You are on page 1of 5

Sixth AIMS International Conference on Management December 28 – 31, 2008

Rabindra Management: Indian Management Thoughts of Rabindranath

Tagore towards Self Development

Debarshi Mukherjee
Assistant Professor
Indian Business Academy, Greater Noida
Mobile: +91-9899882497

Competitive business scenarios left our society battling with declining moral values and we have serious research
contributions from different quarters of the world wherein researchers have tried to find solace from Gita,
Ramayana, Mahabharata and other epics to summon strength and determination to ensure success and societal
bliss. All these have been higher order contributions rarely gained popularity among common man.
Management thoughts from people like Tagore through his songs gained popularity among masses and also helped
instilling self development mechanism within.
This paper draws inspiration from his songs and derives connectivity between his popular songs and modern
management thoughts.

Keywords: Rabindranath, Tagore, Rabindra Sangeet, Self Development, Modern Management

Introduction various researches to understand the perspective of

Ever since the birth of civilization people were this Nobel Laureate (1913) on various functional
always engaged towards improving the quality of domains. The ramified expertise of Tagore, from a
life. This constant sojourn continues even today, poet to an educationist has given the impetus to the
among people, across civilizations worldwide. A Nation to proceed towards imbibing his philosophies
human being is manifested by certain good moral of self development. His contribution have been
characters like truthfulness, honesty etc. Due to the analyzed and dissected by many cultural scientists to
complexity in our social systems or increase in understand the inner meaning but the principle focus
interpersonal competition such soft values are getting remained on its cultural aspects and other social
diluted. Philanthropists say that human soul is more learning. As an educationist he has always tried to
powerful to give in so easily to such market forces permeate the pieces of social learning through the
like lust, greed etc. Every human being is blessed compositions down to the common man. Our civic
with a soul at sleeping state waiting to be awakened society comprises of mostly common people and if
and ignited. Since ancient times we have been using these people are told few basic principles of
the preaching depicted in epics like Gita, improving the quality of life, the cascading effect of
Mahabharata, Ramayana along with other popular the same may in turn affect the entire society in a
sermons given by poets, religious leaders and other positive way. The compositions of Tagore carried a
saintly people. Sometimes the influence has been paramount impact on civic society considering the
localized to particular geographic area pertaining to fact that India was serving under British rule. The
the affiliation of any such individual leader with the impact of colonial dominance was gradually getting
place or community. Nevertheless, such thoughts visible in the youth and the society as a whole
irrespective of its place of origin have helped (Bijlert, 2004). It is very difficult to measure the
common man to find solace from their daily miseries effectiveness of poems, songs and other soft
and instill righteousness across strata of civic society. compositions on human behavior but a change is
Our modern history of literature has been enriched always visible. Tagore was of the opinion that the
with the contribution from many exponents like positive influence of songs may nurture the common
Rabindranath Tagore who has imparted management minds and may foster creativity within.
thoughts disguised in his compositions of songs,
poetry & other literary works. Review of relevant literature
The literary contributions of Rabindranath Tagore Prof. Subhash Sharma (1996) suggested the idea of
(1861 -1941) have inspired the Nation and still are ‘Common Man’s Management Theory’, with roots in
and will continue to act as the cultural backbone on folk verses, idioms and rhythms etc. He carries
this country. Researchers across the globe conducted forward this idea through ‘Management
Subhashitani’ (2002, 2007). This offers a new Most of Tagore’s contributions are done in Bengali
