ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Different Dissidence

Not many will question even today that the Bengalis were the first to fall in love with the idea of Indian origin an imperial idea that for reasons unknown coincided with inarticulate aspirations in minds which today would be called nationalist.

Not many will question even today that the Bengalis were the first to fall in love with the idea of Indian origin an imperial idea that for reasons unknown coincided with inarticulate aspirations in minds which today would be called nationalist. Marharshi Debendranath Tagore advised his son, Satyendranath Tagore, the first Indian member to be admitted into the Indian Civil Service, to select some part of India for service other than Bengal; this was in 1863 and the Maharshi spelt out the reasons for his advice. He said that the concept of India was yet uncomprehended by the people, that the only way out was for administrators of one part of the country to go to the other parts and get to understand their people and their problems. Father would then see less of his son: but country came first.

Yet, until quite recently, a period not even worth discussing, the Bengali kept himseli apart; the aloofness was sometimes acquiescent but often rebellious. A certain temperamental disharmony held Bengal back from committing itself to the current of Indian progression and swimming with it. According to one writer, none other than Nirad C Chaudhuri, there were instances of this apartness even in the Mughal days.It cannot be shown that any other part of the country identified itself with the allIndia idea more than Bengal did; the recent outbursts of parochialism make that only too clear. But Bengal's separateness was also articulate, not insidious.Dissidence, therefore, wears a different hue in Bengal.

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