Difference between Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore on Nationalism & Their Similarities


As widely accepted, Nationalism, as Wikipedia defines is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation (as in a group of people), especially to gain and maintain the nation’s sovereignty (self-governance) over its homeland.

The modes or approaches of contemplating Nationalism may vary from one person to another, one community to another and one nation to another. An exciting variation is found in the ideologies of Gandhi and Tagore on Nationalism.

You can also find differences between articles on various topics that you need to know. Just tap on the quick link available and get to know the basic differences between them.

What is the difference between Gandhi and Tagore on Nationalism?

About Mahatma Gandhi

The definition of Nationalism of Gandhiji differed from the European Nationalism concept post-Westphalian peace treaties. According to him, Nationalism was a wide concept that was inclusive, considering nobody as an enemy.

He believed that the nation was not above people, so people should not sacrifice themselves for the nation, rather than practice common brotherhood and other social friendliness to live happily together and improve their lifestyles. It was not based on imperialist ideals. He believed that the nation should rather serve the people.

About Rabindranath Tagore

The great of poet of all times, Rabindranath Tagore, in his writing “Modern Review” titled The Cult of the Charkha, has strongly repudiated the Nationalism’s ideologies Gandhiji during the Non-Cooperation Movement. According to him, nationalism was a concept of Maya or mirage. We should not relentlessly run after it.

We should rather practise spiritualism. He never considered Swaraj as our objective. He believed that a nation which takes an isolated view of one’s own country cannot have a harmonious living with the modern aged countries and will lag. He termed Gandhi’s concept of nationalism as pugnacious.

Difference between Gandhi and Tagore on Nationalism

Parameters Mahatma Gandhi Rabindranath Tagore
Nationalism on the context of own nation or Western Nations He believed in a Nationalism that was grounded to the Indian based tradition and culture. The Nationalism should tend more towards the Indian philosophies, instead of being influenced by the Western Countries. He believed in nationalism till World War 1 in 1914-18.
Nationalism on humanitarian skils He was a staunch advocate of truth and non-violence. He believed that the freedom fighter’s steps to promote nationalism were very violent; thus, killing humanity should not be accepted. He believed it as a way to accumulate money and property of their countries by depleting the humanity.
Nationalism whether an inclusive or exclusive concept He believed that there should be a common language (lingua franca) that would unite India’s diverse people in their languages. He believed that contemporary nationalism could not do more good, rather harm and destroy civilization, hence improving the concept.
Whether Nationalism should favour internationalism It was based on self-sufficiency at every level. His ideology of Nationalism was based on social love and affection among people. Also, he believed in internationalism.
Ideology about Nationalism and want of it In the “Hind Swaraj” book, he repudiated both extremists or moderates’ kinds of freedom fighters. Because according to him, none of their ideologies could foster nationalism. Tagore said that Nationalism was just a way to appropriate wealth and territory, violating humanity’s basic ideals.

Similarities between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore

  • Feelings of nationalism drove both Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.
  • Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore had different ways of dealing with their oppressors, but, they were united by aim and Ideologies.
  • Gandhi fought with the British with non-violence and started the Civil Disobedience Movement and other movements to show that Indian commended this oppression. Meanwhile, Tagore took to literature and propagated nationalist Ideas to young minds. He also surrendered his Knighthood in the act of support the Indian freedom struggle.

FAQs on Difference between Gandhi and Tagore on Nationalism

Were their encounters of Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore during freedom struggles?

There were many encounters of Gandhi and Tagore, but, the most prominent and well-remembered is the meeting of Shantiniketan in 1915. A close associate of Gandhi named Kaka Kalelkar actually made it possible for these great men to meet. It was their first meeting, and it brewed miracles—beautiful ideas culminated in both minds after this interaction.

Both Tagore and Gandhi are known for being calm and composed. Did they lose their cool at any time?

Both Gandhi and Tagore were true examples of saintly people. There have been no records of losing their cool in any situation after knowing what they are doing. Tagore was quite introverted yet knew how to influence young minds with the thought of peace. Gandhi was more socially inclined and believed in the power of unity. Their peace and calm have made India what it is today.

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