On Personality and Tagore
by Nic Olson
“We may or may not be able to save him,” I said; “but if we should perish in the attempt to save the country from the thousand-and-one snares – of religion, custom and selfishness – which these people are busy spreading, we shall at least die happy.”
‘Nikhil’, Rabindranath Tagore, The Home and the World, p136
Every personality test needs to have a question regarding the participant’s belief in personality tests in general. I feel like the answer to this question would greatly affect the results of the test. Like if a lie detector test asked if the person had ever told a lie before. Or if a Cosmopolitan Magazine love test asked if the reader thinks so low of themselves to actually complete a love test in full. One question is all it takes to avoid the myriads of others.
I took a personality test in French class, another way for the teacher to avoid teaching for a day, and so the un-hireables could see what is wrong with them in the glamourous world of second language job searching. I found that I am a scientist that wants to save the doomed world and write a book while doing it, basically. I wonder if my French personality is different than my English personality. At the end, the thirty something year old conductor of the test, complete with magnifying glass for his unnaturally poor eyesight for his age, showed us job postings that related with our three letter personality code. There was three jobs for my I-P-Z or something, a little too close to HPV, while everyone else’s three letter code produced hundreds of job opportunities. Another revelation of my un-hireability.
Before the results were given, we were to guess what our three letter code would be through a brief description of each grouping. I chose basically the exact opposite of what I ended up being. Good thing I don’t believe in generic personality groupings. If I did I would be a worried man, likely a textbook case of group E.
If fictional characters could take a psychologist’s test of real life, I would nominate the three main characters of Rabindranath Tagore’s book, ‘The Home and the World‘. Sandip, Nikhil and Bimala would be three examples of extreme personalities. The entire novel I found myself agreeing with the temperament of Nikhil, but through rereading passages that I highlighted throughout the book, the words of Sandip, a man opposite to Nikhil, were just as striking. Sandip talked of passion, Nikhil of restraint.
Just like I chose the wrong three letters before the test results were handed out, I struggle to choose between the ideals of two completely opposite characters in a book I found truly significant. I am glad to realize that I don’t know who I am at the age of twenty-two, instead of when most people find it out, coincidentally just before their mid-life crisis.
Real personality tests can be done through reading decent literature and multi-dimensional characters and a real story. We don’t need a blind thirty-year old to tell us that we are all going to be searching for the rest of our lives. We’ve got psychological, Nobel Prize winning authors to do that for us. Thanks anyways.
‘Passion,’ I replied, ‘is the street lamp which guides us. To call it untrue is as hopeless as to expect to see better by plucking out our natural eyes.’
‘Sandip’, Rabindranath Tagore, The Home and the World, p60
myriad. good word.
good writing. i don’t agree about personality tests, and i’m not sure that passion and restraint are mutually exclusive. have you read?
speaking of indian literature… i take it you’ve read adiga? i just picked up ‘between the assassinations’ on clearance — hopeful, because i really liked white tiger. is it good?
NOBEL PRIZE FOR RABINDRANATH TAGORE IN 1913- SOME UNTOLD STORIES
Rabindranath Tagore was the greatest of all great Bengali writers. But it is sad to note that the learned Bengali readers and writers kept many facts about Tagore’s winning of Nobel Prize in 1913 are kept secret. Some such facts are given below:
A. Rabindranath Tagore was more than many Nobel Laureates. But his winning of the Nobel Prize was a political consolation for the Hindu terrorist movements launched in Bengal in the early days of the 20th century.
B. Rabindranth Tagore was not the recommendation of the Nobel Committee. The Nobel Committee named somebody else. The name of Rabindranath Tagore was not even in the short list of the Nobel Committee.
C. Rabindranth Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize neither as a Bengalee nor as an Indian. He was awarded the prize as an “Anglo-Indian”.
D. Rabindranth Tagore never made any so-called prize receiving speech.
E. Rabindranth Tagore only sent a two line prize acceptance message.
F. The prize was accepted by the British Ambassador and it was delivered to the poet in Calcutta.
G. It appears from the information, now available, that Rabindranath Tagore was awarded Nobel Prize in consideration of his successful attempt to intermingle the Western Christian-Hindu philosophy.
I shall very much welcome exact and objective reply from the esteemed readers of this Group.
I have been planning to publish a very small book on the subject: Nobel Prize for Rabindranath Tagore in 1913: some untold stories. All the points raised in my message are based on facts. But I would like to get more information on the subject. Help from others will greatly help in the publication of the book with more information.
However, for the information of all concerned, I would like to point out that Rabindranath was a Brahmo ( a reformed group of Brahmins of the so-called Hindu community of India).
The word ‘Hindu’ never existed to identify any religion before the emergence of the British Raj in India. It was invented by Raja Ram Mohan Roy in collaboration with the British colonial rulers. This the Britishers did with a view to getting the united massive force together against the defeated Muslim rulers of the then India.
As such, until the early last century, we find that 99% civil servants, lawyers, judges, engineers, doctors, professors etc. under the British Raj in India were from the Hindu community only. The fourth class employees like peons, messengers, bearers or guards are not included.
Brahmos allowed the conversion of even the low caste Sudras. But in fact, all Brahmos were Hindus. This was well understood by the British Rulers of India.
Rabindranath Tagore was not very vast in literary productions in the first decade of the last century. In fact, excepting the limited 250-copy English edition of Gitanjali, hardly there was any English version of Rabindranath Tagore’s other books. Not to speak of any Asian, until 1913 even any American was not awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Rabindranath Tagore was in the spiritual lineage of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna and others. In the lyrical lineage he was obviously reflecting D.L. Roy, Lalon Fakir, Atul Prasad Sen and others.
Rabindranath Tagore was a pro-British wealthy successor to the vast property left by his grand father Dwarakanath Tagore. In the first decade of the 20th Century he was the leading-most Bengalee intellectual friend of the British Rulers in India.
During the last decades of the 19th century and in the early 20th century there were popular uprisings, known as the ‘Terroist Movement’ in Bengal. Khudiram Bose was young recruit by such leaders of ‘Terroist Movement’ in Bengal. The British Rulers were very much disturbed by the widespread activities of the volunteers of ‘Terroist Movement’. They needed to pacify the Bengalees. Nobel Prize for Rabindranath Tagore was an attempt in that direction.
Rabindranath Tagore was not known to the West in the first decade of the 20thth century; hardly any body could have had access to his English edition of Gitanjali; this is obvious from the fact that Rabindranath Tagore was named in the short list of the Nobel Committee for the award of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913. It was said that Rabindranath Tagore was knwn to the Swidish Academy as an ‘Anglo-Indian poet’ and not either as an Indian or as a Bengalee.
In addition, Rabindranath Tagore did not visit Sweden or Norway before or after being awarded the Nobel Prize. The British Ambassador received the prize for and on behalf of Rabindranath Tagore and it was confidentially delivered to Rabindranath Tagore at his Jorasanko residence in Calcutta.
Had there been no Khudiram Bose or ‘Terrorist Movement’, perhaps there would have been no Nobel Prize for Rabindranath Tagore. Even hundreds of Gitanjali could never open the passage of Nobel Prize for Rabindranath Tagore for Literature in 1913.
Of course, the high diplomatic circles and political decision makers in London did not like to take any risk and responsibilities and they decided, more or less during the same period, to shift the capital of the British Raj from Calcutta to New Delhi in 1911.
A.B.M. Shamsud Doulah
(Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh &
formerly Assistant Professor of English in
Jagannath College, Dhaka)
P.O. 351, Dhaka-1000