Nobel laureate Amartya Sen wrote on the occassion of the fiftieth anniversary of India’s Independence:

“At the fiftieth anniversary of Indian independence, the reckoning of what India had or had not achieved in this half century was a subject of considerable interest.. If Tagore were to see the India of today, more than half a century after independence, nothing perhaps would shock him so much as the continued illiteracy of the masses. He would see this as a total betrayal of what the nationalist leaders had promised during the struggle for independence …

Tagore would not be consoled by the extraordinary expansion of university education, in which India sends to its universities six times as many people per unit of population as does China. Rather, he would be stunned that..  half the adult population and two thirds of Indian women remain unable to read or write. Statistically reliable surveys indicate that even in the late 1980s, nearly half of the rural girls between the ages of twelve and fourteen did not attend any school for a single day of their lives.

This state of affairs is the result of the continuation of British imperial neglect of mass education, which has been reinforced by India’s traditional elitism, as well as upper-class-dominated contemporary politics (except in parts of India such as Kerala, where anti-upper-caste movements have tended to concentrate on education as a great leveller).

Click here to read the full text of Sen’s article Tagore and his India

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One Response to “Tagore and Today’s India”

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Our Tagore events

  • Oct 6, 2012 AUTUMN EXTRAVAGANZA, Michael Power St. Joseph High School, Toronto. A variety show with Tagore’s works, and a multicultural Dance Ensemble with folk dances of Ukraine, Chile, and India.

  • Sep 25, 2012 'Walking Alone: Justice and Inequality in Tagore's thought', talk by Ananya Mukherjee-Reed at Princeton University, USA.

  • May 4, 2012 Soul of Spring,McMichael Art Gallery, Kleinburg, Ontario. A medley of music, dance and poetry based on Tagore's play. It was performed during an exhibition of Tagore's paintings 'The Last Harvest' at the gallery.

  • Jan 19, 2012 'Race and Diversity in Tagore', talk by Ananya Mukherjee-Reed at the University of Toronto

  • Sept 30, 2011 Tagore reading at the Festival of South Asian Literature and the Arts

  • October 2, 2011 A panel on Tagore featuring Uma Dasgupta and Martha Nussbaum on Writers & Company, CBC Radio One Broadcast time 3:05 pm Eastern. Click here for more details and podcast
  • Dec 3-4, 2011: A film festival featuring the North American premier of two films based on Tagore's work.
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