Rabindranath Thakur was a man of various talents. He was recognized by people all over the globe for his literary works - poetry, philosophies, plays, and especially his songwriting. Rabindranath Tagore was the man who gave India, its National Anthem. He was one of the greatest entities of all time and the only Indian to receive a Nobel Prize.
Rabindranath Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1913, becoming the first non-European to receive the honour. He was only sixteen years old when he was to publish his first short story called “Bhanisimha”, was published. Rabindranath Tagore was born on the 07th of May, 1861 in Kolkata. Rabindranath Tagore was the son of Debendranath Tagore, one of Brahmo Samaj’s active members, a known and celebrated philosopher, and literate. R.N Tagore died after a prolonged illness on the 07th of August, 1941.
Rabindranath Tagore Childhood and Education
While growing up, R.N Tagore shared a very intimate relationship with his elder brother and his sister-in-law. Rabindranath Tagore's father's name is Debendranath Tagore, and his mother’s name is Sarada Devi. Rabindranath Tagore's birthday is on the 7th of May, 1861, and he was born in Calcutta, Bengal Presidency then. It is believed that they did everything together. Rabindranath Tagore's education didn’t seem too impressive.
R.N Tagore did not enjoy schooling, and he was mostly found procrastinating and pondering for hours. He went to one of the most prestigious St. Xavier’s School, and later, he went to the University of London in Bridgton, England, to study law and become a barrister. Still, as we know, he did not enjoy schooling much; he returned home in two years but without a degree. Even though he did not enjoy schooling much, he was always found with books, pen, and ink. He would always be scribbling things in his notebook; however, he was shy to reveal his writings.
Growing Years and Career
R.N Tagore was only eight years old when he first wrote a poem. By the age of sixteen, his short story got published, titled “Bhanusimha”. R.N Tagore’s contribution to literature is beyond any measure. He was the one who had introduced new verses and prose and also lingua franca in his mother tongue, which is Bangla. R.N Tagore after returning to India after leaving his education, but he did not leave literature.
R.N Tagore published several books of Rabindranath Tagore poems and short stories, plays, and songs. His most renowned work, called “Gitanjali”, was very well received all over India and England. He is the author of two National Anthems, which are “Amar Sonar Bangla” for Bangladesh and “Jana Gana Mana” for India. He worked with very unfamiliar and different styles in Bangla Language. Some of them are heavily immersed in social and political satire. He was one of those who believed in global peace and equality. He is one of the pioneers of contemporary Bengali literature.
After returning to India, he completed and published his book of poems called “Manasi” which was believed to contain his best poems. “Manasi” contained several verse forms which were fresh to contemporary Bengali literature, and it also contained some political and social satire that questioned and mocked R.N Tagore’s fellow Bengalis.
Besides writing and working on literature, R.N Tagore also participated in the family business. In 1891, he went to East Bengal, which is now in Bangladesh, to look after his ancestral estates and lands at Shahzadpur and Shilaidaha for almost 10 years. He spent some time in a houseboat at Padma river, and his sympathy for village folk became the keynote of most literature later in his life. In East India, poems and other works of Rabindranath Tagore were published as a collection in the book called “Sonar Tari” and a very notable and celebrated play called “Chitrangada”. He has written over two thousand songs which are very popular in Bengal until now. When R.N Tagore was in his 60s, he tried his hand at painting, and for the talented man he was, his works won him a good name among India’s topmost contemporary artists.
Rabindranath Tagore and Shantiniketan
Rabindranath Tagore received his nickname “Gurudev”, out of respect by his pupils at his very unique and special school, which he established in Shantiniketan, called “Visva Bharati University” Santiniketan was developed and founded by the Tagore family. This little town was very close to Rabindranath Tagore.
R.N Tagore wrote several poems and songs about this place. Unlike other universities, “Visva Bharati” University was open to each student who was eager to learn. The classrooms and the scope for learning in this university were not confined within four walls. Instead, classes took place in open space, beneath the massive banyan trees on the university grounds. To this date, this ritual of attending classes in open spaces is practiced by the students and the teachers. R.N Tagore permanently moved to the school after.
