Another Asia: Rabindranath Tagore and Okakura Tenshi
“Set against a panoramic background of inter-Asian cultural politics, and drawing on the intersections of the late Meiji period in Japan and the Swadeshi movement in Bengal, Another Asia elaborates on the ideals of Asia catalyzed by the meeting of Rabindranath Tagore and the Japanese art historian and curator Okakura Tenshin in Calcutta in 1902. The book weaves through an intricate tapestry of ideas relating to pan-Asianism, nationalism, cosmopolitanism, and friendship, and positions the early modernist tensions of the period within-and against-the spectre of a unified Asia that concealed considerable political differences. The book draws on pan-Asian works such as The Ideals of the East and The Awakening of the East, in counterpoint to Tagore’s radical Nationalism. The book, offering new insights into the ways in which the Orient travelled within and beyond Asia stimulated by emergent modes of vernacular cosmopolitanism, will appeal to students and scholars of cultural studies, South Asian postcolonial literature, literary theory, and performance studies, as well as general readers.”
Shanay Jhaveri talks about Tagore and Victoria Ocampo’s relationship, his visit to Argentina and the famous chair he took all the way back home. Seated on this chair Tagore read and ‘understood’ Baudelaire’s poetry.
The performance was a re-imagining of some Tagore songs in a universal, trans-national context. The Bengali poetry was refracted through a lens made up of European free improvisation, Western orchestral music and Amharic song.
The ensemble comprised:
Ansuman Biswas – musical direction
Guillaume Viltard – bass
Ian Smith – trumpet
Marlies van Gengelen – oboe
Haymanot Tesfa – voice
Ginwala talks about the translations of The Post Office in Poland. Tagore, however, was never in Poland. The reception of his play is beyond him as figure. The Post Office was read as an anti-Fascist narrative. Janusz Korczak making the play with orphan children from the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw during the second worlds war. Later made into a film by Andrzej Wajda. Implication of death through the script becomes manifest in the film.