Rediscovering Tagore – I

…amidst India’s elusive quest for Vishvaguru

Has strident nationalism alongside toxic consumerism become the bane of humanity, much as Tagore cautioned? Are we likely to wake up to Tagore’s far reaching ideas and actions nearly a hundred years later as humanity faces an unprecedented civilizational crises and an imminent threat of extinction?

“The current spate of events of terrorism and the attempt to throttle it, lead us to a challenging juncture in human history. We in a linear extrapolation of our popular behavior cannot accept that we have reached a blind alley in our quest to discover the ultimate reality of our existence. That the response to terrorism, for instance, has to be to dissolve its basis and not its overt manifestations. Technology and the market alone have no answers, this is a reality; deeper inroads into the human consciousness and the laws of nature hold the key to solving many of our problems.” (1)

  • From Agenda For Genuine Progress Sept. 2001 (Link here)

This passage is from an essay I wrote in the aftermath of the 9/11 incident. This was significant as it shattered the myth of American hegemony and marked its rapid psychological meltdown. I refer to that in a subsequent article here a few years later titled The Derailment Of Western Civilization – Does It Need A Bail-Out? There is also by now tell-tale evidence that there was a simultaneous implosion with bombs planted in the basement of the World Trade Center that wrecked the buildings killing thousands of people with the aim of whipping up Islamophobia. This contradicts what was propagated that aircrafts with fully loaded fuel tanks were rammed into the tower by terrorists which alone caused the damage. This also opens up the case for further investigation into whether the entire exercise was a staged event.

Two decades later, we are now faced with a perfect storm of multiple proportions that has pushed us to the brink of human extinction, as we continue to falter with our vain pursuit in the wrong directions – developing solutions that have created many more problems than they solve. In effect, these technological and market-driven solutions merely shift the burden to the future or to distant geographies or to the overall degeneration of the Five Elements – Earth Water Fire Air and Sky that collectively sustain our lives. Much of these deleterious impacts have either not been measured and accounted for or they have been wilfully brushed under the carpets as “negative externalities”. The current Pandrama (or Plandemic as oftly quoted ) must be seen in this light.  

What we are now witnessing is, in effect, a new kind of threat of much humongous proportions with the unfolding Covid-19 saga that some eminent health experts have also called out as “bio-terrorism” (See here and here). 

DR Peter McCullough is one of the most eminent physicians and scientists in the US, and reputed to be the most published cardiologist in history. With a number of others, he devised a treatment protocol for Covid-19, which was shown to be effective in preventing up to 85 per cent of deaths. Having spent the best part of a year seeing all discussion of these treatments suppressed, resisted and censored by the authorities, media and Big Tech, he has come to a shocking conclusion

‘I believe that we’re under the application of a form of bioterrorism that’s worldwide, that appears to have been many years in the planning. The first wave of the bioterrorism was a respiratory virus that spread across the world and affected relatively few people, but generated great fear . . . The entire programme as this bioterrorism Phase 1 was rolled out was really all about keeping the population in fear and in isolation and preparing them to accept the vaccine, which appears to be Phase 2 of a bioterrorism operation.’

At the end of his interview with the German lawyer Reiner Fuellmich, he poses the following question:

‘To me what was masterful is the psychological part of it. How did they pull this off from a mass psychology perspective?’

Of course, the response from those who have spent 15 months letting the Government and media do their thinking will be to dismiss his claims as that of a conspiracy theorist. But those dismissing his words should consider this: by definition, a conspiracy theory is a theory about something that someone believes is going to happen or which has happened. Dr McCullough is not talking about that. He is talking about something that is happening in real time, in plain sight, right in front of your eyes.

This is a new kind of psycho-biological warfare with a suspicious vaccination drive that is being made surreptitiously mandatory by linking it to travel and entry restrictions, school reopenings and food distribution programs. To keep people distracted from finding out the truth, its perpetrators are relentlessly spreading misinformation through a powerful and well-entrenched propaganda machine. 

As we unravel their secretive modus operandi, it is clearly a highly clever attempt to hide the underlying climate and ecological crises made worse by the earlier technological solutions. The thinking behind it is to distract public attention from the penal liabilities of the major polluters and instead make lots of money in the process for vested interests even as they depopulate the world by misleading large numbers of people, who believe in them and compelling others to fall in line.  

Setting aside what the propaganda machine wants us to believe, the climate and ecological crises is a real threat to the survival of human species as for most other plant and animal species. Many even believe we have already crossed multiple thresholds of runaway climate and ecological breakdown and have no chance of surviving beyond a decade. Many others are losing hope even if they believe that the end may not come so soon. But the collective imagination of humanity seems to be enveloped, already, by dark clouds of disillusionment and despair. That itself is a major cause of concern. 

