Rabindranath Tagore was born in Calcutta on 6th of May, 1861. He received his education at his own home and later at University College, London. He was a poet, dramatist, novelist, short story writer, a philosopher and a nation builder. He founded a school at Shantiniketan in West Bengal which later expanded into an international university, known as the “Viswa Bharati.” He even created a new form of music which is known as “Rabindra Sangeet.” He is the author of India’s national anthem, “Jana Gana Mana.” He died in Calcutta on 7th of August, 1941.
“The Last Bargain” by Tagore is a sixteen lines poem composed in blank verse conveying a strong message well needed for the materialistic world that no power, money or lust can make us happy. Simplicity and innocence are the most supreme of all.
The poem “The Last Bargain” opens with the speaker walking on the stone paved road and asking out to hire him. The first one who wants to hire him was a king. He came in his chariot and held out his hand to the speaker telling him that he wants to hire him with his power. However, the king’s power counted for nothing and he leaves the place in his chariot.
During the midday, there was an old man with a bag of gold. The speaker wandered along a twisted lane comprised of houses with shut doors. The old man tells the speaker that he would hire him with his money. He measured the gold coins which he carried in his bag but the speaker rejects all his money. The speaker turns away all the money because money will soon be spent and money cannot buy us everlasting happiness.
In the evening, the garden fences were full of flowers. A fair mid comes out and tells the speaker that she would hire him with a smiling face. But her smile faded away and she melted into tears and returns into the dark leaving the speaker alone.
Finally, the bargain is struck by a child who hires the speaker with nothing. While the sun was glowing on the sands and the sea waves lashed along the shores, a child was seen playing with shells. The child raised his head and smiled as if he already knew the speaker. The bargain of the child makes the speaker a free man. Therefore, power, money or lust could not free the speaker but power of innocence had the ability to break away his bondage. The child had the power to enslave him.
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