Chapter

The Concept of Civilization

Sabyasachi Bhattacharya

in TALKING BACK

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780198075042
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080816 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198075042.003.0003
The Concept of Civilization

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This chapter examines Rabindranath Tagore’s view of Indian civilization which later formed the basis of a full-fledged nationalist paradigm: the ‘syncretic’ civilization. Tagore argued that India’s aim through the ages has been ‘to establish unity amidst diversity’, without eliminating the uniqueness of each element, while Western civilization has been characterized by self-aggrandizement and suppression of diversity by state power. While Tagore’s idea of India’s ‘syncretic civilization’ was incorporated in the nationalist ideology, he moved increasingly towards a highly critical stance in respect of nationalism inspired by Western ideas and history.

Keywords: Rabindranath Tagore; syncretic civilization; ‘The History of Bharatvarsha’; Indian nationalism; Western civilization

Chapter.  6568 words. 

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