Rabindranath Tagore and the Bauls: Representation and Performance of Bauls as Socio-political Actors
Film and Theatre
Indian Theatre Journal
This article reveals the relationship between Rabindranath Tagore and the Bauls against the backdrop of the politics of nationalism between the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century in Bengal. Tagore’s works – including novels (Gora and Ghare Baire), plays (Phalguni), and songs composed between 1900 and 1920 – are thoroughly influenced by the ideologies of Bauls, whose liminal identities (of being in the world and yet outside of it) play a significant part in the formation of his political, philosophical and spiritual identity. Tagore’s subsequent popularity amongst the middle-class bourgeois Bengalis, in turn, shapes the representation of Bauls more as political rather than merely spiritual, musical or cultural performers of Bengal. From a marginal and ‘shameful’ social positionality, Tagore’s portrayal of Bauls transforms them into political figures and agents of self-reflection, reform and covert resistance to hegemonic powers of control and domination through their world view, performance and lifestyle.
anti-imperialism, Bauls, covert resistance, home-sentiment, politics of liminality, politics of nationalism
Sukanya Chakrabarti. "Rabindranath Tagore and the Bauls: Representation and Performance of Bauls as Socio-political Actors" Indian Theatre Journal (2017): 67-81. https://doi.org/10.1386/itj.1.1.67_1