A Promise Not Kept
by Rabindranath Tagore , , pp.,
August 2006, volume 30, No 8

Jogajog is perhaps Tagore’s least discussed novel, eclipsed by the political rhetoric of Gora and Ghare Baire, the romantic intensity of Chokher Bali and Shesher Kabita, and the philosophical density of Char Adhyay. Two recent translations, however, draw attention to this lacuna in Tagore scholarship: Hiten Bhaya’s translation Nexus, published by Rupa and Co., and the present translation by Supriya Chaudhuri. Chaudhuri’s Introduction is one of the strengths of this edition, for it locates the novel historically, while opening up a series of contemporary debates about subjectivity, cultural values and modes of representation. Especially interesting is Chaudhuri’s analysis of the ways in which the text ironically subverts the high realism of the nineteenth century European novel, even while deploying apparently realist techniques. Published as a book in 1929 after its serialization in the periodical Bichitra from September-October 1927 to March-April 1929, Jogajog is different from Tagore’s other novels because of its brooding, claustrophobic atmosphere and strongly etched yet incomplete structure. Tagore himself was dissatisfied with his original conception of the narrative as a chronicle of three generations of two feuding families.

Continue reading this review