Category Archives: Text

Last Passage of Rabindranath Tagore’s Speech at Berlin’s Friedrich Wilhelm University

[PDF] Last Passage of Rabindranath Tagore’s Speech at Berlin’s Friedrich Wilhelm University (Today’s Humboldt University), on 1st June 1921.

Transcript from the recording of the speech. Used by Rustom Bharucha in his lecture at Iniva, June 2014.

“India holds sacred and counts as places of pilgrimage, all spots which display a special beauty or splendour of nature. The Himālayas of India are sacred and the Vindhya hills. Her majestic rivers are sacred. Lake Mānasa and the confluence of the Ganges and the Yamunā are sacred. India has saturated with her voice and worship the great nature with which her children are surrounded, whose light fills their eyes with gladness, and whose water cleanses them, whose food gives them life, and from whose majestic mystery comes forth constant declaration of the infinite in music, scent, and colour, bringing awakening to their souls. India gains the world through worship, through communion of soul. (…)”

Tagore, Pedagogy and Contemporary Visual Cultures a Collective Bibliography

[PDF] Tagore, Pedagogy and Contemporary Visual Cultures a Collective Bibliography

The Sexologist and the Poet: On Magnus Hirschfeld, Rabindranath Tagore, and the Critique of Sexual Binarity

[PDF] The Sexologist and the Poet: On Magnus Hirschfeld, Rabindranath Tagore, and the Critique of Sexual Binarity by J. Edgar Bauer.

‘Between 1930 and 1932, German-Jewish sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) undertook a world journey that he eventually reported in Die Weltreise eines Sexualforschers (1933), arguably the first non-Eurocentric, anti-colonialist critique of Asian cultures from a sexological perspective. Saluted as “the modern Vatsyayana of the West,” Hirschfeld met during his stay in India personalities such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Jagadish Chandra Bose, and Radindranath Tagore, whom he visited at his family residence in Calcutta. Against the backdrop of Hirschfeld’s “doctrine of sexual intermediaries” and his general postulate that truly creative artists have mostly “united in themselves both sexes in especially pronounced form,” the study analyzes and assesses his reference to Tagore’s femininity. While acknowledging the correspondences between the sexologist’s universalization of sexual intermediariness and the poet’s premise that “[t]he Creator must be conscious of both the male and female principles without which there can be no Creation,” the elaborations focus on their divergent conceptualizations of sexual difference, womanhood, and the erotic life.’

Tagore in conversation with Einstein

This conversation was the element of departure for Ansuman Biswas performance in Berlin.
Rabindranath Tagore met Albert Einstein on July 14, 1930, in his home in Kaputh, on the outskirts of Berlin.

Excerpt from Conversations And Interviews, by Rabindranath Tagore, Rupa 2006.

EINSTEIN: Do you believe in the Divine as isolated from the world?

TAGORE: Not isolated. The infinite personality of Man comprehends the Universe. There cannot be anything that cannot be subsumed by the human personality, and this proves that the Truth of the Universe is human Truth.

I have taken a scientific fact to explain this — Matter is composed of protons and electrons, with gaps between them; but matter may seem to be solid. Similarly humanity is composed of individuals, yet they have their interconnection of human relationship, which gives living unity to man’s world. The entire universe is linked up with us in a similar manner, it is a human universe. I have pursued this thought through art, literature and the religious consciousness of man.

EINSTEIN: There are two different conceptions about the nature of the universe: (1) The world as a unity dependent on humanity. (2) The world as a reality independent of the human factor.

TAGORE: When our universe is in harmony with Man, the eternal, we know it as Truth, we feel it as beauty.

EINSTEIN: This is the purely human conception of the universe.

TAGORE: There can be no other conception. This world is a human world — the scientific view of it is also that of the scientific man. There is some standard of reason and enjoyment which gives it Truth, the standard of the Eternal Man whose experiences are through our experiences.

EINSTEIN: This is a realization of the human entity.

TAGORE: Yes, one eternal entity. We have to realize it through our emotions and activities. We realized the Supreme Man who has no individual limitations through our limitations. Science is concerned with that which is not confined to individuals; it is the impersonal human world of Truths. Religion realizes these Truths and links them up with our deeper needs; our individual consciousness of Truth gains universal significance. Religion applies values to Truth, and we know this Truth as good through our own harmony with it.

EINSTEIN: Truth, then, or Beauty is not independent of Man?


EINSTEIN: If there would be no human beings any more, the Apollo of Belvedere would no longer be beautiful.


EINSTEIN: I agree with regard to this conception of Beauty, but not with regard to Truth.

TAGORE: Why not? Truth is realized through man.

Ansuman Biswas and Magda Meyer

Ansuman Biswas and Magda Meyer, NGBK, Berlin