The Idea of Surplus
Tagore and Contemporary Human Sciences
This book provides an analytical understanding of some of Tagore’s most contested and celebrated works and ideas. It reflects on his critique of nationalism, aesthetic worldview, and the idea of ‘surplus in man’ underlying his life and works. It discusses the creative notion of surplus that stands not for ‘profit’ or ‘value’, but for celebrating human beings’ continuous quest for reaching out beyond one’s limits. It highlights, among other themes, how the idea of being ‘Indian’ involves stages of evolution through a complex matrix of ideals, values and actions—cultural, historical, literary and ideological. Examining the notion of the ‘universal’, contemporary scholars come together in this volume to show how ‘surplus in man’ is generated over the life of concrete particulars through creativity. The work brings forth a social scientific account of Tagore’s thoughts and critically reconstructs many of his epochal ideas.
Lucid in analysis and bolstered with historical reflection, this book will be a major intervention in understanding Tagore’s works and its relevance for the contemporary human and social sciences. It will interest scholars and researchers of philosophy, literature and cultural studies.
Table of Contents
Prologue Introduction 1. On the Interface between Philosophical Anthropology and Social Science: A Perspective from Tagore 2. Unexamined Lives: Rabindranath’s Critique of Education in Guru and Totakahini 3. Liberal Arts Education and Tagore 4.Tagore and the Problem of Evil 5. Aami Kaobi: An Enquiry into the Poets in Tagore’s Fiction and their Relation with Nationalist Culture 6. Tagore’s Ideas on Nationalism: A Contemporary Perspective 7. Tagore and Gandhi: On Matters of Truth and Untruth 8. Rabindranath Tagore: Dance, Music, Spirituality and Science 9. Rabindranath’s Oeuvre and Dialogues with Ecology and Culture 10. Artistic Creativity: Tagore and the Tribesmen 11. Rabindranath Tagore and Androgyny 12. Self in Tagore’s Notion of History: A Project of Liberation? 13. Ecocentric thoughts in the writings of Rabindranath Tagore: An illustrative study
Mrinal Miri is a Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR), New Delhi, India.