Historian Rudranghu Mukherjee’s new book on the unique friendship of Gurudev and Mahatma revisits their vision of a more tolerant nation
AM | December 9, 2021
Tagore & Gandhi: Walking Alone, Walking Together
By Rudrangshu Mukherjee
Aleph, 186 pages, Rs 699
Two men born in the 1860s, more than anybody else, gave us an idea of India, an idea of what this country should become. Rabindranath Tagore and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Each an extraordinarily noble mind animated by a deep concern for masses, both exhorting us in these distressing times to rekindle a vision of a more harmonious coexistence. Their friendship was an unparalleled phenomenon, nearly miraculous for the modern India.
It must have been an auspicious constellation under which they met for the first time – soon after Gandhi’s return to India in 1915. The affection and respect was spontaneous and mutual. Though their dreams and sensitivities were alike, the paths they’d forge were slightly different. Gandhi, for example, would call for a boycott of foreign cloth in a campaign that had elements of violence in it. Tagore was unhappy watching bonfires of foreign clothes.
Rudrangshu Mukherjee, in this excellent work, narrates the story of this matchless bonding that was a high point of India’s freedom struggle. Through their correspondence and writings, the book explores the evolution of their relationship and their ideas in their historical context.
What is the most beautiful in their friendship is that they discussed threadbare their differences in a model of public debate, appreciating each other’s motives, respecting each other’s views, without a hit of acrimony or self-righteousness. Their correspondence, indeed, enriches the possibilities of debate itself.
What could be behind their differences? As Mukherjee argues here, the Gurudev was animated by a poet’s heart, a heightened sensitivity, whereas the Mahatma was leading a mass movement against a powerful colonial empire. Yet, in the higher plane of their minds there was a harmony inexpressible in words. “I have found no real conflict between us. I started with a disposition to detect a conflict between Gurudev and myself but ended with the glorious discovery that there was none,” Gandhi said in Santiniketan in 1945.
Their one and the same fervent hope was to see an India free from fear, bigotry and hatred. Revisiting their journeys – when they walked alone and when they walked together – is as timely as necessary today.
After the oxygen crisis faced during the second wave of Covid-19, the BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC) has now set up its own medical oxygen cylinder recharge projects. On Tuesday, guardian minister Aditya Thackeray launched two of the BMC’s new medical oxygen cylinders r
The world’s ten richest men more than doubled their fortunes from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion (at a rate of $15,000 per second or $1.3 billion a day) during the first two years of a pandemic while the incomes of 99 percent of humanity fall and over 160 million more people forced into poverty. A new
The Vistadome coaches on Central Railways have received an overwhelming response from passengers. Not only have they boosted tourism and registered an occupancy of 20,407 passengers but also clocked revenue of Rs.2.38 crore between October and December 2021. The CSMT-Madgaon-CSMT Jansh
India is once again caught in a spike of Covid-19 cases, with the highly transmittable omicron driving numbers. The total cases in the country continued to increase on Saturday, recording 2.68 lakh cases in 24 hours. India`s active caseload currently stands at 14,17,820 or 3.85%, while the r
Mantra and the meaning of Success By Rajesh Talwar Bridging Borders, 288 pages Rajesh Talwar, who works as Deputy Legal Adviser to the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan, has written 31 books, and on January 15 he is releasing one more. ‘
Essence of the Fifth Veda By Gaurang Damani Divine Destination, 234 pages, Rs 350 ‘Veda’ literally means ‘knowledge’.