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Gora

Author : Ravindra Nath Tagor

About Book :

Rabindranath Tagore’s long life (1861-1941) was marked by ceaseless and torrential flow of creativity manifested in the richness and variety of all kinds of literary and artistic forms. He was both a man of action and a seer, a man of royal grandeur and an ascetic. In his philosophy of life the best of the East and that of the West are reconciled into a harmonious whole. His inclusive mind aspired after the Universal Man shining in the glory of creation and joie de vivre. With the passage of time, Tagore, our first Nobel laureate, has only grown in stature and is now reckoned as an increasingly significant and rich personality and a genius for all times. Among Rabindranath’s major fictional works, Gora (1910), the sixth in the chronological order, is remarkable for its superb handling of certain topical social-religious-political controversies while reflecting at the same time some of the author’s major preoccupations and convictions like the value of truth, freedom, dignity of the individual, which remained with him all along as a driving force behind his personal life as well as his great creative and critical oeuvre.

The novel is set against the atmosphere of political excitement and religious debates that characterized the first decades of the last century in Bengal and India. In the words of Asit Bandyopadhyaya: “Gora is not only an epoch-making novel of modern Indian literature, it is certainly comparable with any epic novel of Europe in shape and size, in treatment and in execution.” In a similar vein Niharranjan Roy, the eminent historian, eulogized Gora for its “amplitude of ancient epics”. Sukumar Sen, the renowned scholar, hailed it as “a Mahabharata of modern India”, while Tagore’s biographer Krishna Kripalani praised the novel as “the epic of India in ‘transition’”, and compared it with Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Tagore’s consistent, profound and lifelong exploration of the two issues—religion and nationalism—which necessarily got intersected during those days of newly awakened cultural nationalism, found reflection in the novel.