Indian music in intercultural education – ISME Glasgow


Whatever we understand and enjoy in human products instantly becomes ours, wherever they might have their origin – Rabindranath Tagore*

During this presentation, musical figures from several distinct traditions were explored in a practice-oriented manner. The figures selected are appealing beyond South Asia where they originated many centuries ago and continue to play a key role in classical and applied music.

Our shared goal was to enable young and old to collaborate in a memorable learning process that blends seemlessly into any chosen subject, academic and otherwise.

The criteria for selecting a particular figure were (1) its flexibility as for combining it with another subject, for instance mathematics, geography or history; (2) its appeal going by prior experience with learners from different age groups; and (3) its scope for variation, movement, visualisation and analysis in accordance with learners’ specific needs and abilities.

Click on the above image to view or download and print a sample lesson for free (PDF with mp3 audio and other links)
View or download this lesson for free (PDF with mp3 audio and other links)


As part of integrated music education, Indian music enables even complete strangers to share a useful learning process. This calls for a natural and playful approach to melody, rhythm, hand signs and body movement. In this manner we are prepared to include newcomers – children and adults lacking a common language – to instantly participate in music.

Indian music is valued for fostering memory, analytical thinking, concentration, and cooperation among peers. Its basic concepts are exhilarating and liberating whether or not there is scope for studying Indian culture in its own right. This is a boon in circumstances where verbal or written instructions fail to engage learners. Rather than resigning in the face of such formidable challenges, educators are free to experiment and spread solidarity through instant inclusion – the essential joy of “creating” music oneself. This aspect addresses a common fear among learners, namely to be left behind (again!), be it in music or other subjects – a fear that is all too often justified in competitive modern society.

To help educators to overcome such fears, we build lessons around simple figures that bind tunes, rhythms and movements together into a rounded whole. Some of these may appear familiar enough to “break the ice” if needed; and others are so fresh and mind-boggling as to trigger further experimentation among peers in informal settings – anywhere and anytime. For this to happen, we dispense with technical resources of any kind.

Adaptation is the key to rapidly changing learning scenarios wherein cultural stereotyping, a known stumbling block for educators all over the world, must be overcome. This is easily achieved by integrating Indian music into discussions of academic concepts, or by letting its rhythms enrich social and outdoor activities. Such activities are by definition location specific and all-inclusive.


Educators from Canada, Finland, Germany, Hungary, India, Singapore and Switzerland were among the eleven participants in this one-hour session. They explored a time proven method suited to the needs of a wide range of abilities and learning goals; and this irrespective of participants’ cultural roots.

Date: 28 July 2016 | photos by courtesy of Dr. Tony Makarome, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Singapore

More information

*Rabindranath Tagore in a letter to C.F. Andrews; quoted by Amartya Sen in The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity. London: Penguin, 2005, p. 86.

More on and by Rabindranath Tagore >>

“Unity in Diversity, Antiquity in Contemporary Practice? South Indian Music Reconsidered

“Unity in Diversity, Antiquity in Contemporary Practice? South Indian Music Reconsidered” by Ludwig Pesch (Amsterdam) in Gardner, Matthew; Walsdorf, Hanna (Hrsg.). Musik – Politik – Identität. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag, 2016 (Musikwissenschaften)

This essay evolved from a presentation for participants at the music conference “Music | Musics. Structures and Processes” held at Goettingen University (4-8 September 2012); with due credits to the editors.

“an inspiration to many [and] the highlight of the conference for me” – fellow author/presenter Paul Christiansen

ISBN13: 978-3-86395-258-7

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The “classical” music of South India is an amalgam of regional traditions and practices. Increasingly codified in the past five centuries, it is now known as Carnatic or Karnatak music. Like the Sanskrit term Karnâtaka Sangîtam, these Anglicisms denote “traditional” music besides distinguishing South Indian music from its northern (Hindustani) counterpart. Progressive scholars have long espoused the common goal of making teaching more effective for both idioms while safeguarding “authentity”. It may therefore seem odd that detailed notation has not been embraced by practitioners.

