Chaturanga by Rabindranath Tagore

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Rabindranath Tagore 1916

"Chaturanga" is a novel by Rabindranath Tagore, originally written in Bengali and first published in 1916. The title of the novel is derived from the ancient Indian board game of chaturanga, which is similar to chess. The novel explores the themes of love, passion, and the conflict between tradition and modernity.


The story is set in colonial Bengal and follows the life of Sachish, a young idealistic Brahmin who rebels against the rigid caste system and traditional values of his society. Sachish falls in love with the beautiful and unconventional Manimalika, but their relationship is complicated by the fact that she is already married. Sachish's passion for Manimalika leads him on a journey of self-discovery, as he questions his beliefs and confronts the contradictions within himself.


Through the characters of Sachish and Manimalika, Tagore explores the tension between tradition and modernity in colonial India. Sachish represents the new generation of educated, liberal-minded Indians who reject the old ways and seek to create a new society based on equality and justice. Manimalika, on the other hand, embodies the conflict between personal freedom and social conformity, as she struggles to reconcile her desire for love and independence with the constraints of her marriage.


Overall, "Chaturanga" is a beautifully written and insightful novel that captures the complexities of human emotions and the social and cultural dynamics of colonial Bengal. Tagore's prose is lyrical and evocative, and his characters are richly drawn and multi-dimensional. The novel remains a timeless classic of Bengali literature, and a testament to Tagore's enduring legacy as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.

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