someday ill be in company of all....

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Book Review:The home and the world by Rabindranath Tagore

Tittle: The home and the world
Author: Rabindranath Tagore
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9780143031413
Price: Rs 350
Genre: Classics/ Indian writing
Source: Personal
Rating: 4 out of 5

There is nothing static, earthbound or lifeless about it . . . It has the complexity and tragic dimensions of Tagore's own time, and ours"-Anita Desai Set against the backdrop of the Partition of Bengal by the British in 1905, Home and the World (Ghare Baire) is the story of a young liberal-minded zamindar Nikhilesh, his educated and sensitive wife Bimala, and Nikhilesh's friend Sandip, a charismatic nationalist leader whom Bimala finds herself attracted to. A perceptive exposition of the difficulties surrounding women's emancipation in pre-modern India, and a telling portrayal of the chasms inherent in the nationalist movement, Home and the World has generated endless debate and discussion. This classic novel by Nobel Prize-winner Rabindranath Tagore, first published in Bengali in 1916, is now available in a lucid new translation.

Classics stand tall by the passing time for its richness and the grandeur of style and substance..That is why Leo Tolstoy's (Okay that's just one example)poetic prose appeals to me even now on a sunny afternoon anytime..
Nikhilesh aka Nikhil belongs to a high class as per social hierarchy of 1900's..His marriage to Bimala was arranged way back  when they were quite young for marriage.. As a homemaker she is dutiful, devoted to her house hold chores  treats her husband as god which is a result of her social upbringing and not kindled by her  self thinking and analysis..Things turns upside down when Sandip (Nikhil's friend) come to stay with them..Sandip is handsome, with a sense of appeal, he could play with words , he has the ability to attract any passer by with his charisma and above all he is an active member of Swadesi movement.  Swadesi movement was a part of India's struggle for Independence from British regime that spanned for  over a century...Swadeshi movement was the period when Bengal was partitioned by Lord Curzon in 1905 much to the disagreement of popular opinion, and the movement spanned over a period of six years..The novel  revolves around this period and set in Bengal..We can feel the pulse and the vibration of the movement throughout not only in the backdrop but also in the four main characters viz Nikhil, Bimala, Sandip and Amulya... 
That being said with Sandip coming to the picture the whole story gathers momentum and by the turn of events you get an idea of another triangle classic being staged soon in the story , well you might be partially right, but then "the home and the world" present it in a different flavour with a different seasoning with right amount of emotions and  right characterization that doesn't make it overboard.. Sandip with his idealism and zeal for the country captures Bimala's fancy and all her dormant emotions and passion for freedom of thoughts and life sprouts with beautiful shades .Their relationship blossoms barring the social restrictions taking the shade of attraction and lust..Surprisingly Nikhilesh frees her of all her familial bonds but alas that's when she realizes Sandip's core of ugliness that's been draped with the beautiful wrap of patriotism, dignity and nobility..She understands that his true ambition is to be a leader for his personal benefit  at the cost of others..He uses every single person in the walk of his life for his benefits and throw them later...Bimala then tries her way to save Amulya (who is a blind follower of Sandip) from the insignificant hands of Sandip...

The characters are not what they seem  in the beginning, for example Nikhil at the outset seem to be quite passive but as the novel progresses we get to know him better, he understand that his passiveness comes from the his ability to think deep weighing everything before acting.While Sandip who preaches great things with high ideologies turns out to be quite shallow..Bimala who has no much personal views transforms into independent free thinking women who realizes the need of women in the struggle for independence, though she is gullible to effervescence of Sandip,  she is quick to in her action to save Amulya falling into the Sandip's trap...
Nikhish is a character who is  too good to be true, Sandip's selfishness in the name of patriotism and idealism  makes the character not likable and Bimala is the mix of two with her mix of virtues combined with a mix of flaws.Tagore makes the novel with a combined flavour of lyrical prose and philosophical thoughts through the characters..The novel explores various conflicts one is that of idealism and falseness, the reality that freedom would bring about, awareness to that of neglectfulness to the changing scenario of the country. 
The book goes a step higher when each character describes his or her thoughts upon Swadesi movements and their own turmoil to keep up with the changes around them..The book also explores the not so good part of the freedom movements upon the lesser known set of individuals of the society.
This was the first Tagore's book I read outside my school syllabus, and I thoroughly enjoyed it..Originally written in Bengali the book is a translated version...


  1. Superb commentary as always VB.

    This sounds like an impressive book.

    I really like the idea of the contrasts and seemingly paradoxical nature of the characters as you describe them. I think that there is some truth to the notion of quite and taciturn being an expression of depth while the quick and aggressive is actually hiding superficiality.

  2. Le Carré claims that operations of that sort were not quite what he himself experienced during his years as a spook, the prophet kahlil gibran book


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...