Patrick Geddes, Edinburgh and India

Geddes and India: Civics, Education and Spiritual Engagement

Patrick Geddes and Rabindranath Tagore – from the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry:

East and West met in the close friendship and exchange of ideas between Patrick Geddes, the Scots polymath whose ideas about town planning and civic life were forged during his time in Edinburgh, and the Indian Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore. They met in India whilst the First World War was raging, and found common ground in shared ideas on education in harmony with one’s surroundings, inter-disciplinary studies, a sustainable environment, rural reconstruction and peace. Tagore invited Geddes to provide the plans for his International University, Visva-Bharati at Santiniktean, while Geddes invited Tagore to become President of the Indian College at Montpellier. Patrick Geddes’s son, Arthur Geddes spent two years teaching at Sriniketan. They stayed in touch until Geddes’s death in 1932.

For more on Patrick Geddes and his links to India: see here


Tyrwhitt, Jacqueline. 1947. Patrick Geddes in India. London: Lund Humphries

Home, Robert. 1997. Of Planting and Planning: The making of British colonial cities. London: E & FN Spon.

Fraser, Bashabi, ed. 2005.  A Meeting of Two Minds: Geddes Tagore Letters. Edinburgh: Word Power Books.

Professor Fraser was also principal investigator for a recent grant on 'The Scottish-Indian Continuum of Ideas'

The Outlook Tower, at the top of the Castlehill, was managed by Geddes for 40 years from 1892 .