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Tagore: Unlocking Cages

Sunil Khilnani tells the story of the Bengali writer and thinker Rabindranath Tagore, India's first Nobel Prize winner.

Sunil Khilnani tells the story of the Bengali writer and thinker Rabindranath Tagore.

Born in 1861 To a prosperous Bengal family, Rabindranath Tagore went on to win India's first Nobel Prize, for literature, in 1913.

While India has often been framed in terms of competing groups - whether traditional institutions like caste, religion, and patriarchal families, or imperial subjecthood, or contemporary mass movements for nationalism - Tagore cut through these collectivities and tried to create a space for individual choice that stood apart from imposed groupings.

In a nationalist age when many of his contemporaries were preoccupied with independence, Rabindranath Tagore preferred to speak of freedom.

But he wasn't a radical individualist, his conception of freedom was related to expressivity, connection, and that deepest of human experience: love. Becoming who you are, he recognised, is not something you do on your own.

Featuring Professor Supriya Chaudhuri.

Readings by Sheenu Das.

Producer: Martin Williams
Executive Producer: Martin Smith
Original music composed by Talvin Singh.

Available now

15 minutes


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