“New Woman” in Rabindranath Tagore’s Short Stories: An Interrogation of “Laboratory”


  • Bharati Ray, University of Calcutta, India


This article investigates Rabindranath Tagore's perspectives on women as seen through his short stories. While his poems primarily describe beauty, nature and his search for what is beyond mundane life, his short stories deal with the lives of ordinary people. Women's struggles and sufferings are particularly highlighted. This article argues that while on one hand Tagore reveals the unequal social structure that oppresses women, on another, he creates courageous women who challenge tradition. His short story “Laboratory,†written a few months before his death, expresses his latest views on women and gives shape to the “new woman,†whom he perceives as arriving in India in the near future. In so doing, Tagore urges women to find an identity of their own, and realise that wifehood and motherhood are but fractions of their whole being.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Bharati Ray, University of Calcutta, India

Bharati Ray served as Professor of History at Calcutta University, India and as the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor. She is currently the Vice President of Indian Council for Cultural Relations. A bilingual author, Ray has published several authored/edited books including From the Seams of History: Essays on Indian Women, Early Feminists in Colonial India: Sarala Devi Chaudhurani and Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, Women of India: Colonial and Post-Colonial Periods and Different Types of History. She has compiled and edited two volumes of articles published in the earliest women’s journal in Bengal, Bamabodhini Patrika (1863-1922).




How to Cite

Ray, University of Calcutta, India, B. (2010). “New Woman” in Rabindranath Tagore’s Short Stories: An Interrogation of “Laboratory”. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 4(2), 68–80. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/523