Rabindranath Tagore: An Indian Poet, Writer, Composer, Philosopher & Painter

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore, the man who gave India’s national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ still stays in the heart of every Indian. Rabindranath Tagore was a great writer besides, music composer, and painter. He works mainly emphasized on the personal, social, and political issues. He was an artist with a cause. His novels, stories, poems, and dramas were the modernized form of the rigid Bengali art and mainly known for the natural tone, lyrics, and unnatural contemplation.

Rabindranath Tagore Early life:

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was born in a Rarhi Brahmins family on 7th May 1861, in Calcutta. As Rabindranath’s mother Sarada Devi died when he was at a very young age and father Debendranth Tagore usually travelled, his servant took after him. He belonged to a knowledgeable elite family background where his brothers were philosophers, poets, administrators. Rabindranath Tagore got physical training such as gymnastics, judo, and wrestling from his brother Hemendranth. He also learned swimming at a very young age. He loved travelling with his father. Tagore left Calcutta with his father in 1873 and toured Himalayan hill station and Amritsar. The Gurbani sung in the Amritsar’s Golden temple greatly influenced him to write many poems on Sikhism. 

Rabindranath Tagore Education and Personal life:

Rabindranath Tagore got enrolled in Brinton’s public school, in England as his father wanted him to become a barrister. He stayed at their house in Medina Villas which was one of the properties owned by his father near Brinton. He was always interested in independent study as one such incident was when he left his law study at University College London to study Shakespeare’s plays.

Later in 1880, he returned to Bengal without the degree and published many poems which had a significant impact all over Bengal. He later got married to Mrinalini Devi in 1880 when she was just ten years old. They with their children stayed in their ancestral house, which is now in Bangladesh. He had five children of them; two died at an early age. It was after he moved to Shantiniketan in 1901, two of his children and wife died. Later in 1905 his father Debendranath also died. 

Rabindranath Tagore Early Literary works:

Music was a part of their life from their very early stages as his father always wanted to make sure that all the children learned Indian Classical music. Some of his favourite subjects were English, Sanskrit, literature, mathematics, anatomy, art, and history. He was fond of poetry and was amazed by Kalidasa’s poetry. Tagore wrote many Bengali child magazines and poems like Nirjharer Swapnabhanga. He also wrote many short stories, and one of them was his famous first work, ‘Bhikarini’ written in Bengali, in 1882.

He was a man with a concern for society and thus wrote many grave tales on poverty the rural Bengal was facing. After staying in England for a significant period, he moved to Shantiniketan where his work, ‘Nivedhya’ got popularized among foreign readers as well in 1901. Later in 1906, he published Kheya which was also equally popular in foreign countries. 

Awards and appreciations:

In 1912 he wrote ‘Geetanjali’ which meant for song offerings. It was for his this tremendous literary work he was awarded a Nobel Prize in literature. Nobel Prize is a prestigious Swedish Academy appreciation that has a worldwide prominence. He was the first non –European to receive the Nobel Prize in the field of Literature. This Nobel Prize was kept in the safety vault of the Visva- Bharathi University, which later in 2004, got stolen. The Swedish academy then presented Visva Bharathi University with two replicas of Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel prize. One of them was gold, and the other was bronze. However, the stolen award was received later, in 2016, when the thieves were arrested along with the singer, Pradeep Bauri, who sheltered them.

He also had received many other world recognition appreciation, one of them being the King George V Knighthood award which he got after the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919. He also visited Sylhet in at the invitation of Syed Abdul Majid attracting a crowd of about 5000.

Notable works:

As his father was a social figure and member of Brahmo Samaj, Tagore was also greatly influenced by the Brahmo Samaj ideologies and which led him to broader thinking. He believed in the people’s equality, irrespective of their caste, creed, and gender. He was overwhelmed by the people’s caste consciousness and so, fought for the equality of Dalits, by using Dalit heroes for his poems and dramas. In the 1930s he was hurt by the inequality in the society and untouchability against Dalits. He was successful in reducing this gap to some extent by opening the Guruvayur Temple for Dalits. His twilight years period was the one in which he gave us some of the best literary works of him like, Chitra, Char Adhyay, Chandalikha, and many. He died in his eighties, on 7th august 1941, in Kolkata due to Kidney infection.


Image Source: “commons.wikimedia.org.”

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