What is the central idea in the story Lost Jewels by Rabindranath Tagore?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Rabindranath Tagore's short story Lost Jewels, Tagore allows the reader to consider the endless possible outcomes to his story and the message or central idea and theme that he imparts. The central idea is considered in the title and reveals the context of the poem. The central idea is a more direct interpretation than the theme which helps the reader understand the broader or universal appeal of the story. 

Although the issue of Bhusan's lies about his true identity indicates that there is more to the story than meets the eye, the central idea revolves around Bhusan's dilemma and how devastated he is that his wife never returns to him. He has to listen to the schoolmaster tell him his own story, making it all the more painful and revealing his flaws. The greed of his wife and his own "passivity" both contribute to the central idea. The couple's inability to communicate is complicated by their lack of understanding of each other and the fact that neither is interested in gaining something more precious than any jewels (his wife) or shallow need to please (himself). Ironically, it is the very jewels that Bhusan buys his wife to show his love for her that ultimately cause their rift. His wife's greed and expectations overwhelm them both to the point that she does not recognize his needs, or even care, and he has contributed to her attitude by excluding her to the point that she feels no obligation to help him recover from his business difficulties. 

The story serves as a warning that relationships require mutual respect otherwise there can be no growth. This couple do not learn from their mistakes and it is too late for Bhusan to make any changes. He anticipates his wife's return but it is unlikely that he would have done anything differently. Only after the dreams does he begin to understand his own contribution to the problem, even though the school master does suggest that their relationship had no foundation and so was doomed to failure. Whereas the theme is love, greed and the universal problems associated with these issues, the central idea of this story is how Bhusan and his wife's lack of communication and respect manifests itself in her greed and his regret.