A Critic's Meta Review: 4/5

Chitto Jetha Bhayshunyo by Rabindranath Tagore (REVIEW)

This poem fills me with unwarranted feelings of nationalism. Well, not necessarily nationalism; I would say it is probably something a bit more akin to patriotism. And, yes - there is a difference between the two (and if you was a real G, you would know the difference, fool). For one, patriotism is a lot less of a jingoistic phenomenon: think less Joey Goebbels and more Johnny Cash (I cannot tell you how long it took me to come up with that little juxtaposition right there). Furthermore, I feel that patriotism leaves a lot more up to interpretation - which, as a veteran of high school Advanced Placement English classes, I can definitely appreciate. Nationalism is just so much more...I don’t know,  man. Rigid.

Yeah, that’s it.


But it’s more than just pride in one’s country, methinks; at least, the feeling that I get from reading a poem like this does not really resemble that of pride. It is much more of an intense love for the idea that one’s country strives to represent. This, unlike blind loyalty to any and all decisions made by one’s country of (p)reference, is significantly more flexible. Flexible, like a yogi off the yage.

You see, India is a very interesting place. It is certainly a place that I can say I feel an intense love for, culturally and spiritually. In this respect, I am an Indian patriot. But I am also an American patriot (to an extent); I am a Mexican patriot; I am a Morroccan patriot; I am a Colombian patriot; I am a Cuban patriot; I am a Korean patriot; I am a German patriot...well, actually, hold off on that one. I don’t know if that’s cool anymore.

For the longest time, growing up, I would lie to people and tell them I was part Italian. Sicilian, as a matter of fact. This is partially because my childhood was steeped in mob movies, particularly the first two Godfather flicks (no, it’s not a trilogy if the third one sucks). But it was also due to some sort of fear of being “different”, at least among my European-American peers.

Do I regret this? To an extent, but over the years I have learned that there is no use in dwelling on such matters. It is what it is mate, for it can’t be what it ain’t.

My only regret is that I do not understand Bengali so that I could read the original version of these poems. Then I would be able to know how good of a poet Tagore really is, or whether my rhymes is tighter.

You never know, yo.

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