Research Affiliate: Dr. Rituparna Chakraborty

Dr. Rituparna Chakraborty is Assistant Professor and Head, Department of English, Swami Vivekananda University. She received her M.Phil. from Rabindra Bharati University and Ph.D. from Raiganj University. Dr. Chakraborty’s research interests include postcolonial studies and gender studies. Currently she is working on ‘Transnationalism in Rabindranath Tagore’.


Dr. Rituparna Chakraborty
Dr. Rituparna Chakraborty

She has been working on many different aspects of Tagore over the years. Her M.Phil dissertation was also specifically centred on Tagore. She has written a number of research papers on Tagore namely“The politics of widowhood in select fictions of Rabindranath Tagore”, “Disnarration andPostcoloniality in select fiction of Rabindranath Tagore”, “Caste, Race, Gender and Religion in select fiction of Rabindranath Tagore”, “Delineation of women in select fiction of RabindranathTagore” , “Rabindranath Tagore : A Poet-Prophet”. She has also published twenty articles in peer-reviewed International journals like International Journal of Sociology and Humanities, International Journal of Humanities and Arts, International Journal of Arts, Humanities and Social Studies and so on. She has edited four books namely Media Culture and Audience : Contemporary Issues and Challenges, Sociological Perspectives on Media, Gender and Cultural Studies, Through the Postcolonial Lens : An Anthology of Critical Essays, Media, Gender and Society : Emerging Trends and Interpretations.

As an Affiliate Research Fellow at the Scottish Centre of Tagore Studies (ScoTs),she is working on a monograph on ‘Transnationalism in Rabindranath Tagore’.


Synopsis of her present work :-

For the aforementioned work, Dr. Chakraborty wishes  to take her work on Tagore further forward and  been she has been planning to work on transnationalism in Tagore.In a lecture on “Nationalism in the West”, Tagore articulated the predicament posed by aggressive Nationalism. He wrote : “The Nation, with all its paraphernalia of power and prosperity, its flags and pious hymns, its blasphemous prayers in the Churches and the literary mock thunders of its patriotic bragging, cannot hide the fact that the Nation is the greatest evil for the Nation, that all its precautions are against it, and any new birth of its fellow in the world is always followed in its mind by the dread of a new peril.” (Tagore, Nationalism ,1917, 51-2). Tagore’s philosophy of universal philanthropy transcends national boundaries. His establishment of Visva – Bharati exemplifies his transnational outlook. He envisioned that this institution will become a seat of learning where ideas from East and West will be synthesized :


“পশ্চিম আজি খুলিয়াছে দ্বার,

সেথা হতে সবে আনে উপহার,

দিবে আর নিবে, মিলাবে মিলিবে

যাবে না ফিরে,

এই ভারতের মহামানবের


“The doors today have opened in the

West, bearing gifts, behold, they arrive

All shall give and take, mingle and be mingled in, none shall depart dejected

From the shore of the sea of Bharata’s Great Humanity!”


Rabindranath Tagore entertained no illusion as to the possibility of the foundation of a Gandhian“Ramrajya” by means of the politics of Nationalism, that, instead advocated the important task of cleansing the society of the malaises of caste prejudices, racial conflicts, the “tyranny of injustice” (Tagore, Nationalism , 1917, 82) and sectarian violence, which always tended to grab power, wealth and to extend territorial domination. Tagore believed that true freedom, that is the freedom of mind and spirit, could be achieved only in a state “where the mind is without fear, where the head is held high…where the world has not been broken up into fragments of narrow

domestic walls.” (Tagore, Gitanjali, 31). He knew that Nationalism inscribed in the imagined past was narcissistic, exclusive and bigoted . So it cannot be relied upon to establish a truly free and independent society of his dreams. It is because of his conviction that Tagore wrote in one of his poems: “…I missed man within enclosures / and found him beyond all frontiers/ that divide Nation from Nation /Land from land.” (cited in Kripalani, 222).


Her work will proceed in four phases:

1. Transnationalism will be examined as the essential cause of the historic debate between Gandhi and Tagore. The ideal of “Ramarajya” is controverted by Tagore’s view of nationalism as an inclusive and universal thesis that sustains human as well as cultural bonding.

2. Letters of Tagore: Tagore’s “Europe Prabashir Patra” ( Letters from an Expatriate in Europe; Letters of a Sojourner in Europe; Letters of a Visitor to Europe; Letters of an Exile in Europe). This epistolary form has been powerfully utilised by Tagore to defend and explain his approach to transnationalism.

3. Tagore also uses the travelogue form in his “Europe Jatrir Diary” ( Part I & II, The Diary of a Traveller in Europe) and devises a new genre of of travel literature that substantiates his view of transnationalism.

4. Select poems (such as ‘Bharat Tirtha’, Indian Pilgrimage ) and novels ( like Ghare Baire and Gora ). This study will consider Tagore’s writing that celebrates the mélange of the multipolar world, irrespective of race, caste, colour and gender.

Dr. Chakraborty looks forward to further explore the Tagore-Scotland relationship in her consideration of Tagore’s links with Scottish thinkers and the broader aspects of his transnationalism. Her research on Tagore’s transnationalism will benefit from the rich Tagore collection of ScoTs, University of Edinburgh’s Special Collections, the Edinburgh University Library’s South Asian Studies Collection and the National Library of Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University. She will be working under the mentorship of Prof. Bashabi Fraser, Director of ScoTs.