Representing Nation in Imagination: Rabindranath Tagore's TasherDesh and its recent English translation
IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science
Concept of 'nation' whether real, imagined or represented has always been an extremely problematic one drawing numerous social scientists and academicians into debate. Even before our eminent literary theorists like Benedict Anderson and HomiBhava have probed into this problem of defining 'nation' and theorizing it in the literary contexts, there has been great visionaries in India/Bengal who have expressed their inspirational ideas of the 'nation' and its derivative 'nationalism'. One such
... lism'. One such radical visionary and Renaissance man worth mentioning is Rabindranath Tagore.Tagore's works were what he called 'the play of feeling and not of action'. True to the very words, he wrote about a wide range of subjects from social to political and philosophical, his authorship too ranging from children to adults. But in most of his seminal works, either for children or for adults, his concept and imagination of nation is prominent or at least impressive. TasherDesh is one of Tagore's most famous dance operas, a unique genre that he had developed. Inspired by Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland, though TasherDesh sometimes is canonized under children's literature and also as a musical, it imbibes a deeper reading and thinking of the text. TasherDesh, in its text and context definitely stands as a satire on the rigidity of the class systems of the British Raj and India even in the post-modern and post-colonial era. In this paper therefore, we propose to read TasherDesh and its English translation as The Land of Cards by RadhaChakraborty, as a text representing nation in imagination shaping and providing a direction to the emerging perspectives of 'Nation' with special reference to the Indian scenario.