Ahead of the West Bengal election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is still seen donning his lockdown beard. Just by the mere looks and style, many of the BJP supporters are seem to be comparing PM Modi to the Nobel Laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore, the fiery Bengali writer, poet, painter and philosopher – forgetting that Gurudev’s beliefs, ideas and ideology nowhere matches to BJP and PM Modi in any way.
Here we tell you why the Modi – Tagore comparison should be stopped once and for all –
Tagore Was Never in Favour of ‘Politics of Division’
All the iconic works of Rabindra Nath Tagore is a testimony to the fact that his beliefs and philosphies were fundamentally different to those that of BJP. ‘Gitanjali’ – a collection of songs that won Tagore the coveted ‘Nobel Prize’ is written on a theme of devotional love at a time when the world was in turmoil fighting a war – World War I.
Growing up we all have read and even recited the famous ‘Where the Mind is Without Fear’ poem from Gitanjali. The third line reads and I quote as it is, ‘Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls.’ However, this is not something that Modi, a leader of the political party that favours and introduces divisive laws such as NRC, CAA and Love Jihad follows or believes in.
In Another Book ‘Gora’ Tagore is Critical of Religious Fanaticism through his Protagonist Gora
One of the greatest reads of all time, ‘Gora’ by Rabindra Nath Tagore questions not just ‘the identities’ of each of it’s characters but also examines the difference between religion and religious fanaticism. It is a book where ‘Humanism’ triumphs over ‘Fanaticism’ and the shifts that Gora goes through is something that today’s hardcores must go through. (This was also made into a movie in 1938)
Although citing Rabindranath Tagore ahead of the elections in West Bengal would have seen as nothing but a masterstroke by Team BJP (including the PR and IT Cell), they should have at least done some homework on Tagore’s beliefs before attempting to compare Modi by styling a look alike beard.
Stop the Modi – Tagore Comparison and Read Rabindra Nath Tagore’s ‘Nationalism’ & ‘Home And The World’
The present day BJP and it’s very idea of nationalism is something that Tagore was very critical in all his works. In his 1916 novel, ‘The Home and the World’ Nikil, the protagonist who is believed to be Tagore’s alter ego speaks –
“I am willing to serve my country; but my worship I reserve for Right which is far greater than country. To worship my country as a god is to bring curse upon it.”
One of his letters to his friend which was later published as his letters’ collection reads as
“Patriotism cannot be our final spiritual shelter; my refuge is humanity. I will not buy glass for the price of diamonds, and I will never allow patriotism to triumph over humanity as long as I live. ”
In one of his heated debates, Tagore once told Mahatma Gandhi that how there is a thin line between nationalism and xenophobia.
This Comparison of PM Modi With Rabindranath Tagore is Both Naïve and Absurd
Had Rabindranath Tagore been alive today, he would have been standing tall against PM Modi and his party BJP – writing slogans, debating about the divisive laws and even questioning the new definition of nationalism in India. His views, beliefs, ideologies nowhere matches the current views, values and ideologies of the Bharatiya Janta Party, its politicians and it’s supporters. You never knew he would have been called as one amongst the ‘Lutyens’ Lobby’, ‘Tukde Tukde Gang’ or even called out as ‘anti-national’
Going forward, politicians should stop meddling with artists, poets and philosophers belonging to the different intellectual sphere altogether. Because in their attempt to turn match themselves with the greatest philosophical and political icon, they will only bring more wrath than good. And when it comes to Bengal and it’s iconic legends you better be careful, watchful and insightful before-hand.
So now, can we put an end to the Modi – Tagore comparison even if it is an attempt to appease Bengal? Besides, you see a reflection of somebody in someone by their similar ideologies, thinking and workings and not just by a mere maneuvered physical appearance.