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A Poets Experiment in Rebuilding Samaj and Nation

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The immense contributions of Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) to literature, philosophy, history, paintings, music, and political ideas made him one of the greatest thinkers. However, he was also one among the few nationalist thinkers of the pre-independence period who refused to be swayed by the political solutions of the country’s variegated problems and lose sight of the urgent and more important needs, especially of the villagers. In identifying the problems faced by the people, his approach to the development of a subjugated society, innovative methodological approaches, insistence on comprehensive development of society or in visualizing a collective society, he was far ahead of his time. Tagore diagnosed four problems — despondency, death, ignorance and poverty (dukho, mrityu, ajnan, daridrya) — faced by the contemporary rural society requiring immediate solution. The present work tries to provide a detail narrative account of his ideas of ‘rural reconstruction’, its implementation, mitigation of the problems and efforts to construct a new social order during the early part of the twentieth century Bengal. The account describes how this work unfolded, first concentrated in few villages surrounding Sriniketan, and then gradually encompassing a much larger area, ultimately becoming a nation-building concern.

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