This paper probes the resilience of oral transmission in the face of modernity. It looks into the concerns shared by musicians who, while belonging to different cultures and periods, have much in common as far as performing practice is concerned: close integration of vocal and instrumental music. The role of manuscripts in Minnesang, as described by McMahon, also applies to Carnatic music: “songs were handed down in an oral tradition [and] the manuscripts were not intended to be used by performers.” (The Music of Early Minnesang Columbia SC, 1990.)

It will be argued that this fact is not just a question of some musicians’ conservatism, ignorance or irrationality; nor would it put the continuity of a living tradition at risk. On the contrary, Carnatic music reaches global audiences today while “ancient” roots are claimed even by those who cherish its association with musicians from other cultures throughout the 20th century.

About this publication

Music – Politics – Identity

Music always mirrors and acts as a focal point for social paradigms and discourses surrounding political and national identity. The essays in this volume combine contributions on historical and present-day questions about the relationship between politics and musical creativity.

The first part concentrates on musical identity and political reality, discussing ideological values in musical discourses.

The second part deals with (musical) constructions, drwawing on diverse national connections within our own and foreign identity.

Matthew Gardner & Hanna Walsdorf (eds.)

Musik – Politik – Identität

Musik ist immer auch Spiegel und Kristallisationspunkt gesellschaftlicher Paradigmen und politisch-nationaler Identitätsdiskurse. Der vorliegende Sammelband vereint Beiträge zu historischen und gegenwärtigen Fragestellungen, die um das Verhältnis von Politik und musikalischem Schaffen kreisen.

Im ersten Teil sind Beiträge zusammengefasst, die sich mit „Musikalischer Identität und politischer Realität“ befassen und dabei ideologische Zuschreibungsprozesse im Musikdiskurs thematisieren.

Der zweite Teil des Bandes umfasst Betrachtungen über „(Musikalische) Konstruktionen von eigener und fremder Identität“ aus verschiedensten nationalen Zusammenhängen.

Matthew Gardner & Hanna Walsdorf (Hg.)

Inhalt / Contents

Hanna Walsdorf und Matthew Gardner

I Musikalische Identität und politische Realität

Hanna Walsdorf
Deutsche Nationalmusik? Ein diskursgeschichtlicher Annäherungsversuch

Mauro Fosco Bertola
„Die Musik ist mediterran“: Orient, Latinität und Musikgeschichte, oder: Wie Nietzsche 1937 Italiens koloniale Macht legitimieren sollte

Yvonne Wasserloos
„Nordische Musik“ als Faktor der Propaganda der Nordischen Gesellschaft und der DNSAP in Dänemark um 1940

Simon Nußbruch
„Was ließen jene, die vor uns schon waren…?“ Musik in der Bündischen Jugend nach 1945

Gilbert Stöck
Methoden musikalischer Opposition in Portugal während der Salazar-Diktatur bei Jorge Peixinho und José Afonso

Paul Christiansen
‘The Stakes Are Too High For You to Stay Home’: Divergent Uses of Music in TV Political Ads in the 1964 U.S. Presidential Election

II (Musikalische) Konstruktionen von eigener und fremder Identität

Matthew Gardner
‘Das Land ohne Musik’? National Musical Identity in Victorian and Edwardian England

Rebekka Sandmeier
Reflections of European Culture in the Grey Collection (National Library of South Africa)

Mario Dunkel
Jazz and the Emergence of the African-Roots Theory

Dorothea Suh
Achim Freyers Mr. Rabbit and the Dragon King: Eine Interpretation des koreanischen P’ansori Sugungga

Ludwig Pesch
Unity in Diversity, Antiquity in Contemporary Practice? South Indian Music Reconsidered

Worldcat lists compiled by Ludwig Pesch

Raum für Ideen? Zeit zum Spiel! Zum Sinn eines unbefangeneren Umgangs mit der „klassischen“ Musik Indiens

Einleitung zum Beitrag von Ludwig Pesch zur Ouverture Spirituelle der Salzburger Festspiele 2015 organisiert vom Herbert-Batliner Europainstitut

Wollen wir die Musik Indiens nur ihrer “exotischen” Reize wegen genießen? Damit täten wir uns keinen Gefallen! Das Zusammenfließen verschiedener Kulturen Religionen und Philosophien hat die dortigen Musiker zu großen Errungenschaften befähigt. Dabei wird die Integration vielfältiger Einflüsse zu einem gerundeten Ganzen besonders geschätzt. Dies legt den Gedanken eines spielerischen Umgangs mit der Musik nahe. Ein “unbefangener Umgang” soll dabei nicht mit “Leichtfertigkeit” verwechselt werden.