Rabindranath Tagore Death and His Encounters with Death
R.N Tagore was only fourteen years old when Sharada Devi, his mother, passed away. After his mother's sudden and heartbreaking demise, R.N Tagore was mostly seen avoiding classrooms and schooling. Instead, he would roam about his town Bolpur. He had to face the death of several of his loved ones, that too, one after the other, which left him devastated and heartbroken. After his mother, R.N Tagore lost a very close friend and a very significant influence, Kadambari Devi, his sister-in-law. It is presumed that R.N Tagore’s novella called “Nastanirh” was about Kadambari Devi.
It is also believed that she had committed suicide four months after R.N Tagore’s marriage to Mrinalini Devi. There are some serious speculations made about R.N Tagore, and his sister-in-law sharing a very intimate relationship and that maybe the two were in love; however, there has been no confirmation on the same. Later, his wife, Mrinalini Devi, too died due to an illness. He lost his two daughters, Madhurilata, who R.N Tagore adored and was fond of the most due to tuberculosis, and Renuka and his son Shamindranath due to cholera. These deaths shook him to the core, but he never failed to pick up his pen again. Even though all these encounters with death gave him shaping his personality and writing style, he kept longing for a companion who shares the same interests as he does.
Life was a little less cruel to him at this point. When he found that companion, he had been longing for - his niece Indira Devi, who was highly educated and well-read. R.N Tagore wrote to her about some sensitive details about his life. These letters to Indira Devi witnessed the sheer vulnerability of his emotional state, sensibilities, and experiences. Since Indira Devi had copied all his letters in a notebook; it eventually got published. “Chinnapatra” can give one a glimpse of Tagore’s growth as a human and as an artist. Grief had been a constant part of R.N Tagore’s life, which is often reflected in his literary works; after losing Rabindranath Tagore's wife and daughters, he lost his father too. These years of sadness and sorrow, which were very actively reflected in his literary works, were introduced as “Gitanjali” which won him the Nobel Prize.
Rabindranath Tagore and His Nationalism
R.N Tagore was politically very aware and very critical at the same time, he not only criticized the British Raj, but he was also very vocal about the mistakes his fellow Bengalis and Indians made. These were reflected in the socio-political satires he wrote and published. When R.N Tagore had been awarded a knighthood, as a sign of protest against the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, he repudiated the award. Recognition, fame, money nothing mattered to him when it came to his country. He loved his country, the lands, rivers, and the people of his country very much.
It is thus quite right to say that Tagore opposed European colonialism and supported Indian nationalists. He also shunned the Swadeshi Movement and urged Indians to accept that education is the way forward. A blind revolution will only lead to the loss of lives and unwanted and unnecessary loss of life.
Rabindranath Tagore and His Love For Literature, Art, and Music
Some of the most renowned works of Tagore which are highly recommended works of literature are “Noukadubi'', “Shesher Kobita”, “Chaturanga”, “Gora”, “Char Adhyay”, “Jogajog”, “Ghare Baire”. “Ghare Baire'' was also produced as a film by another precious talent Satyajit Ray. His novels were very underappreciated in his time but gained a lot of respect after film directors like Tapan Sinha, Tarun Majumdar and of course, Satyajit Ray adapted and made feature films based on his novels. In popular culture, even his songs, poems and novels are employed in Movies and as background scores. The genre of the songs by Rabindranath Tagore are known as “Rabindra Sangeet'' and movies have been adapted and made out of his novels “Noukadubi” and “Chokher Bali”. It is highly recommended to read “Gitanjali'' to appreciate Tagore's poetic style and to appreciate some very heartfelt and moving songs that he wrote, it is recommended to listen to “Tobu Mone Rekho”.
In addition to all this, Rabindranath Tagore was a commendable artist and musician too. His paintings are celebrated both nationally and internationally and have received wide acclaim. His songs are considered to be at the heart of Bengal culture and his compilations are fondly termed Rabindra Sangeet. These songs elaborate on themes of love, worship, devotion, and so on. RN Tagore started painting at the age of 60. His brilliant artwork is displayed to this day in several museums globally.
Rabindranath Tagore And His Last Days
Rabindranath Tagore died in the place he loved the most. However, the last few years of his life were quite painful. He was affected by chronic illness during the last 4 years of his life. In 1937, he went into a comatose condition due to this prolonged suffering he was enduring. On August 7th in 1941, this great novelist, poet, musician, and painter passed away quietly in the same Jorasanko mansion in which he was brought up.
Here is everything students should know about Rabindranath Tagore, his life, his works and his achievements in life.