A Voyage towards Universal Humanism: Tagoreâ€™s Critique of Nationalism in Gora
Rabindranath Tagoreâ€™s Gora (1910), serialized in the Bengali periodical Prabashi from August 1907 to February 1910, while offering a critique of the Western concept of nation and nationalism, traces the journey of Tagore towards the ideal of universal humanism. It offers a counter discourse to Bankimchandra Chattopadhyayâ€™s Anandamath, which valorises Hinduism and â€˜kshatriyaâ€™ model of masculinity. The novel instead reveals the limitations of such versions of nationalism, patriotism and heroism, and shows Tagoreâ€™s growing awareness of the Upanishadic concept of universal humanism. Robust faith on man and the attempt to harmonize the individual self with the universal self are the unique aspects of Tagoreâ€™s philosophy. The eponymous heroâ€™s cry of liberation in the climactic section of the novel is a symbolic affirmation of the Upanishadic truth of the ultimate unity of all human beings.