Rabindranath Tagore, popularly known as “Kabiguru”, was born on May 7, 1861, in Kolkata at Tagore Lahne, Jorashanko Thakur Bari. His father was Debendranath Tagore, and his mother was Sharada Devi. Tagore was a Bengali Brahman and was fondly called by his nickname was “Rab”, or “Rabi”. His name is also written as Rabindranath Thakur in many languages of India. He was an artist, philosopher and poet. He wrote numerous stories, novels, poems and dramas and is also known for composing music. His writings mainly influenced the Bengali culture during the 19th and 20th century. His pen name was Bhanu Singha Thakur (Bhonita). He was the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.
He wrote his first poem at the age of eight. In 1877, Tagore published his first extensive poetry collection and wrote his first short story and drama at the age of sixteen. Tagore also composed many literary works. He also wrote a long poem in Maithili (the language spoken by the people of Mithila, India).
Tagore went to London and enrolled at a public school in Brighton, England, in the year 1878. Tagore wanted to become a barrister, but in 1880, he did not do well in school, and his father called him back from London. On December 9, 1883, Tagore got married to a girl of ten years, Mrinalini Devi. They had five children together, but two of them died in their childhood. During 1878 and 1932, Tagore visited thirty countries across five continents. Tagore wrote around 2,230 songs. His songs and music cover aspects of human emotion, devotional hymns and love songs. “Gitanjali” and “Jeevan Smriti” by Tagore are still cherished today. Tagore was also known as “Gurudev” and “Bard of Bengal”.
Here are a few things that you need to about him-
- He is the only person who has written anthems for three countries:
- Jana Gana Mana, the National anthem of India.
- Amar Shonar Bangla, the National anthem of Bangladesh.
- Sri Lanka Matha, the National anthem of Sri Lanka.
- Rabindranath Tagore was not only the first Asian to win a Noble prize but also the first non-European to mark his prominence in literature.
- He invested his Noble prize money in constructing the school “VisvaBharati” in Shantiniketan.
- In his last years, Tagore took up drawing and painting, and his works were successfully exhibited throughout Europe.
- He was knighted in 1915 by the King George V of England, for his extraordinary contributions to literature. But after the tragic massacre of Jallianwala Bagh in 1919, Tagore renounced his title.
- Tagore’s Literary Works Find Global Recognition
- The literary works of Tagore are translated into many other languages, and it also found acceptance in the West. Tagore’s poetries, philosophy and political beliefs are studied all over the world, even today.
- Rabindranath Tagore has inspired many generations through his writings, poetry and thoughts. ‘Gitanjali’ by Rabindranath Tagore was published in 1910; it was translated and published into English in 1912. Some of his timeless poems continue to resonate with his creative charm and are still relevant.
LATER YEARS AND DEATH
Tagore wrote a hundred-line poem about poverty in Kolkata. Tagore wrote fifteen volumes of prose poems. Tagore took an interest in science and essays in his later years. The health of Tagore in his last four years was deplorable. In late 1937, he lost consciousness. He was in a coma for a long time. Eventually, he woke up, but after three years, he went back into a coma. During these years, whenever he was conscious, he wrote poems. He wrote poems about how he came close to death. On August 7, 1941, at the age of 80, Rabindranath Tagore died in his childhood home in Kolkata.
RABINDRANATH TAGORE JAYANTI AMIDST THE PANDEMIC
A senior official said that due to the ongoing lockdown to fight with COVID-19, the West Bengal government has decided to celebrate the birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore less colourfully. The state government will observe the occasion of Rabindra Jayanti at 4 PM on May 8. The honourable chief minister will remain present at the programme. A big celebration like other years, social gatherings will not be allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The chief minister will garland the statue of Tagore, and the stage for singing will not be there, the official said.