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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: October 2011

CHAPTER 3 - Alternation or Search for the Nationness in and of Bhāratavarşīya Samāj


Nationalism amidst Globalization

This chapter seeks to measure Tagore as a theorist of nationalism. The reasons for doing so are twofold. The first is the widespread misconception about Tagore's attitude to nationalism, derived from a pamphlet written by him, titled Nationalism, which is at best a period piece. The second reason is that like civil society, nationalism too is in the present times a hotly contested discursive field. Around the general question of if the heyday of nationalism is over, numerous theorists are giving different dates of the origins of the concept, its components, its nature, and its future amidst the present tide of globalization. By locating Tagore in the contentious terrain of competing theories of nationalism, we can not only gain a few insights into his true worth as a political thinker, but can also analyze to what extent Western-generated theories of nationalism are applicable to India. This may additionally help us understand if a new theory of nationalism can come out of India.

One may wonder why one would try to bring out Tagore's views on a concept that is being adjudged a little anachronistic in today's globalizing world. But nationalism as a concept, and also as a form of movement is experiencing a new resurgence in spite of the inexorable trend towards globalization in the present times. Not everyone would accept this view.

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