research path which essentially establishes (Bangla) language and the beauty of his artistry lies
foundation for ‘Rabindra Management’ (Sharma, in the lyrics of his songs. The verse and musical
1996, 2006, 2008). During his Taner lectures (1979, rhythms of his Bengali compositions carried a
1985) Dr. Amartya Sen has emphasized on one universal appeal among people across cultures and
important human value that people should feel happy languages (Bhattacharya, 2007).
about the capabilities one owns rather than trying for Very often Tagore has been termed to be influenced
different skills. As a result people forget to hone their by Western romanticism as the colonial thinking was
basic skills and end up not having the desired ones as that the scientific approach to life was contributed by
well (Less Prix Nobel, n.d.). The soft values are Western thinkers. Tagore’s songs and poems were
tender issues needs to be nurtured to foster growth & scientific, Compositions from Morning Songs shows
development. Since ancient times people have been western thoughts of evolutions gets blended with
taught lessons to improve quality of life through Hindu cosmology where rise and fall of ages is done
popular Sanskrit verses like, through Lord Shiva’s hands (Green, 2003).
Sarve bhavantu sukhina sarve santu nirmaya,
Sarve bhadrani pashyantu ma kaschit dukhbhave Glimpses of Tagore’s popular songs
bhavate. In this section it has been attempted to cite some lines
Let everyone be happy, of few of Tagore’s popular songs composed in
Let everyone be healthy, Bangla (Bengali) commonly known as Rabindra
See good in everyone, Sangeet.
Let nobody be ever unhappy. (Sharma, 2002)
Apart from popular verses from Gita and other epics Song #1
poets like Kabir and his dohas were also popular Alo Amar, Alo Ogo, Alo Bhuban Bhara,
owing to simple nature that touches a common man’s Alo Nayan - Dhoya Amar, Alo Hriday Hara.
life like, Nache Alo Nacje, O Bhai, Amar Praner Kache –
Karat karat abhyas thi, Baje Alo Baje, O Bhai, Hridayveenar Majhe -
Jadmati hot’ sujan.
Through continuous practice, When the illumination comes from within which is
Even an unskilled person can improve. (Sharma, the light of self realization, it rekindles the soul and
2006). life becomes beautiful. Uninhibited flow of thoughts
As the holy Gita suggests detachment in work helps of the divine surroundings leads the life towards
the doer to experience the divine intervention and is a contentment.
blessing for the organization as these people affiliate
themselves with organizational objectives rather than Song#2
small personal gains (Bhattathiri, n.d.). E Din Aji Kon Ghare Go Khule Dilo Dwar?
Gita has been termed as higher order contribution Aji Prate Surya Otha Safal Holo Kar?
with low penetration capacity among masses owing Kahar Abhisheker Tare Sonar Ghate Alok Bhare?
to its strict language regimen. Tagore’s Gitanjali Usha Kahar Ashish Bhori Holo Andhar Par?
(Song Offerings) has a devotional quotient and is
comparable with the guiding principles of Gita as it Today’s Sun rise has brought special blessings from
also resorts to Upanishada (Deepa, 2008). the unknown for them who will open up their
Tagore was the proponent of aesthetic education windows to welcome the morning Sun. In order to
which recognizes the importance the music, dance get rid of the daily miseries of life people should take
and other co-curricular activities as facilitators for the divine call and wake up to a state of awakening
self development. During the inauguration of Visva only to be coroneted by the morning sun surrounded
Bharati (1922) he affirmed that there is a need to by the elements of nature.
connect to our ancient past rich in culture like
Puranic, Vedic, the Jains, the Sikhs, the Islamic, the Song#3
Zorastrian along with folk cultures on academic Akash Bhara Surya Tara, Bishwa Bhara Pran,
fronts. The coordinated effort towards integrating Tahari Majhkhane Ami Peyechi Mor Sthan,
music with academics with culture breaks the rigid Bismaye Tai Jage Amar Gaan.
traditional model of education only to give birth to a
new and expression oriented model of aesthetic The sky glitters with Sun and other starlets, the life
education (O’Connell, n.d.) beats in the spectrum of sky and within them I have

