Rabindranath Tagore, the eminent poet and author who composed the National Anthem of India, was a man of many parts. He is known to the world around as a Bengali poet, composer, visual artist, Brahmo Samaj philosopher, novelist, painter, and a playwright.
Rabindranath Tagore’s Early life & Education
Born to Sarada and Debendranath Tagore on 7th May 1861, in the Jorasanko mansion (the Tagore family’s ancestral home) in Calcutta, Rabindranath Tagore was the youngest in the family. Having lost his mother at a very young age and having an extensive traveler for a father, he was raised by maids and servants.
Rabindranath Tagore received his education from a public school in East Sussex, England. Rabindranath Tagore’s father intended for him to be a barrister, owing to which he was sent to England in the year 1878. He soon dropped out of University College in London and studied a few works of Shakespeare on his own. Having learned the essence of English, Irish and Scottish music and literature, he returned home to India and was married Mrinalini Devi shortly after.
In the year 1901, Rabindranath Tagore also established an experimental school at Shantiniketan in rural West Bengal to offer education to students inspired from Indian and Western traditions. He dedicated his years to this school, which later in 1921 became Visva-Bharti University. Rabindranath Tagore was also bestowed with a Knighthood award in 1915, which he refused as a protest after the Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre (Amritsar).
Rabindranath Tagore’s Contribution to Literature
Rabindranath Tagore wrote a plethora of poems, novels, and short stories. He started writing poems at the age of eight and by sixteen, he had published poems under the pseudonym of Bhanusimha. His elder brother Dwijendranath was a poet and philosopher while his sister Swarnakumari was a novelist.
Rabindranath Tagore pursued his work with renewed fervor after his wife and children passed away,.
Rabindranath Tagore’s prominent work:
- Rabindranath Tagore’s novels were the least acknowledged amongst his contributions. The novels spoke about the dangers of nationalism among other relevant social evils. His novel ‘Shesher Kobita’ made use of rhythmic passages and poems. Few other famous novels of his are ‘Noukadubi’, ‘Jogajog’, ‘Chaturanga’, ‘Gora’ and ‘Ghare Baire’.
- When it comes to poems, a few of Rabindranath Tagore’s commendable works are ‘Sonar Tori’, ‘Balaka’, and ‘Gitanjali’. In fact, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913 for ‘Gitanjali’, his best-known collection of poems.
Most of Rabindranath Tagore’s stories were inspired by the environment which he grew up in and he incorporated social issues into his stories as well. He also wrote about the fallbacks of Hindu marriages and other customs that were followed back in the day. Some of his famous short stories are ‘ Kshudita Pashan’, ‘Haimanti’, ‘Kabuliwala’ and ‘Atottju’.
When Rabindranath Tagore was in his 60s, he also started painting, which grabbed him a spot among some of India’s famous contemporary artists. Tagore’s works have been translated internationally and he has continued to leave an impression on many. His work remains relevant even today and will continue to enthrall and educate people for generations to come.