Difference Between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore on Nationalism

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Jun 7, 2022, 10:22

Jawaharlal Nehru rightly said, "No two persons could probably differ so much as Gandhi and Tagore. The surprising thing is that both men with so much in common and drawing inspiration from the same wells of wisdom, thought, and culture should greatly differ from each other!"

There is some important Difference Between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore on Nationalism.

Mahatma Gandhi's definition of Nationalism varied from European Nationalism. He saw Nationalism as a broadly inclusive concept where no one should be seen as an enemy.

On the other hand, for Rabindranath Tagore, Nationalism was a concept of Maya or Mirage, and one should not persistently run after it. He only believed in the concept of Nationalism till WW1 in 1914-18.

Who is Mahatmas Gandhi?

  • Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi's full name was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
  • He was an Indian lawyer who led major non-violence resistance and led India's struggle for independence
  • Mahatma Gandhi's birthday on 2nd October is commemorated as Gandhi Jayanti in India, a national holiday

Mahatma Gandhi's Nationalism

  • Gandhi believed that lingua franca (an adopted common language between speakers of the various language) would play a major role in fostering the feeling of Nationalism in the country
  • Gandhi wished to develop an India-centric concept of Nationalism. One which is more rooted in Indian traditions and values rather than being influenced by the west
  • He wanted to build harmony between conflicting binaries like individualism/collectivism and regionalism/nationalism/internationalism
  • He believed it is not the idea of Nationalism that is evil but other things that are associated with it like selfishness, exclusiveness, westernism, etc
  • As he mentioned in his book 'Hind Swaraj' the idea of Nationalism should ideally relate to 'Hind' or 'India'

Who is Rabindranath Tagore?

  • Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali poet, playwright, painter, philosopher, and social reformer
  • He played a big role in reshaping Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th
  • He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1913

Rabindranath Tagore's Nationalism

  • Rabindranath Tagore believed imperialism was an external expression of Nationalism
  • Tagore believed in Nationalism till WW1 in 1914-18. His belief in it started to waiver during the final phase of the Swadeshi Movement when people started associating Nationalism with political extremism
  • He believed the whole movement during that time began to develop as revolutionary terrorism
  • He supported Internationalism and ardently believed that Nationalism could do no good other than destroying harmony and love
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Difference Between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore

Here are the key Differences Between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore on Nationalism -

Mahatma Gandhi

Rabindranath Tagore

Mahatma Gandhi wished to develop a more India-centric approach to Nationalism

Tagore was a believer in Nationalism only till WW1

Mahatma Gandhi wanted to build the concept of Nationalism around conflicting definitions of individualism/collectivism and regionalism/nationalism/internationalism

Tagore was more of a humanist than a nationalist. He believed nationalism evoked political extremism and destroyed peace and harmony

Gandhi supported that lingua Franca (common language between speakers whose native languages are different) will play a crucial role in fostering nationalism

Rabindranath Tagore thought that
contemporary nationalism will
ultimately take a violent form

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FAQs on the Difference Between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore on Nationalism

Q1. What is the Difference Between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore regarding thoughts on Nationalism?

The Difference Between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore regarding thoughts on Nationalism is that Mahatma Gandhi wanted to build the concept of Nationalism around conflicting definitions of individualism/collectivism and regionalism/nationalism/internationalism, whereas Tagore was more of a humanist than a nationalist. He believed Nationalism evoked political extremism and destroyed peace and harmony.

Q2. What is the Key Difference Between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore?

The Key Difference Between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore is that Gandhi supported that lingua Franca will play a crucial role in fostering Nationalism, but on the other hand, Rabindranath Tagore thought that contemporary Nationalism would ultimately take a violent form.

Q3. Why is it important to know the difference between Mahatma Gandhi's and Rabindranath Tagore's thoughts on Nationalism?

It is important to Know the Difference Between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore's thoughts on Nationalism to understand the Indian freedom struggle in depth.

Q4. What is the Difference Between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore based on their occupation?

The Difference Between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore based on their occupation is that Mahatma Gandhi was a lawyer, whereas Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali poet, playwright, painter, philosopher, and social reformer.