Page 2 
found a place for myself. The sense of belittling,
quest to discover the unknown surprises me. Every Song#8
little thing on this earth surprises me. I could feel the Antoro Momo Bikashita Koro Antarataro He –
cycle of life within hence I tremble with joyous Nirmal Koro, Ujjwal Koro, Sundar Koro He.
surprise. Jagroto Koro,Udyato Koro, Nirbhoy Koro He.
Mangal Koro, Niralas Nisanshay Koro He.
Amar Praner Manush Ache Prane, The disciple prays to his God to develop his inner
Tai Heri Tai Sakol Khane. self and the disciple can become clean from within,
Ache Se Nayan Tarai, Alok – Dharai Tai Na Harai – enlightened, beautiful, proactive, fearless and certain
Ogo Tai Dekhi Tai Jethai Sethai so that he can connect to one and everybody on this
Takai Ami Jedik Pane. earth.

Since the ideal figure of mankind is deep inscribed in Song#9

my mind hence I could locate him everywhere I look Pratham Aadi Taba Shakti-
at. He exists so close to me even in my eyes, even in Aadi Paramojjwala Jyoti Tomari He
the rays of light. I traversed the entire world only find Gagane Gagane.
him in my song, in my heart.
The one and only flame of power, of knowledge
Song#5 burns with radiant spectrum that spreads the light of
Apnake Ei Jana Amar Phurabe Na. knowledge enlightens the globe. The divine is the
Ei Janar Sange Sange Tomai Chena. great poet of all poets who composes the mantra of
Koto Janam – Moron e te Tomar e Oi Choron e te life and chanting of the same creates a humming tune
Apna Ke Je Debo, Tabu, Badbe Dena. in our conscience.

It is an eternal quest of self realization along with Song#10

knowing the divine. It will take many births to Bipode More Raksha Koro,
dedicate to quench that quest. The more I interact E Nahe Mor Prarthana,
with the divine the more I will know him. Bipade Jeno Na Kori Bhay.

Song#6 I don’t plea to save me when I am in hardship or

Klanti Amar Kshama Koro Prabhu, trouble, please give me the courage to fight back with
Pathe Jodi Pichiye Podi Kabhu. a vengeance.
Ei Je Hiya Tharo Tharo Kanpe Aji Emontoro
Ei Bedona Kshama Koro, Kshama Koro, Kshama Song#11
Koro Prabhu. Amra Sabai Raja Amader Ei Rajar Rajotte,
Noile Mora Rajar Sone Milbo Ki Satte,
It refers to the humble dialogue between the God and Amra Ja Khushi Tai Kori,
his disciple. The disciple seeks excuses from his Tabu Tar Khushi Tei Choli,
Almighty in case he trails in the line of reaching him Amra Noi Bandha Noi Dasher Rajar Trasher
owing to his hard toiled exhaustion and that he must Dashotte.
be excused for the pangs of pain he realized during
his hard harsh course of life. We all are kings at our individual level in this
kingdom of Almighty else we become subjects to
Song#7 him. Although we observe our free will still one
Jibonmoroner Seemana Chariye, generic bond connects each of us and neither are we
Bondhu He Amar Royecho Dnaraiye. tied to any chain of slavery rather a flavor of
E Mor Hridoyer Akashe homogeneity flows at a horizontal plain.
Tomar Mahashan Alo Te Dhaka Se.

Human soul is more powerful than to be intimidated Connectivity of Tagore’s songs with
by material issues like life and death. When the modern management thoughts
conscience gets awakened people gets to see that
there exists a different world full of colour and light
Page 3 
Modern management thoughts in organizational self-confidence would lend a supporting hand to
context revolve around People who in various forms overcome all problems.
perform their duties in order to ensure sustainable
growth. He or She may be a leader, worker or may be Inspiration for self development
the customer.
Although, the song references cited here are very few
from popular Tagore’s songs still these compositions The songs carried a different dimension besides
lends to the insight in the context of self and carrying deep messages. Although the discussion
collective human development. If we could analyze, surpassed the boundary of literary context to
the Song#1 talks about incidence of light. It can be organizational context yet the simplicity of language
referred to as the indicator of enlightenment which and composition of lyrics enhanced the acceptability
leads people to realize that there is a beautiful world of these songs to such an extent that they appealed
around them to live in. Song#2 refers to those people even the common man. Paramhansa Yogananda, in
whose conscience has awakened and who have been his autobiography mentioned that the songs of Tagore
able to open their closed windows to let the bright are so simple that even an illiterate peasant can sing
sunshine wash away darkness of evil and coronate them and could internalize the meaning as per his
them as king of their individual self. The conflict of own understanding (Yogananda, 1946). In 1930,
ego among people across department works as a during his meeting with Tagore A. Einstein
deterrent to the growth of any organization. In Song mentioned that as a physicist he recognizes the
#3 the issue has been addressed nicely, when we see importance of sound in music and questioned the
that the entire cosmos is so well organized yet vastly relevance of lyrics. The poet answered as colors add
spread we feel belittle that our issues become much glow to the lines lyrics add life to music and that
simpler to solve without any conflict. The Songs i.e. simplicity is required to touch the hearts
from Song#4 to Song#9 refer to fact that the quality (Chakravarty, n.d.). Tagore believed in the power of
of human life depends on the sincere efforts put human will which if fostered may strike wonders and
across to know the Self (Atma) and although we may lead towards the truth (Chatterjee, 1991).
spend our lives in search of God at different places The key to self development as reiterated by many
but the Almighty resides within us. The reference of authors is to know the inner self which essentially
these songs can be utilized as metaphors in becomes the guiding principle. These songs owing to
organizational context that only illuminated its simplicity of heartfelt rendition and composition
leadership qualities can propel growth holistically. of lyrics, crossed definite format of literature long
Divided vision results from darkness of mind and non time back and entered into common man’s life and
recognition of environmental factors creates void are relevant even today (Yogananda, 1946). Probably
within the organization and positive vector a quote from Gitanjali may draw the bottom line for
movement leads to procrastination. our quest of self development.

