Imagining "One World": Rabindranath Tagore's Critique of Nationalism

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In a poem entitled, “The Sunset of the Century,” written on the last day of the nineteenth century, India’s messianic poet and Asia’s first Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941), launched a fierce diatribe on nationalism. In a mood of outrage and disenchantment, tempered with intermittent hope, he wrote:
The last sun of the century sets amidst the blood-red clouds of the West and the whirlwind of hatred.
The naked passion of the self-love of Nations, in its drunken delirium of greed, is dancing to the clash of steel and howling verses of vengeance.
The hungry self of the Nation shall burst in a violence of fury from its shameless feeding.
For it has made the world its food.
And licking it, crunching it and swallowing it in big morsels, It swells and swells
Till in the midst of its unholy feast descends the sudden shaft of heaven piercing its heart of grossness.
(Nationalism 80)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTagore, Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism
Subtitle of host publicationPerceptions, Contestations and Contemporary Relevance
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781000042368, 9780429285110
ISBN (Print)9780367218720
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Tagore, Rabindranath,-1861-1941
  • Rabindranath Tagore
  • Criticism and interpretation.
  • ideas on nationalism
  • rhetoric of cosmopolitanism
  • inclusivist ideology


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