Tagore's Recipe for Self-Sufficiency
While cultural and spiritual stimulation dominated Tagore's life, the realms of international politics, nationalism and development greatly interested his mind. Although being born into wealth and remaining a member of the elite, Tagore was not impervious to the hardship and misery of his poor compatriots. During the time he acted as manager of the family Estate (Zamindari) in East Bengal, he had occasion to come in close and empathetic contact with the poverty-stricken people. The indelible mark that illiteracy, ill health, hunger, privation and bondage made on his psyche at that time spurred him to myriads of activities for the rest of his life. He finally chose Santiniketan for the spread of education and culture. But he was not oblivious of the plight of the potters whose lot he tried to ameliorate. He rushed here and there to find ways and means to make the common people free from the curse of deprivation, illiteracy and ill health. He was a widely travelled man. Whatever constructive ideas and actions he noticed abroad (e.g., co-operative in Ireland or education system in Russia), he pondered on how to apply them for the betterment of the deprived of his own land. He made sure his son received a higher degree in agriculture. He himself made various experiments on rural development. It is pertinent, therefore, that we examine the life and works of Rabindranath to find solutions to problems of poverty in our country.
(R) thedailystar.net 2006