Song#10 recognizes the cohesive teamwork attitude "When one knows thee, then alien there is none, then
within an organization which brings in a flavor of no door is shut. Oh, grant me my prayer that I may
democracy yet disciplined. The brisk manner chosen never lose touch of the one in the play of the many."
to boost the morale of the employees by referring (Gitanjali, 1912)
them as Kings at their individual domain, shows the
level of trust is posed upon them by their respective References
heads and the organization at the context level.
Song#11 shows the strength in attitude of players that
when here is crisis in the organization nobody except
23rd October 2008 from
1. (Bhattacharya, 2007) Krishna Bhattacharya,
A Linguistic Vies on the Co-relation dGitaManagement.pdf.
Between Verse Rhythm and Musical 3. (Bijlert, n.d.) Victor A Van Bijlert, A
Rhythm: A Case of Bangla Lyric Songs, Difficult Friendship: Letters of Edward
LiCuS Vol.2 No.02 pp 117-129. Thompson and Rabindranath Tagore 1913-
2. (Bhattathitri, n.d.) M P Bhattathiri, 1940, IIAS News Letter, No.34, July 2004.
Bhagavad Gita and Management World 4. (Chakravarty, n.d.) Amiya Charavarty ed.,
Management lessons from India. Retreived Rabindranth Tagore’s Conversation with
Albert Einstein exerpted from A Tagore
Page 4 
Reader. Retreived on 23rd October 2008 15. (Yogananda, 1946) Paramhansa Yogananda,
from Autobiography of a Yogi, Rabindranath Tagore & I Compare Schools, Ch 29, 1946.
5. (Chatterjee, 1991) Monish R Chatterjee,
Rabindranath Tagore: Sadhaka of Universal
Man, Baul of Infinite Songs, 1991.
Retrieved from
6. (Deepa, 2008) P Deepa, Indian
Philosophical Aspects and the Theme of
Devotion in Rabindranath Tagore’s
Gitanjali, p2, 2008, Language in India, Vol
8, ISSN1930-2304,
7. (Gitanjali, 1912) Gitanjali, Rabindranth
Tagore. Retreived from
8. (Green, 2003) Sarah Houston Green, Nature
as a Metaphor of Nation: Reconsidering the
Gandhi – Tagore Nationalist Controversy,
pp136, Sagar, South Asia Research Journal,
Vol. 10, 2003
9. (Less Prix Nobel, n.d.) Les Prix Nobel. The
Nobel Prizes 1998, Editor Tore Frängsmyr,
[Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1999.
Retrieved 23rd October 2008 from
10. (O’Connell) Kathlene M O’Connell,
Rabindranath Tagore: Envisioning
Humanistic Education at Santiniketan (1902
– 1922). Retrieved 23rd October 2008 from
11. (Sharma, 1996, 2006, 2008) Subhash
Sharma, Management in New Age Western
Windows Eastern Doors, 1996, 2006, 2008,
12. (Sharma, 2002) Subhash Sharma,
Management Subhashitani, Siddhartah
Shastri (ed.), Indian Management for Nation
Building, WISDOM, Banasthali, 2002,
13. (Sharma, 2006) Subhash Sharma,
Management Subhashitani, New Mantras in
Corporate Corridors: From Ancient Roots to
Global Routes, p146, 2006, New Age.
14. (Yogananda, 1946) Paramhansa Yogananda,
Autobiography of a Yogi, Rabindranath
Tagore & I Compare Schools, Ch 29, 1946.

Page 5