Many of Rabindranath Tagore's statements were against the "cult of nationalism" and if it was possible to put someone behind the bars "posthumously" he would have landed there too, JNU professor Ranabir Chakravarti said on February 29.
Chakravarti addressed students during a lecture series on nationalism at varsity's administration block on Monday, which is the venue for the student agitation against imposition of sedition charges on JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, former DSU members Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, for an event against the hanging of Afzal Guru where "anti-national" slogans were raised.
"If you could put someone behind bars posthumously - the way you can award a Bharat Ratna - Rabindranath Tagore, composer of the song that became the national anthem, would have been there. Many of his statements are against the cult of nationalism," the professor at JNU's Centre for Historical Studies said.
"But Tagore was 'deeply ambivalent' about nationalism - if it meant fighting the colonial oppression, he was for it but opposed in a 'sustained manner' the nationalism that spelt parochialism, patriotism that's directed at hating others, belittling others," Chakravarti said. "For him, swadesh was not my country, right or wrong but my homeland."
(Courtesy of PTI.)