A History of Sriniketan (Rabindranath Tagore's Pioneering Work in Rural Reconstruction)
|Uma Das Gupta
|234 (Througout B/W Illustrations)
|9.50 X 6.50 inch
The idea of doing something to redeem the neglected village came to Rabindranath Tagore when he first went to live in his family's agricultural estates in East Bengal during the 1890s. As manager of those estates, he got his first exposure to the countryside and its stark miseries. The experience played a seminal role in turning him into a man of action. The present book, A History of Sriniketan, explores Tagore's attempt to inspire the deprived sections of rural society to self-reliance and to make them economically independent by setting up a centre for rural reconstruction called Sriniketan as a wing of his Visva-Bharati International University at Santiniketan in 1922. The idea was pioneering in its times as an endeavour for improving the condition of the peasantry by using scientific methods of cultivation through laboratory experiments where the expert and the peasant collectively participated. To achieve all this, he sent his eldest son, Rathindranath Tagore, to the USA, for studying agriculture. He also invited Leonard Knight Elmhirst, the internationally known agriculturist, to come and stay in Sriniketan for a year. There was a parallel effort to revive the traditional rural arts and crafts as a means of creativity and economic recovery. Tagore's independent thinking gave him the courage of conviction to work alone with his ideas of rural reconstruction outside the Nationalist Movement. He was not one to accept that all improvements had to wait for our country's political independence.
Historian and Tagore biographer Uma Das Gupta was educated at Presidency College, Calcutta, and the University - of Oxford. Her post-doctoral research has been on Rabindranath Tagore and the history of the educational institutions he founded at Santiniketan and Sriniketan, 1901-1941. She retired as Professor, Social Sciences Division, Indian Statistical Institute. She was Head of the United States Educational Foundation in India for the Eastern Region. Recently, she has become a National Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IAAS), Shimla, and a Delegate of Oxford University Press, India. Her publications include Rabindranath Tagore: A Biography; The Oxford India Tagore: Selected Essays on Education and Nationalism; A Difficult Friendship: Letters of Rabindranath Tagore and Edward Thompson, 1913-1940; Friendships of 'largeness and freedom': Andrews, Tagore, and Gandhi, An Epistolary Account, 1912-1940.
Tagore had warned the world that it was headed along a dangerous and destructive path and we now know dm he the hope that they would set an example, which would be md conflict, and the mly hope may lie in turning to Tap. path based on social cooper.. but people today do not face the future optimistically. Bl.d habits, coma. denial and destruction, and despair. get in way of posit. change. Listening Tagorc could rmive his faith in It would not be fair to think of ...math Tag., experiments in mml reconstr.t... ideas and targets on, to thWin. the economic development of villagm. Though economic development was a important goal in the Srinilmtan work there was the 'other' Ims import.t goal of bringing joy to the lives of the village people. He Imew intuitive, that poverty was not the oMy problem unhappiness was al. a problem. If we think over those words,we cannot miss the feeling and conviction with which he said in a speech to the Visva-Bharati (Association) in Calcutta in 1922.**Contents and Sample Pages**
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