Discuss the issues of the Indian Freedom Movement and Swadeshi movement with reference to The Home and the World.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Tagore is trying to bring out an idea regarding the convergence of the political and personal.  Tagore uses the Indian Independence Movement, specifically the Swadeshi movement, to illuminate how some can seize political instances in time for their own benefit.  Tagore is seeking to explore how some narratives that detail a political ascendancy to power might be motivated more for one's own sense of being in the world as opposed to something larger.  Certainly, Sandip would meet this characteristic.  Tagore uses Sandip as an example of how charismatic leaders might have their own self interest in mind as opposed to something broader and larger.  Bimala is taken in by his own charisma and charm and fails to understand how he is manipulating her and the movement for his own benefit.  At the same time, Tagore constructs the narrative so that the real agent of change, her husband, is left to do his work without much in way of public adulation.  It is here where Bimala understands too late how Nikhil is more worthy of her attention and praise than Sandip ever could have been.  Within this, Tagore is discussing the Independence movement and the Swadeshi movement.  He discusses them because they serve as the backdrop for the larger issue at hand which is how the political and personal can both converge and collapse upon one another.  I think that this is where the primary point of the novel is being made.  This can be applicable to any social or political struggle, something that Tagore makes clear in his characterizations.  Tagore makes it evident that political issues reside in the basic human desire for power and whether to expand that power in line with political reality or for personal gain becomes one of the most critical issues that individuals in the modern setting must make.  It is also one of the most critical issues that Tagore feels that individuals must use to judge others in the role of political advocacy.


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