps a sense of the plurality of self, which Anzaldua calls mestiza or border consciousness. This consciousness emerges from a subjectivity structured by multiple determinants—gender, class, sexuality—in competing cultures and racial identities.   

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