- Pages:220 pages
- Format: Flexibound
- Author: Rabindranath Tagore
- Translator: Somdatta Mandal
- Publishing Date:December,2017
- Publisher: Niyogi Books
Rabindranath Tagore- a man who will forever rule every Bengali’s heart. There are no emotions, themes or moments left in this world which he didn’t include in his compositions. He singlehandedly reshaped Bengali art & literature with his revolutionized philosophies and became the face of Bengal Renaissance. Even after seventy seven years of his demise, most Bengali girls still consider him as their soulmate. Obviously it is rather presumptuous for a Probashi Bangali (Bengali brought up out of Bengal) like me to analyse his work. Instead, let me just introduce this book to you by sharing what I read.
Gleanings of the Road is the translated edition of Tagore’s non-fiction Bengali book ‘Pother Sonchoy’. It is a collection of his travelogues. He was an avid traveler and while traveling he used to write lots of letters to his friends and family members. He also wrote many travel journals for various literary magazines. This book is basically a compilation of many of those letters, write-ups and essays which he wrote while traveling throughout the world.
I am a huge fan of Tagore’s prose & poetry. But this is the first time I read one of his translated non-fiction book. Truly speaking, I think it’s one of the best lens through which we can observe this polymath’s unique brain. This book provides an insight into Tagore’s perception of different facets of western life and the diverse philosophical issues that cross his mind as he journeys from one continent to another. We realize how he gradually evolves as a traveler. His perception transforms quite a lot throughout the book.
It is obvious that a man with his unparalleled observation skills always evaluated every situation from a unique perspective. For example, most Indian scholars from his generation used to condemn European culture and society. Whereas in this book, Tagore pointed out the positive side of European people with some very unusual examples. It was a bold step considering that Indians used to detest British society in preindependence era.
Tagore was a great advocate of unbiased worldview. For him traveling was a way to broaden his horizon. He was a firm believer of the fact that one shouldn’t travel just to fulfill a purpose. In the introductory chapter, he criticized Indian’s narrow view of traveling. He pointed out how we are oblivious to the charms of globe trotting because we are shackled by many superstitions. His love for traveling is evident throughout the book.
Somdatta Mandal has done a fantastic job of translating this book. It is not easy to translate Kaviguru’s letters. One has to keep in mind the charm and elegance of his writing style without which the words hold no meaning. I would definitely recommend this book to all those readers who can’t read Bengali and yet want to read Kaviguru’s works.
Thank you Niyogi Books for providing me the opportunity to review this book.