Gora , by Rabindranath Tagore , stands as a vast discourse by Tagore for a society which is highly aware and sensitized towards a higher spiritual goal, that surpasses a mere individualistic cocooned frame of life. Tagore, talks through his key characters of the book, and evolves a story of two households that symbolize two schools of thought and religion of Colonised India in the 19th century. The intellectual and ideological turmoil of the Brahmo Samaj and the Hindu Samaj sets the stage for the story, of seemingly normal middle class families which transcends its mediocrity through its highly evolved and critical characters. Binoy and Gora are the two indispensable friends, who’s bond is very beautifully elaborated by Tagore through the story, being sensitive to many little details of typical human nature , be it their follies, faults, their shortcomings or their morality. In fact, Gora emerges before us, not as a flawless protagonist but as a case – study of man’s many dilemmas in his struggle to realize the essence of his existence. He is the symbol for the constant , undeterred anguished struggle that every human conscience undertakes at some point of his or her life , to place himself in the bigger scheme of things, to define his locus within societal co-ordinates.
However, the stimuli to the actions in the story are its heroines, Sucharita and Lolita. Having been brought up in a Brahmo household, and encouraged to freely discuss personal opinions,(as opposed to the traditional Hindu woman of those times) , these step – sisters are the igniting spirits of the story , who by entering into the heroes’ lives brew up a storm between principles of the head and logic of the heart.
What strikes about this work, is the immense consciousness of the theme. In today’s times, a book based on one ultra patriotic soul urging his fellow men and women to act in a way, as to keep in mind, always, the higher goal of a united ‘Bharatvarsha’ , may seem highly improbable. Yet, the theme stands its ground, speaking from the pre- independence days to this very generation of today. The ringing notes of an individual’s awareness of life as it unfolds in terms of events, of self and of those connected to him, turn into an intense personal churning.
Gora , gradually , succumbs to the trap of an extreme individual identity. Unknowingly , he limits his vision into conventional shackles.His desperate urge towards societal acceptance and an idealistic vision of an efficient social machinery, leads him to embrace dogmatism blindly. He is victimized by himself. However, with the fact of his birth and origin being shattered, that he is in fact of a British parentage and only raised in a Hindu household , Gora is liberated in his state of non-identity. To be one and to be all. Not belonging to any set of beliefs but to be a maker of one’s own.
Gora , is an intense journey. It raises so many questions in your head, answerable and unanswerable, that once through, one cannot but be a changed mind ; in outlook as well as in conscience.