Could there be a silver lining to these dark clouds? What really can save us when all the odds seem to be stacked against? 

As Gus Speth, who helped found the Natural Resources Defense Council and was dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, told a British radio presenter in 2013, there are real issues underlying the climate and ecological crises that we need to address:

“I used to think that top global environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and climate change. I thought that with 30 years of good science we could address these problems, but I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed, and apathy, and to deal with these we need a spiritual and cultural transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”

This deeper simplicity of the need to embark on a spiritual and cultural transformation brings me to Rabindranath Tagore – the noted poet-philosopher, Nobel laureate and a creative genius of many talents and pursuits. This takes me further to India’s elusive and many would even say delusional quest of Vishvaguru (“teacher to the world”) – global thought leader, given how badly we fare currently on a variety of measures of human development, widespread poverty, glaring inequity and abysmal quality of life for large sections of the Indian society. 

Tagore, notably was called as Bishokobi (poet of the world) and addressed by the moniker Gurudev (a highly revered teacher). Connecting the dots of his life and work nearly a century later with India’s renewed quest of Vishvaguru however, there are certainly many a slip between the cup and the lip. We are yet to discover the deep and profound wisdom of Tagore’s thoughts and actions that would lead India to Vishvaguru. That is because this path is laden with a number of contradictions and misconceptions in the popular imagination. Let us explore them in greater depth and detail.

In this essay I not only analyse the prevailing maladies, but build further on the strong foundations laid by Tagore a century back.  When the usual response to an unprecedented crises is mostly restricted to distress and despair leading to internecine conflicts or to xenophobic urges with localised pamphleteering, I attempt here to synthesise a better alternative that transcends the present, as Tagore envisioned. The seeds that he sowed of Swadeshi Samaj and Visva Bharati a century back, along with his prolific literary and musical works, created a cultural and spiritual transformation in Esatern India – where I grew up and lived in my formative years. They have greatly influenced my thinking and shaped my actions.  Evolving over past 3 decades, as I have continued to nurture, disseminate and interact on these ideas, it now takes the form of GAIA Earth Sansad – a vision of a truly democratic grassroots to global governance based on the LACE-GAIA model that leads us towards a holistic and harmonious world order. 

LACE stands for Localised Abundance and Circular Economy adapted to current and emerging realities is an evolved form of Swadeshi Samaj and Sriniketan. GAIA, which stands for Global Assembly for Indigenous and Autonomous community-states, takes the seed of Visva Bharti to create a grassroots to global governance that is truly democratic founded on the principles of a balanced approach to nationalism and globalism and a deep regard for human dignity, for individual rights and liberty. As Subrata Mukherjee in his remarkable book on Political Ideas of Rabindranath Tagore notes: 

Tagore’s Kobi Kahini (1878).. was a trendsetter for his other works and also for Bengali literature. It was a revolt against the inhuman expansion of European colonialism in general and British exploitation of India in particular. He saw the domineering side of colonialism and its role in deforming civilization. There was also an optimistic side to the book, an aspect that remained integral to his life. He envisioned humanity transcending the present cruel face and reaching a stage of freedom, peace and harmony – themes that remained his core concerns all his life. At the age of 21 he wrote a poem, ‘Nirjharer Swapna Bhango’ outlining in a nutshell the idea of visva Bharati comparing all human beings to the different rivers that eventually flow into the ocean thus explaining that all persons would have a common meeting ground in the future.  (pg 5)

Tagore’s novels and short stories espoused his radical approach to society and human relations. His intense criticism further alienated him from Bengal’s tradition bound community.  Between May 1916 and March 1917 he travelled to Japan for four months and then to the US. Like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe  (1749-1832), he too became a lone exponent of cosmopolitanism and world culture. In 1918 he articulated the idea of an international university at Shantiniketan and on 22nd December, laid the foundation stone of Visva Bharati. (pg 79)

It was no small credit to Tagore that he comprehended the causes of India’s underdevelopment and tried to work out solutions, nourishing and developing Shantiniketan and Sriniketan as complementary models for others to emulate. (pg 103)

Rediscovering Tagore – II

From Visva Bharti (1921) to Visva Sansad (2021) (concluding part)


For feedback queries and suggestions, contact

Chandra Vikash   I  Convener – GAIA Earth Sansad
e: vishvaguru.bharat21@gmail.com  I b: chandravikash.wordpress.com 
w: www.gaiasansad.org I  t: +91 8595397609

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