Ein musikalisches “Leiterlispiel” – Design by Arun V.C. (Kerala)

Hermann Hesses Buch Magister Ludi (Das Glasperlenspiel) schildert eine großartige, im Laufe der Jahrhunderte gewachsene Symbiose; ein intuitives wie durchdachtes Zusammenspiel vieler, das die Grenzen von Künsten, Religion und Wissenschaft wenigstens zeitweilig aufzuheben vermag.

Indische Musiker kennen viele ungeschriebene Spielregeln, wodurch beim gemeinsamen Musizieren “innere Partituren” entstehen. Auch ihr Zusammenspiel ist keineswegs flüchtig oder oberflächig, denn sie können ein beliebiges Stück jederzeit präzise wiederholen, bei Bedarf auch in wechselnden Besetzungen. […]

Eine Kombination von Virtuosität, Improvisations- und Rechenkunst stellt die Konzentration von Musikern und Hörern gleichermaßen auf die Probe. Eine Voraussetzung für musikalische Spannungsbögen ist dabei das Maßhalten: die indische Musik beruht teils auf dem “unbewussten Rechnen der Seele”, das wir aus einem berühmten Ausspruch von Leibniz kennen, teils auf perfekt durchkalkulierten Abläufen; und selbstverständlich auch auf der Improvisationskunst der Musiker.

Der Reiz besteht für alle Beteiligten darin, dass man sich zwar auf das “Hier und Jetzt” einlassen muss, zugleich aber auch kombinatorisch mit vorherigen wie zukünftigen Abläufen beschäftigt ist. Dieses Spiel mit dem Zeiterleben bietet Raum für neue Ideen, die an die Errungenschaften der Ahnen anknüpfen statt sie zu verdrängen. Wer dabei gleich an professionelle Darbietungen denkt, wird kaum je die Möglichkeit zum “spielerischen”(sprich “unbefangeneren”) Umgang mit der indischen Musik erwägen. Aber gerade diese Option kann unsere eigene Kultur auf eine zeitgmäße Weise bereichern. Gleichzeitig wird in Indiens Institutionen und Medien seit vielen Generationen recht unbefangen mit den kreativen Möglichkeiten der westlichen Musik “gespielt”. […]

Veröffentlichung | Weitere Artikel und Bücher von Ludwig Pesch: Meine Welt & >>

Spirituelle Kunst in der indischen Kultur

Uralte Bühnenkunst aus Indien präsentiert die “Ouverture spirituelle”, die dieser Tage die Salzburger Festspiele einleitet […]

Dass das Göttliche selbst in der Kunst in Erscheinung tritt, dass die Menschen Gott in Form von Musik und Tanz erfahren können, ist ein zentraler Grundsatz in den darstellenden Künsten Indiens. Man muss weder Sanskrit beherrschen, noch diese enorm elaborierte Sprache der Blicke, der Mimik und Gestik deuten können, um sie genießen zu können – das versichern alle Künstlerinnen und Künstler, die nun vor Salzburger Publikum auftreten. Die starke Emotionalität, die man in Musik und Tanz spürt, wirkt wie eine Mittlerin zwischen den Kulturen. Bei Alarmél Valli etwa, einer berühmten Vertreterin der klassischen indischen Tanzform Bharatanatyam, wirkt alles vollkommen natürlich, wie die spontanen Gesten und Gesichtsausdrücke, die jemand beim angeregten Kommunizieren macht. Und doch handle es sich gleichzeitig göttliche Ausdrucksformen, meint Valli: “Viele Traditionen sehen den Körper als etwas Unheiliges und Fehlbares an, etwas, aus dem man heraus muss, um in die Ewigkeit zu gelangen. Aber wenn man den Körper als Tempel auffasst, wie wir es in unserem Tanz tun, muss man viel mehr in sich hineinschauen. Dieser Tanz ist heilig und sinnlich zugleich, er ist erotisch, aber auch existentiell – ein freudvolles Gebet, wenn Sie so wollen.” […]

