Thursday, July 16, 2009
Neti, Neti says Gora in Rabindranath Tagore's book
Just re-read, Gora, a book which gives new insights every time one reads it. Sometimes one relates to it as a romantic novel, sometimes much more than that.
Gora is set in disruptive times when the Bengali society of Kolkata was starkly divided into the traditional orthodox Hindus and the modernized, liberal thinking Brahmos instructed by the Brahmo Samaj. The Hindus followed their practices and ceremonials while the Brahmos were in constant clashes with orthodoxy and vehemently opposed all idol-worships, caste system and so on. The author shows how both the communities were not devoid of their own hypocrisies and contradictions. This story contains a number of characters each of which is unique and strongly individualistic. Through these various characters and their stories, Tagore has raised almost every single concern of the society at that time.
Binoy, Gora`s friend in the story and Paresh babu a mature and high thinking gentleman are important characters and so are Sucharita and Lolita, the young ladies who are educated and articulate with their own point of view in life. The anchor in Gora's life and his friend is Gora's mother, Anandamoyi, a strong, principled and loving person.
Gora, the protagonist is a strong advocate of Hinduism and practices his religion strictly. Due to his attitude, he seems an arrogant, self-asserting, aggressive and violent person who thrusts his opinions unto others. However, Gora at heart is an eternal optimist dreaming about his ideal Bharatvarsha, a prosperous and happy India.
At the end, Neti, Neti, the spiritual law comes to the fore here when Gora seeks to discard notions one after another to finally recognize the truth in his heart.
In sum, this tale is eternal in relevance and appeal to people of all ages. I hope more people read it and perhaps a film too is made with the tale as the script. I, for one, look forward to this.