Discuss the concept of meeting and partings in "The Postmaster" by Rabindranath Tagore.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tagore is able to clearly distinguish that there is much more emotional complexity and depth to the partings between people than the meeting between them.  The Postmaster and Ratan meet in a sort of accidental way.  Both of them are situated in the village with no family.  The Postmaster experiences his because of his being relocated to the village, while Ratan's natural condition as an orphan is one where she is naturally isolated.  Tagore simply introduces their meeting as one where he cooks for himself because of his "meagre" salary and Ratan took care of the housework in return for "a little food."  Their meeting is slightly random but also deliberate in that they are both alone.  Their partings is much more designed, and reflective of the inarticulate sadness that exists in human beings.  He requests to leave the village and she wishes to go with him, something that the Postmaster denies quite flatly.  In this, Tagore is indicating that there is a human tendency to not honor the accidental meetings that take place in the partings of human beings.  The meetings that happen to emerge between individuals help to benefit individuals, or pass the time in certain contexts.  Yet, when the opportunity presents itself to continue these meetings when parting presents itself, individuals do not honor these moments.  Rather, they simply move on to a situation that benefits them.  Certainly, this is true with the postmaster, who gives Ratan a slight thought after their parting, but undercuts it with an existential rationalization that such partings are reflective of the word, as "there are many separations."  Ratan, the ultimate in heroines, only is able to live with the consequence of this parting, a situation where she only feels pain and "the snare of delusion" that the postmaster will return.  It is here where Tagore is able to depict the capcity for both cruelty and honor that exists in human beings.