Tagorean Principles: Act Locally, Support Arts, Love Nature

I’ve had a lot of time out recently due to problems with my eyes. I’ve been putting bits and pieces on facebook but neglecting my blog – since March 10th – not as long as I thought…

Many of those ‘bits and pieces’ I put on facebook came from newspapers: The Guardian or The Independent, or from New Scientist. Others were from emails, often posted automatically from discussions I’ve joined. It’s been a very diverse collection because I’m interested in many aspects of the challenges we face in the world today: the ecological and social crises, and the potential solutions, especially Permaculture, Transition and Tagore.

It is hard to get across to people the relevance of Tagore to these challenges, but three items from the papers on 18th and 19th May 2015 are linked to Tagorean Principles: Act Locally, Support Arts, Love Nature.

On the front of The Guardian today (19th May) was on and IMF report headed: ‘Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute’ http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/18/fossil-fuel-companies-getting-10m-a-minute-in-subsidies-says-imf

The sentiment of the remedy is Tagorean:

“By acting local, and in their own best interest, [nations] can contribute significantly to the solution of a global challenge,” said Gaspar (Vitor Gaspar, the IMF’s head of fiscal affairs). “The path forward is clear: act local, solve global.”

However, Tagore favoured going much more local than the nation.

‘I am not against one nation in particular, but against the general idea of all nations.’ (‘Nationalism in India’, 1917) (https://www.facebook.com/ScottishCentreofTagoreStudies)

It was Tagore’s belief that in local communities we can find ways of meeting local needs from local resources, and bringing that principle forward to today, that would mean we could stop relying on fossil fuels.

In the same paper there was an article by Polly Toynbee entitled: ‘End this assault on the arts, or our national life will suffer’. (http://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-guardian/20150519/282132110026805/TextView )Toynbee writes: ‘Gove’s legacy is Gradgrind education, where arts teaching is stripped out in favour of fact-based subjects such as science, technology, economics and maths: imagination replaced by coding.’ Tagore would recognise that model which he deplored. Later Toynbee writes: ‘Research shows how the arts improve attainment in all subjects: drama improves literacy, music improves maths and early language.’

Yesterday (18th May) in The Independent (actually in the concise version called ‘i’) there was an article which moved and horrified me: ‘March of the Penguins director to close Cannes with climate change film Ice and the Sky’ http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/march-of-the-penguins-director-to-close-cannes-with-climate-change-film-ice-in-the-sky-10256805.html

The director Luc Jacquet is hoping to use his screening of March of the Penguins at the Cannes Film Festival to draw attention to the devastating consequences of climate change. My granddaughter loves that film and she is passionate about penguins. She asked me to make for her birthday a duffel coat for her toy Emperor penguin chick. It seems a raincoat would have been better. Due to global warming, it is now raining in the Antarctic and the penguin chicks are dying of cold. So we have the third Tagorean principle ‘Love Nature’ – which of course is connected to Act Locally and Support Arts. For Tagore, everything is connected in a Creative Unity – or should be…


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2 Responses to Tagorean Principles: Act Locally, Support Arts, Love Nature

  1. I guess you have probably heard the recent ‘In Our Time’ on Tagore, which is still available to listen to. If not here is the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05sxv7b

  2. Yes I listened to that ‘In Our Time’. I thought Bashabi Fraser did well summarising Tagore’s work in education and rural reconstruction, but the programme ran out of time. There was too much material on his background and well known bits of life story. As Imtiaz Ahmed has said, Tagore has been too much introduced. If he were well known that could just be touched on and more time given to why his ideas and practice matter to us today.

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