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‘History of Sriniketan’: Book throws light on Rabindranath Tagore’s work for rural reconstruction

A new book explores Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s work for rural reconstruction by setting up ‘Sriniketan’, a wing of his Visva Bharati International University at Santiniketan in 1922.

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The book, “A History of Sriniketan: Rabindranath Tagore’s Pioneering Work in Rural Construction”, is written by historian and Tagore biographer Uma Das Gupta. It is published under Niyogi Book’s ‘Paper Missile’ imprint.

rabindranath-tagore-pic Tagore’s work in ‘village reconstruction’ at Sriniketan is not as widely known as his work at Santiniketan, popularly known today as a university town. (Source: Express Archive)

Rabindranath referred to his rural work as his ‘life’s work’. This study here on Sriniketan’s history intends to document the work of rural reconstruction and examine its pioneering features of integrated thought and action,” wrote the author in the introduction of the book.

Tagore’s work in ‘village reconstruction’ at Sriniketan is not as widely known as his work at Santiniketan, popularly known today as a university town.

The idea of doing something to redeem the neglected village came to Tagore when he first went to live in his family’s agricultural estates in East Bengal during the 1890s.

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His endeavour was to improve the condition of the peasantry by using scientific methods of cultivation through laboratory experiments where the expert and the peasant collectively participated.

“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,” wrote Gupta in the book.

According to the publishers, the book explores Tagore’s attempt to inspire the deprived sections of rural society to self-reliance and to make them economically independent.

“He (Tagore) perceived a future India at par with the rest of the world in terms of both education and industrialisation, which could happen only with the upliftment of the rural population. Uma Das Gupta documents poet-turned-reformer Tagore’s efforts in this direction in ‘A History of Sriniketan’, and we are proud to publish this for our beloved readers,” said Trisha Niyogi, COO and director, Niyogi Books.

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Gupta’s previously authored books include “Rabindranath Tagore: A Biography” and “The Oxford India Tagore: Selected Essays on Education and Nationalism”.

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The book, priced at Rs 335, is presently available for sale on offline and online stores.

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