As you know today i.e 25th Baisakha(Bengali Calender) is the birthday for ‘Kabi Guru Rabindranath Thakur’. So, why not telling you guys about his biography. Let’s start.
He was a symbol of Indian culture. He was a poet, philosopher, musician, writer and educationist. Rabindranath Tagore was the first Asian to become Nobel laureate. He won the Nobel Prize in 1913 for his collection of ‘Gitanjali’.
He was popularly known as ‘Gurudev’ and ‘Rabi Thakur’ and his songs were popularly called ‘Rabindra Sangeet’. Two songs from his Rabindra Sangeet Canon are national songs from India and Bangladesh: ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and ‘Aamar Shonar Bangla’.
Childhood days of Gurudev
Rabindranath Thakur (Tagore )’s father was Debendranath Tagore and mother’s name was Sarada Devi. He was the youngest of their thirteen children. His father was a great Hindu philosopher and, ‘one of the founders of ‘Brahmo Samaj’.
All of them used to call him ‘Rabi’ at home. Tagore was very young when his mother passed away and his father was away most of the time, he had to come forward for domestic help.
Tagore was an artistic inspirational, known throughout Bengal for his powerful influence on Bengali culture and literature. He introduced the world of theater, music (both regional folk and western) and literature from an early age.
When he was eleven years old, he accompanied his father on a tour across India. During this trip, he read works of famous writers, including Kalidasa. When he returned in 1877, he created a poem in the Maithili style.
He moved to Brighton, East Sussex, England, to study law. He studied briefly at University College London, after which he began to study Shakespeare’s works. He returned to Bengal in 1880 without a degree and wooed Bengali and European traditions in his literary works.
In 1882, he wrote one of his most acclaimed poems, ‘Nirjarar Swapnabhanga’. In the year 1890 when his collection of poems ‘Mansi’ was released during a visit to his ancestral estate in Shiladaha. The period between 1891 and 1899 proved fruitful, during which he wrote ‘Galpaguchha’, a large three-volume collection of short stories.
In 1901, he moved to Shantiniketan, where he composed ‘Naivedya’ published in 1901, ‘Kheya‘ in 1906. After that many of his works were published and he gained immense popularity among Bengali readers.
In 1912, he went to England. There he introduced his compositions to some of the leading writers including William Butler Yates, Ezra Pound, Robert Bridges, Ernest Rhys and Thomas Starge Moore.
After the publication of Gitanjali, his popularity in the English-speaking countries increased manifold and later in 1913 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
In 1915, he was granted a knighthood by the British Crown, which he later renounced after the 1919 ‘Jallianwala Bagh’ massacre. From May 1916 to April 1917, he lived in Japan and the United States where he lectured on ‘nationalism’ and personality.
In the 1920s and 1930s, he traveled extensively around the world. During his extensive tours in Latin America, Europe and South-East Asia, he earned endless fans.
Tagore’s political outlook was a bit unclear. Although he pressured imperialism, he supported the continuation of British administration in India.
He criticized the indigenous movement by Mahatma Gandhi, The Cult of Charkha was published in 1925. He believed in the co-existence of British and Indians and said that British rule in India is a “political trait and our social disease”. He never supported nationalism and considered to be one of the biggest challenges facing humanity.
In this context, he once said, “A nation is that which considers an entire population when a mechanical purpose is held”. Nevertheless, he occasionally supported the Indian independence movement and abandoned his knighthood award on 30 May 1919 after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
His idea of an independent India was not only based on his freedom from foreign rule, but also on the freedom of thought, action and conscience of citizens.
Work Done by Rabindranath Tagore
Although he is more famous as a poet, Tagore was also an equally good short story writer, lyricist, novelist, playwright, essayist and painter.
His poems, stories, songs and novels provided an insight into society, prevalent with religious and social principles and suffering from diseases such as child marriage.
He denounced the idea of a male-dominated society, adding to the subtle, soft, and spirited aspect of femininity, which fell short of man’s insensitivity.
When we read any of his works, one certainly comes to the fore. This great writer grew up in the lap of nature as a child who left a deep impression on him which created a sense of freedom, which freed our mind, body and soul from the prevalent social customs of those days.
No matter how close he was to nature, he was never far from the harsh realities of life. He saw life and society all around him, weighed down by rigid customs and norms, criticized by his social criticisms of conservatism, the underlying theme of most of his work.
‘Gitanjali’, a collection of poems, is considered one of his best poems. It was written in the traditional Bengali dialect. Containing 157 poems based on themes related to nature, spirituality and the complexity of (human) emotions and penetration.
Rabindranath Tagore was an accomplished lyricist, Tagore wrote 2,230 songs, often referred to as ‘Rabindra Sangeet’. He also wrote the national anthem for India – Jana Gana Mana – and Bangladesh – ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’, for which we will always remain indebted to him.
‘Galpaguchha’ collection of eighty stories is a collection of his most famous short stories that revolve around the lives of the rural people of Bengal. The stories mostly have themes of poverty, illiteracy, marriage, femininity etc. and still enjoy a lot of popularity today.
Awards and Achievements
On 14 November 1913, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his important and revolutionary literary works.
He was also awarded the title of Knighthood in 1915 which he later abandoned in 1919 after the Jallianwala Bagh slaughter. In 1940, Oxford University awarded him the degree of Doctorate of Literature in a special ceremony held at Shantiniketan.
Personal Life of Kabi Guru Rabindranath Thakur
In 1883 Rabindranath Tagore married Mrinalini Devi and they have five children. Sadly, his wife died in 1902 and later his two children Renuka (in 1903) and Samandranath (in 1907) also died.
Last Stage of Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore became physically weak during the last few years of his life. He died on 7 August 1941 at the age of 80 and thus it became the saddest day for us.
You will be remembered always for your fantastic work on many fields till our death.
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