Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tagore, City and Village

Tanushree, this passage I read today made me think about the question you posed, and which we periodically discussed: "What does a prosperous village look like?"

Can we have people thriving in a modern agricultural context, able to cultivate the land and live in solid, comfortable homes? With access to economic opportunity, supportive family ties and healthy psychologies? Enough mobility, while feeling rooted, with a sense of place? That kind of stable, yet worldy and connected, community would be an important salve for the anomie of urbanized life. It provides an alternative approach to what we currently see as the model of "development."

From a book review:
"Tagore was drawn to the agrarian milieu of pre-capitalist India, to the villages where divinely ordained dispensation had a spiritual context. Urbanizing, modernizing India is fleeing from Tagore’s ideal, a circumstance Mishra has examined to beautiful effect in 'Butter Chicken in Ludhiana' (1995) and 'Temptations of the West' (2006), non-fiction books covering the contemporary Indian and Asian scene. Tagore’s radiant words enshrine a wisdom against which India’s geopolitical ascendancy can be measured."
So perhaps we can add to the list of the characteristics of a prosperous village a reverence for the natural world and a relationship to the divine.

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