“(অন-)অর্থনীতিবিদ রবীন্দ্রনাথ” [City and Village” & “(Non-) Economist Rabindranath Tagore]”

দেবপ্রসাদ বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়

Indian Statistical Institute

January 4, 2011

“City and Village” & “(Non-) Economist Rabindranath Tagore”, Sengupta, Arnab ed. Akkha(r)jatra. IX:11. (pp.7-46) Belghoria, Kolkata Reprinted in 2011. Barun Kumar Chakroborty ed. Anna Rabindranath, Nana Rabindranath. (pp.336-360), Kolkata: Pustak Bipani. ISBN 81-85471-106-1 

The author of this paper, written in Bangla, tried to establish Rabindranath Tagore as a non-mainstream non-convetional economist/fiscal auditor on the basis of Tagore’s different texts, viz. novels, verses, songs, plays and essyas. The author emphasized on the following points:
a) Tagore thought that he was a parasite as he was not capable of doing necessary labor and he was depending on surplus labor of the other.
b) According to Tagore, city is also a parasite as it is sucking the blood of the villages.
c) Tagore reinterpreted the concept of necessary labor by introducing a new category: voluntary labor with pleasure/toiling with full of joissance and of course without alienation.
d) He condemned the extraction of others’ labor-time/ surplus labor and critrisized usaries .
e) He had given the different semantics of private property, which was not merely property in the material sense of the term, but it is a possesion of creative mind.
f) Tagore interpreted money-sign as /taka-rupakO/ “money-simile”, by means of which unequals have become equals by some necessary and sufficient conditions. In the “rupaka” figure of speech the identitity and difference between the object compared and comparable are blurred.
g) The “body-politic” of democracy is the joy-ride of the super-rich. Here “opinions are manufactured” (1924). Tagore anticipated the concept of dollar-vote andentered into the domain of political economy.
h) Tagore introduced a novel concept of surplus freedom provided by the cessation of activities (karmavirati) / leisure (udbritto ObokaS) that could be executed if and only if the voluntary labor with pleasure might be performed.
i) He introduced ecology as a variable as a part of his economics. This is one of the unprecedented contributions of Tagore. He was against the extraction of wealth of earth by the violent anthropogenic intervention.
j) He emphasized on the passion of greed as a part of his epistemology. It can be reinterpreted in psychoanalytic terms.
k) Tagore introduced “samavaya” (Co-operative) through the activities of a society called “SriniketanO”, though the semantics of this term is totally different. The author of this paper explained the difference between the detachable (samjoga) and non-detachable (samavaya)relations. As for example, suppose that we are connected by some non-eco-friendly electronic gadgets like CPU, satellites etc. , i.e. we are connected in the web—we have some definite relations. These relations can easily be disconnected according to our whims or by some catastrophic situation. However, may you detach the quivering and leaves when you are perceiving quivering leaves? This is another type of non-detachable relation, which is de-sign-ated as “samavaya”. The small-big i and I non-detachable relationship/communication without any instruments is something different from the anti-green techno-centric communication network between you and me.
[This paper is introduced with a Bangla translation (by Arnab Sengupta) of a lecture (“City and Village”, 1924) by Tagore. The controversy over the dates of the lecture and its different versions is resolved by the author of this paper]


Note: Downloadable document is in Bangla.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 41

Keywords: voluntary labor with pleasure/toiling with full of joissance without alienation, money-simile, body-politic,passion of greed, ecology, surplus leisure, samavaya


About Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay

Debaprasad Bandyopdhyay (b. 1965), through his 25 years journey in the realm of institutionalized academics did 27 different types of works, which are someway different from the earlier paradigms or, one might say that those works are not only mere reproductions of his inherited institutionalized cultural capital or a mimicry of a colonially imposed model that leads to intellectual anorexia or rather a type falsification of earlier paradigms. However, that might be not only a lofty claim but it also hid the fact that all our information and knowledge are socially accumulated knowledge that was, it is matter of regret, posed as private property through the sign © and the wisdom is rarely available. Bandyopadhyay’s works and projects are the products of his social milieu. Bandyopadhyay is a local sub-altern public sphere academician, who avoids the technical intelligentsia (followers of Sahib’s models and they are not committed to the persons who are accommodating surplus work-time to them by performing surplus labour) or inorganic intellectuals and thus fails to be a part of academic tribe and its subsequent socialization process. Of course, that socialization process does not lead to legendary Socratic dialogue. He is also a political activist though he has not affiliated to any political parties as he was always talking about the corporatization of political parties within the money-sign-based democratic system. He is a regular participant in TV and radio talk-shows and documentary films, street-corners’ talks and International seminars on socio-political, psychological, linguistic, environmental and economic issues. He also writes editorial columns in newspapers. He is also a part of parallel academics as it is found in West Bengal’s Little Magazine Movement, though that was not counted as the part his academic pursuit by his parent institute. His parent institute justifiably does not believe in the domain of parallel academics as this unorganized sector does not directly contribute in the transactions of formal/organized print capitalist eco-enemy paper-publication. Though the dissemination of knowledge is also observed in this space of these parallel academics as all these writings in public sphere simultaneously influence the classroom-discourse and some of them are translated into English, French and Italian. Not only that, Bandyopadhyay also sought engagement with the people, who, by supplying their surplus labour, are sustaining his livelihood. Bandyopadhyay, a linguist by training and a Ph.D.-holder (1996), a junior lecturer (1999-2011) in an autonomous central government institute in India, tries his best for those from he has received and is receiving the manifestation of surplus labour by executing some self-funded projects on economic issues in West Bengal, India. Recently he has got a consolation promotion to the post of Assistant Professor. He has done following 27 research works: 1. Crippled Creativity: An inquiry into language, psyche, society: 2. VALENCY OF BANGLA VERB AND PROBLEM OF COMPOUND VERBS: 3. Archaeology of Bangla Grammar : 4. CAN COMPUTER SPEAK? 5. FUZZY LOGICAL EXPRESSION IN BANGLA : 6. FOLKLORE AND FOLK-LANGUAGE: MYTH OR REALITY? 7. HISTORICISM IN THE DISCOURSE OF BANGLA LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 8. ABHABA, ECP, DELETION AND TRACE 9. SVATVA OR MY-NESS AND ECONOMIC ENTITLEMEMT 10. TRANSLATION STUDIES 11. MASCULINITY STUDIES 12. YAYATI & BABAR COMPLEX 13. SOCIO-ECONOMIC SURVEYS IN AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRY IN WEST BENGAL 14. CONCEPT OF BODY IN INDIAN PHILOSOPHY AND ARCHITECTURE 15. THE CONCEPT OF ERROR (KHYATI) IN MAD-(WO)MEN’S LANGUAGE 16. THE CONCEPT OF PERCEPTUAL TIME AND GRAMMATICAL TIME IN BANGLA 17. BANGLA CALLIGRAPHY, LANGUAGE ART AND LINGUISTIC PEDAGOGY 18. WO(L)D SPACES: NON-EXISTENCE OF WORDS 19. ANEKANTA METHODS 20. SILENCEME: SILENT OTHER IN LINGUISTICS 21. IMAGINED BOUDARIES AND PRE-COLONIAL INDIAN IMAGI-NATION 22. MAKING OF THE INDIAN PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE 23. SEGMENTING THE SUPRASEGMENTALS : MUSICKING IN SPEAKING 24. INTERPRETING GENETIC STRUCTURE BY DEPLOYING LINGUISTIC STRUCTURE 25. GLOTTOPOLITICS OF LINGUISTIC SUBALTERNITY OR AN AGENDA FOR PLANNING FROM BELOW 26. SEMIOTICS OF PHOTOGRAPHY 27. SOCIOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY ACADEMICS
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