Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore

Original Title – Ghaire Bhaire (Bengali)    Translated by – Sreejata Guha

I read this way back in January and it has taken me all this time to write something about it. This book enjoys a somewhat cult status in India but I’m afraid it wasn’t my cup of tea.

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Here is the blurb from Goodreads which pretty much sums it up

Set on a Bengali noble’s estate in 1908, this is both a love story and a novel of political awakening. The central character, Bimala, is torn between the duties owed to her husband, Nikhil, and the demands made on her by the radical leader, Sandip. Her attempts to resolve the irreconciliable pressures of the home and world reflect the conflict in India itself, and the tragic outcome foreshadows the unrest that accompanied Partition in 1947.

The only positive in this were the arguments on political ideology and ethics that Sandip and Nikhil have. Many people suggest that the character of Sandip was in fact based on Gandhi and his ideology and that Nikhil could have possibly been based on Tagore himself. These portions are indeed thought-provoking but are sadly only a very small portion of the novel. The major part is the love triangle.

This is where I was majorly irritated with the novel. The style of writing is completely lost on someone like me. It is “poetic something” ( I even forget what its called 😀 ). So we come across Bimala saying things like “he loved my body like a parijata flower from heaven” and “his waves of masculinity crashed against my feet like the ocean”. After all this, nothing happens (if you get what I mean).

Read it only if you like pages and pages of such writing.

My own feelings are summed up below

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