Glimpses of Bengal – A Selection of Letters by Rabindranath Tagore

Glimpses of Bengal - A book by Rabindranath Tagore containing a selection of his letters.

FREE BOOK! This book is available for a free download because its original copyright owned by the Macmillan Company has expired.

Title: Glimpses of Bengal – A Selection of Letters
Author: Rabindranath Tagore
Level: Beginner (Great starter book for readers new to Tagore)

Free Book by Rabindranath Tagore containing the letters of Tagore Download a friendly pdf version of ‘Glimpses of Bengal’ for easy printing, reading and forwarding.
Glimpses of Bengal by Rabindranath Tagore - Free Book Download Download a photographed copy of the original book courtesy The Internet Archive.

Book Summary – Glimpses of Bengal

“The light of the stars travels millions of miles to reach the earth, but it cannot reach our hearts, so many millions of miles off are we!”
– Rabindranath Tagore in ‘Glimpses of Bengal’


“Glimpses of Bengal” is a delightful and must-read collection of letters written in the 1890s, by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, as he traveled across Bengal to manage his family’s far-flung agricultural estates.

Traveling in his houseboat, up and down the Padma River and its many tributaries, Tagore vividly captures the breathtaking imagery of the Bengali countryside and the reticent grace of the day-to-day village life.

Sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, the settings in these letters formed the backdrop of many of his poems and plays (e.g. The Post Office).

For a reader uninitiated in Tagore I highly recommend this as a starter book.

The letters, many of which were addressed to his niece Indira Devi, make for a light-hearted and captivating reading. Tagore is sure to charm you with his wondrous story telling and powerful imagination.

And as is the case with many of Tagore’s books, the intellectual crescendo builds towards the end leaving you feeling utterly exhilarated.

Enclosed below is a delightful sample from one of his letters, where Tagore describes a buffalo grazing. For many South-Asian readers this scene is sure to bring up vivid memories!

I raise my eyes to every passing boat and keep staring at the ferry going to and fro. And then on the bank, close to my boat, there are a herd of buffaloes thrusting their massive snouts into the herbage, wrapping their tongues round it to get it into their mouths, and then munching away, blowing hard with great big gasps of contentment, and flicking the flies off their backs with their tails.

All of a sudden a naked weakling of a human cub appears on the scene, makes sundry noises, and pokes one of the patient beasts with a cudgel, where-upon, throwing occasional glances at the human sprig out of a corner of its eye, and snatching at tufts of leaves or grass here and there on the way, the unruffled beast leisurely moves on a few paces, and that imp of a boy seems to feel that his duty as herdsman has been done.
– Rabindranath Tagore in ‘Glimpses of Bengal’

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