“Ich beschäftige mich viel mit Umweltfragen. Ich würde mich auch als Feministin bezeichnen, auch wenn ich solche Labels nicht mag. Aber es entspricht einfach meiner Lebensweise. Ich habe vor einiger Zeit ein fast 2000 Jahre altes Lied entdeckt. Es handelt von einer kleinen Pflanze, einem Sprössling, und von der Zärtlichkeit gegenüber Lebewesen. Ich war so berührt von dem Text, dass ich ihn aufgeführt habe. Das ist etwas anderes, als auf die Straße zu gehen und zu rufen: Fällt keine Bäume! Es beschreibt vielmehr die enge Verbindung zwischen Mensch und Natur.”

Gesellschaftliche Relevanz der Musik

Die Suche nach einer Ausdrucksform, die der Flötist und Musikwissenschaftler Ludwig Pesch er in der abendländischen Musik nicht finden konnte, ließ ihn in den 1970er Jahren nach Indien reisen. Er studierte karnatische Musik in Madras und legte später ein vielbeachtetes Handbuch über südindische Musik auf. In Salzburg hat er nun über das musikalische Zusammenspiel referiert, das zwischen strenger Regelhaftigkeit und individuellem Ausdruck den Spieltrieb des Menschen beflügelt – und die stark fragmentierte Gesellschaft des Subkontinents zusammenhält.

Ludwig Pesch, der heute in Amsterdam lebt, lehrt an Universitäten, vermittelt indische Musik aber auch im nicht-akademischen Bereich – und da vor allem das unbefangene Spiel. Zudem engagiert er sich in einer Stiftung für indigene Völker Indiens, die Adivasis, die zu den Verlierern der Industrialisierung und Urbanisierung zählen, da sie aus ihren Lebensräumen verdrängt werden.

Musik habe gesellschaftliche Relevanz, ist Pesch überzeugt, da sie die Achtsamkeit stärke und Problembewusstsein schaffe. Und so sind auch etliche Künstlerinnen Teil der weiblichen Protestbewegung, die sich nach den Mordfällen an Frauen in Neu Delhi gebildet hat. Doch an indischen Schulen lege man trotzdem wenig Wert auf humanistische Fächer, sagt die Tänzerin Alarmél Valli. Ein Thema, mit dem Valli auch mit österreichischen Bildungspolitikern trefflich diskutieren könnte.

Quelle: Audio und Text-Transkription: “Spirituelle Kunst in der indischen Kultur”  – Interviews von Sebastian Fleischer © ORF Kulturjournal (22.7.2015)

Zum „Klang des Glücks“ – und jetzt?

Statt Lampenfieber erfasste mich von einem Augenblick zum anderen ein unbeschreibliches Glücksempfinden.

Aus dem Beitrag von Ludwig Pesch zur Reihe
“Mein Indien ….. Mein Deutschland”
Meine Welt (Ausgabe 2, 2008)


Über uns >>

Ludwig Pesch – Nederlands

Ludwig Pesch specialiseerde zich op de Zuid-Indiase bamboe dwarsfluit, toen hij studeerde bij Ramachandra Shastry aan de Kalakshetra kunstacademie in Chennai. Samen met zijn leraar gaf hij concerten bij talrijke gelegenheden. | Lees verder >>

Rabindranath Tagore’s memorable visit to The Netherlands: Centenary celebration at “Paradiso”

Paradiso © Ludwig Pesch 2020
Tagore sketched by Martin Monickendam in September 1920

The month of September offered an opportunity to celebrate the centenary of a successful lecture tour by Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941). It was organized by Dutch citizens with whom he shared a commitment to a cultural dialogue on eye-level. A Dutch press report highlights Tagore’s “silver voice” that conveyed his admiration for the songs of Bengal’s village mystics. His lectures attracted large audiences: 1

Several factor led [his Dutch translator, the writer Frederik van] Eeden – and like-minded intellectuals in Europe of the interbellum – to make an idol of Tagore as the poet-king the world was waiting for. 2

The impact or “hype” caused by his writings and lectures has been compared to that surround modern day celebrities going by a Dutch article published to mark the 100th anniversary in September 2020. 3

Today we are free to believe whether or not this was due to his charisma or indeed a deeper understanding, rather than unrealistic expectations that often arise from “western interest in spirituality as an antidote to cultural pessimism, modernism, and materialism”.

