"Red Oleanders" ("Rakto Karabi" in Bengali) is regarded as one of Tagore's best plays, written at the age of sixty-three.
When he wrote the original play in 1924, he envisioned that the Western capitalistic, utilitarian approach to society would eventually destroy universal human values.
Vast industrialization throughout the world would result in diminishing human compassion and cause an ecological imbalance.
To convey this message he utilized his characters as metaphors of human instincts, such as greed, power and envy, as well as love, trust and sacrifice.
This play, written in 1923-24, was begun during a visit to Shillong, Assam, and inspired by the image of a red oleander plant crushed by pieces of discarded iron that Tagore had come across while walking.
The play's theme is unscrupulous capitalism, environmental exploitation and the importance of human relationships.
It's a powerful and moving play: the story of Nandini, a girl who recognises no social barriers and taboos and who disregards them in her search for happiness.
Nandini is one of those individuals who bring out the best in human nature. Entering a town where men are enslaved to mine gold, she makes them aware of their bondage and creates in them a desire to be free.
Her symbol, the red oleander, can be variously interpreted as frailty or as the red badge of courage.