Language, Nation, Freedom: Rabindranath Tagore and Ludwig Wittgenstein on the Epistemology of Education

  • Rukmini Bhaya Nair


Focusing on Tagore’s essays on language in Sabdo Tattwo and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Worterbuch fur Volksschulen, this chapter argues that it is instructive to read Tagore’s philosophy of education for children, produced in colonial India, in tandem with the sort of praxis for primary education Wittgenstein devised in Europe sundered by WW1. Violence and the will to freedom, rigid rule-following and romantic visions, poverty and affluence are oddly yoked together in these two texts in ways that are very pertinent to the educational dilemmas that confront us today on a subcontinent that remains home to half of the world’s illiterate population.


Language-games Grammar Literacy Pedagogy Nationalist-cosmopolitanism 

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Copyright information

© Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of Technology DelhiNew DelhiIndia

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