Historical context

By 1920 Tagore’s “celebrity” status had already attracted Dutch readers, enjoying highly popular edition of his Gitanjali based on the English edition hailed by W. B. Yeats. It was for this collection of poetry for which Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 “because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West. 4

By 1920 extraordinary success story had already to both, the publication and staging of his favourite play The Post Office 5 (Dutch De brief van den koning).

Rie Cramer, a renowned Dutch children’s book illustrator, writer and freedom fighter in her own right, had created six miniatures included in a bibliophile edition enjoyed by generations of Dutch readers ever since. Besides adding beauty she contributed to a greater awareness of the fact that “Tagore uses the notion of freedom to decry narrow nationalistic boundaries, governed by myopic ambition and greed […] which bring out different facets of his broader abstraction of freedom. 6

In the Netherlands, Rabindranath Tagore was hailed by some as India’s “Poet King”, inspiring Dutch composers to create new and original work besides being a much sought after speaker all over Europe in view of his self-assigned mission to improve international relations in association with public figures from mutually hostile nations.

Rabindranath Tagore Vrije Gemeente Amsterdam 23 September 1920) © Spaarnestad Photo
Tagore with his hosts at the Vrije Gemeente Amsterdam
23 September 1920 © Spaarnestad Photo

Yet Tagore’s irrepressible sense of independence and personal freedom is evident from many of the poems he hand collected and translated for the benefit of foreign friends, published under the title Gitanjali; and even more explicitly in a letter written a few years later, addressed to his friend, the poetess Victoria Ocampo whom he had sought to honour by using her name in the Sanskrit equivalent “Vijaya”:

Whenever there is the least sign of the nest becoming a jealous rival of the sky [,] my mind, like a migrant bird, tries to take … flight to a distant shore. 7

Image: India Perspectives, Vol. 24 No. 2/2010
‘Where the mind is without fear!’: A poem from Gitanjali in Tagore’s calligraphy in “Tagore, Gitanjali and the Nobel Prize by Nilanjan Banerjee, India Perspectives, Vol. 24 No. 2/2010.


In view of Tagore’s artistic and educational priorities the gathering commemorating his visit focused on the ways “freedom” permeates his legacy. 8

On 25 September 2020 the same venue – since 1968 a popular music venue known as Paradiso – welcomed a small gathering sharing an interest in Tagore’s work and its relevance for our times. Our discussion was enriched by contributions from other parts of the country, and by Santal educationist Dr. Boro Baski who hails from one the villages near Tagore’s Visva-Bharati University at Santiniketan (West Bengal). 9 The values and forward looking principles envisaged for his newly founded “World University” also figured prominently during meetings arranged in the course of Tagore’s successful lecture-cum-fundraising tour in 1920. 10

Paradiso - de grote zaal Vrije Gemeente (gezien naar de achtergevel circa 1900)
Paradiso (main hall of the Vrije Gemeente, circa 1900): built in 1880, 1965 sold to the City of Amsterdam © Stadsarchief Amsterdam; discussed in “Scheurmakers: 50 jaar Paradiso. Voorheen Vrije Gemeente” door Raymond van den Boogaard

Rabindranath Tagore’s ideas left an impression worth debating today, be it on a personal level or perhaps even in a larger context, as discussed among the participants during and after the 2020 commemoration in Paradiso:

I am not against one nation in particular, but against the general idea of all nations. What is the Nation? It is the aspect of a whole people as an organized power. This organization incessantly keeps up the insistence of the population on becoming strong and efficient. But this strenuous effort after strength and efficiency drains man’s energy from his higher nature where he is self-sacrificing and creative. 11

