Social Scientist. v 26, no. 300-301 (May-June 1998) p. 84.


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BOOK REVIEW

Selected Letters of Rabindranath Tagore

Selected Letters of Rabindranath Tagore, Edited by Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson: Foreword by Amartya Sen, Cambridge, 1997, Distributed by Foundation Books, New Delhi, Rs. 550

"Don* t ask anyone to listen to me, I beg at your feet my lord The singer alone does not make a song, there has to be someone who hears Only from the marriage of two forces does music arise in the world Where there is no love, where listeners are dumb, there never can be song." [From "Broken Song" - translation William Radice]

If you are inclined to believe that "the great mystic from the East" (as he was described by European savants after he won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913) could produce only pompous, pedantic stuff when it came to writing letters, take a look at ];his:

There I was, turning the pages of my French Grammer, when your letter arrived and made me palpitate with excitement, like a dead frog connected to an electric current.

Here is the great Tagore, writing to the great Jadish Chandra Bose. A boundless overflow of this and more such gems lie in store for pilgrims and the uninitiated, in this treasure house under review. The book contains around 350 letters written by Rabindranath Tagore, sparing almost the poet' s entire life, to relatives, close friends and to the foremost minds of his time - Gandhi, Bertrand Russell, Einstein, B.C. Roy, scientist J.C. Roy, Sarat Chandra Chatterjee, William Rothenstein - who introduced Tagore to Yeats and therefore, to the world, poets W.B. Yeats and Ezra Pound, Annie Besant, Romain Rolland, George Bernard Shaw, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maria Montessori, Roosevelt, Atul Prasad Sen, Ashutosh Mukherjee, Woodrow Wilson, even Mussolini (it is a formidable list) - intimate, wise, in turns stern,

Social Scientist, Vol. 27, Nos. 5 - 6, May- June 1998



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