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Life Arts    H4'ed 9/21/20

The Caged Bird and the Free Bird- Rabindranath Tagore's Lyrical Ballad on Freedom and Confinement

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Beyond the ballad's relationship with gender identities, it also offers insights into fundamental yearnings within the human heart- at the center of which is the desire to be free. In fact, this yearning is not limited to the human universe either. From this perspective, Tagore's The Caged Bird and the Free Bird provides for a very early conversation relative to human enslavement and human trafficking, and the issues of colonial and racial dominance and exploitation long before, say, the appearance of Maya Angelou's moving I know why the caged bird sings, or Frantz Fanon's epochal The Wretched of the Earth. Hence, while the shelter and security which has defined womanhood (influenced by society to a considerable extent, and also their inherently gentle nature) has had its defendants even among their own (Sarat Chandra Chatterjee's novels highlight this aspect abundantly), it has also historically had them pay severely in terms of freedom and expansion.

Thus, the perennial dichotomy between freedom and boundaries- the one offering the lure of the new and the unknown in a space without boundaries, and the other offering shelter and security in either self-imposed, or in its far worse manifestations, imposed and coercive boundaries, continues unabated long since Tagore's ballad lyrically laid out the conversation.

┬ę Monish R Chatterjee 2020

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Monish R. Chatterjee received the B.Tech. (Hons) degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from I.I.T., Kharagpur, India, in 1979, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering, from the University of Iowa, (more...)

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