Rabindranath Tagore Biography
Rabindranath Tagore, born on May 7,1861 in Calcutta to Dabendrenath Tagore and Sarada Devi is a famous Bengali writer. An evader of classes, Tagore joined presidency College for a day. His father’s desire forced him into a public School in Brighton, East Sussex in 1878 and he also read law at the London University College for a brief period. He opted for independent study of Shakespeare, Religio Medici and Antony and Cleopatra. English, Irish and Scottish folk tunes fascinated his young mind.
In 1883 he was married to Mrinalini Devi and had five children, two of whom died in childhood. In 1890, Tagore began managing his ancestral estates in Bangladesh and moved to Santiniketan in 1901. The author if ‘Naivedya’ (1901) and ‘Kheya’(1906) won that year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. He was granted a knighthood by the British Crown for his 1912 Gitanjali which he relinquished after the Jallianwala bagh Massacre. Tagore and agricultural economist Leonard Elmhirst founded the “Institute for Rural Reconstruction” which was later renamed as “Shriniketan” or “Abode of Welfare”.
A person sensitive towards the condition of Dalits in our country, he made them heroes of his poems and songs and campaigned to open Guruvayoor temple for these underprivileged people. In his golder years 1932-1941, he penned fifteen volumes and prose poem works ‘Punashcha’(1932), ‘Shes Saptak’(1936) and ‘Patraput’(1936). This great artist had been an ardent traveler. Between 1878 and 1932, he travelled more than thirty countries on five continents. His travels gave him the opportunity to interact wih other great minds like Einstein, Robert Frost, H.G Wells among others.
His inspiration for biology, physics and astronomy is visible in his work ‘Visva Parichay’(1937). ‘Se’(1937), ‘Tin Sangi’(1940) and ‘Galpasalpa’(1941) are an evidence of his venture into science through the medium of stories. A writer of novels, poems, essays, short stories, dramas and songs, Tagore was most regarded for his short stories. His immense contribution in the field of music and art comprises of 2230 songs and many beautiful paintings. In 1971, his song Amar Shonar bangle became the national anthem of Bangladesh, originally written to protest against the 1905 Partition of Bengal.
First sung at the Calcutta session of the Indian Nation Congress, Jana Gana Mana was written in shadhu-bhasha and was adopted in 1950 as its national anthem by the Constituent Assembly of the Republic of India. At the age of sixty, Tagore discovered the hidden painter in himself and his paintings were presented in many exhibitions. The first one being in Paris and then capturing minds throughout Europe. Theatre too was his cup of tea. At the age of twenty, he wrote his first drama-opera ‘Valmiki Pratibha’ and explored a wide range of dramatic styles and emotions through it.
However in the last five years of his life illness infected him and he became a patient of chronic ailments. The signs of his approaching end were visible when he first lost his consciousness in 1937 and remained comatose and near death for a time. He never recovered after that. His death on 7th August 1941 relieved him of his agony and pain. The world wept at the loss of the greatest music, literature and art maestro.