His foresight is evident from one of his lectures on the danger posed by nationalism, anywhere in the world:

And the idea of the Nation is one of the most powerful anaesthetics that man has invented. Under the influence of its fumes the whole people can carry out its systematic programme of the most virulent self-seeking without being in the least aware of its moral perversion – in fact it can feel dangerously resentful if it is pointed out. 12

Tagore’s Nationalism should be mandatory reading in today’s climate of xenophobia, sectarianism, violence and intolerance. (Ramachandra Guha) 13

His life and work remain a source of inspiration, whether we focus on the creative artist he was – the world famous poet, musician and painter – or on the social activist who remains an example to emulate for many: today and for future generations Rabindranath Tagore’s legacy may be that of “The Argumentative Indian” Nobel Awardee Amartya Sen wrote about so eloquently as Visva-Bharati’s most prominent alumnus 14 just as the “Myriad-Minded Man”. 15

Rabindranath Tagore and his role in fostering “sympathy of the East and West” during his visit to The Netherlands in fall 1920

In his poetry, for which he received the Nobel Prize for Literature as Asia’s first awardee in 1913, Rabindranath Tagore uses musical instruments as metaphors for self-realization and transcendence; notably the vina (or “veena”, often translated as “harp”) and the flute. In a letter to Frederik van Eeden, his Dutch translator, he wrote in 1913, seven years before visiting the Netherlands:

Very often I think and feel that I am like a flute – the flute that cannot talk but when the breath is upon it, can sing. I am sure you have seen me in my book and I shall never be able to make myself seen to you when we meet; for the body of the lamp is dark, it has no expression, only its flame has the language. 16

In another letter to Van Eeden, Tagore wrote about a quest he shared with leading minds all over the world:

Still I cannot deny that this award of the Nobel Prize has been a great thing. It is the handshake of sympathy of the East and West across the water – it has proclaimed the oneness of humanity. 17

In 1920 Tagore spoke before packed houses including the “free congregation”: the humanistic and cosmopolitan “Vrije Gemeente” whose highly placed members had built a magnificent church at the Weteringschans in Amsterdam. (It now houses Amsterdam’s prime pop venue, known as “Paradiso”.)

Tagore’s lecture tour made a lasting impression on countless listeners:

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) and the Dutch writer, psychiatrist and Utopist Frederik van Eeden (1860-1932) exchanged correspondence between 1913 and 1928, and met in Amsterdam in 1920. When Van Eeden discovered Tagore’s poetry in 1913, he experienced a feeling of profound recognition and went on to translate a considerable amount of Tagore’s poetic work into Dutch, starting with Gitanjali [Wijzangen]. Van Eeden’s translations became very popular in the Netherlands, also among composers. 18

Van Eeden’s father (the elder Frederick van Eeden) was in fact the co-founder of what later became the Tropenmuseum, established as the “Colonial Museum” in nearby Haarlem in 1864. The grand building in Amsterdam dates from 1923.

Tagore with tambura - Sangeet Natak Centenary Number (New Delhi 1961)


“As Blind Minstrel in Phalguni” by Abanindranath Tagore (detail); title page, Sangeet Natak Centenary Number (New Delhi 1961)

Even though the above quote confirms his fondness for the simple bansuri bamboo flute, an instrument he often heard played during Santal festivities – on “tribal” land where Santiniketan was founded – Tagore did not play any musical instrument other than the indispensable drone:

“I practiced my songs with my tamburā resting on my shoulder.” (My Boyhood Days, p. 38, Calcutta: Visva-Bharati 1997).

Later he was depicted as playing a similar string instrument, namely as a participant in his own music dramas (see the detail from Abanindranath Tagore’s painting reproduced here).


