13th March 2015: The Home and the World; The Travelogues of Rabindranath Tagore by Prof Amrit Sen

This paper seeks to look at Tagore’s theorisation of travel in the context of the emergence of his ides of cosmopolitanism. Tagore’s first travelogue Europe Prabasir Patra (1878) works within the conventions of the contemporary travelogue, marked by a keen sense of difference and a satirical interrogation of the possibility of cultural interaction.

Professor Amrit Sen

Tagore’ subsequent references to this text reveal an acute sense of embarrassment as he moved to the notion of travel as tirtha (pilgrimage) in his essay Jatrar Purbapatro. In his subsequent travelogues, the term tirtha recurs as a motif.


How did Tagore offer an alternative framework for tirtha? How did these ideas overlap with his ideas of cosmopolitanism? This paper seeks to raise these issues to explore possible alternative frameworks of postcolonial travel writing.


Professor Amrit Sen is Professor of English at Visva-Bharati (Tagore’s University) and a visiting scholar on the UKIERI Knowledge Exchange project, which is a research collaboration between ScoTs and Visva-Bharati.


13 March 2015, 2.30-4.30 pm, Edinburgh Napier University