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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 27, 2015

Tagore in the Diaspora: Presence, Ritual, Nostalgia

Bernd-Peter Lange

Abstract

The hype around the sesquicentenary of Rabindranath Tagore’s birth in 2011 and the centenary of his Nobel Laureateship in 2013 for some time outshone the overall trajectory of the sage’s reputation in South Asia’s public spheres. While Tagore has been firmly inscribed into India’s and Bangladesh’s cultural memory, it rests on a shifting basis. Since Tagore’s death, the focus of reactions to his work across his wide productive range has moved from a real presence into a ritualised one which in turn has progressed into commemorative nostalgia. This gradual movement can be traced most clearly in the South Asian diaspora, expressed by writers from Nirad Chaudhuri through Anita Desai, Salman Rushdie, Sunetra Gupta, Vikram Seth, Shashi Tharoor, Monica Ali and Arvind Adiga. It is being continued most reflexively in Amit Chaudhuri’s attempts at negotiating Tagore’s legacy for the present time.


Corresponding author: Prof. Dr. Bernd-Peter Lange, Augustastr. 32, 12203 Berlin, Germany, e-mail:

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Published Online: 2015-11-27
Published in Print: 2015-12-1

©2015 by De Gruyter

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