  1. “In the evening he read the essay on ‘Some Village Mystics of Bengal’ in the ‘Church Of the Christians’. About 1500 Theosophists and religious persons attentively listened his lecture.”
    Rabindranath in Holland (contd-2) – 1920 by Smaraka Grantha.[]
  2. Tagore’s reception in Europe amounted to a “vogue”, Dutch “een ware rage”, as described by Rokus de Groot in his account of the atmosphere and extraordinary circumstances surrounding Tagore’s visit, making “Tagore into a major text source in Dutch new music of the first half of the twentieth century”. For details read “Rabindranath Tagore and Frederik van Eeden: Reception of a ‘Poet King’ in the Netherlands” in Hindustani Music: Thirteenth to Twentieth Centuries. Codarts / Manohar New Delhi 2010 pp. 521-76; find a copy in the library:[]
  3. “‘Met zilveren stemgeluid leest dr. Tagore de rede, die hij te voren op papier heeft gebracht. Hij vertelt van de dorpsmystici ginds in Bengalen, van mannen en vrouwen wier godsdienst het Hindoeïsme is en die in religieuze devotie het dagelijksche gebeuren rondom hen vertolken in liederen van zeldzame bekoring.’ Tagores bezoek maakte diepe indruk en bracht in Nederland een ware rage teweeg.[]
  5. Original title: Dakghar and available as The Project Gutenberg EBook: The Post Office by Rabindranath Tagore, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1914[]
  6. Bhaswati Ghosh in “Freedom in Tagore’s Plays — an essay”, Parabaas Rabindranath Section:[]
  7. Rabindranath Tagore quoted by Amartya Sen in The Argumentative Indian (London 2005), p. 103[]
  8. For more detailed accounts of Tagore’s journey between 23 September and 1 October 1920 popularity, read “Tagore in The Netherlands” by Liesbeth Meyer on, and “Rabindranath in Holland – 1920” by Smaraka Grantha.[]
  9. The mission statement of its university reiterates Tagore’s vision expounded to the intended beneficiaries and benefactors, be they from all over India or from abroad: “Visva-Bharati represents India where she has her wealth of mind which is for all. Visva-Bharati acknowledges India’s obligation to offer to others the hospitality of her best culture and India’s right to accept from others their best.”[]
  10. “Other than Dr. Eeden Rabindranth was introduced with two other poets. One, Henri Borel, and the other, Raden Mas Noto Suroto. Borel translated two dramas of Rabindranath, The King of the Dark Chamber [1914] and The Post Office [1916] in Dutch. The second one became very much popular in Holland.
    Rabindranath in Holland (contd-1)-1920 by Smaraka Grantha.[]
  11. Nationalism by Rabindranath Tagore. Penguin Books – Great Ideas. London: 2010 [first ed. 1917], pp. 76-77; find a copy in the library:[]
  12. Nationalism, p. 63[]
  13. “As Ramachandra Guha shows in his brilliant and erudite interoduction, it was by reading and speaking to Tagore that these founders of modern India, Ghadhi and Nehru, developed a theory of nationalism that was inclusive rather than exclusive.” – Publisher’s note for the Indian ed. 2017 [Haryana : Penguin Books][]
  14. To appreciate Tagore’s struggles and achievements, see The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity by Amartya Sen; find a copy in the library:[]
  15. See Rabindranath Tagore: the myriad-minded man by Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson (a biography that “focuses on the man, not his art”); find a copy in the library:[]
  16. See Letter#2: Rabindranath to Van Eeden, August 9, 1913 in “Tagore in The Netherlands” by Liesbeth Meyer
    “Believe me, my friend, my heart goes out to you but I am inarticulate. I have to speak to you in a language not my own. The best that I have in me I give out in songs – no, I can not even say that I give it out – it comes out of itself. The superconscious self of mine which has its expression in beauty is beyond my control – and my ordinary self is stupid and awkward before men. Very often I think and feel that I am like a flute – the flute that cannot talk but when the breath is upon it, can sing. I am sure you have seen me in my book and I shall never be able to make myself seen to you when we meet; for the body of the lamp is dark, it has no expression, only its flame has the language.”[]
  17. Signed in Shanti Niketan, 12 December 1913, see Letter#4: Rabindranath to Van Eeden; December 12, 1913 in “Tagore in The Netherlands” by Liesbeth Meyer[]
  18. Abstract: “Van Eeden en Tagore. Ethiek en muziek” by Rokus de Groot[]