Rabindranath Tagore

The youngest son of Maharshi Debendranath was born 1861, in Calcutta. Rabindranath Tagore was a philosopher, a poet, an author and a saint, and became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. During the literary revival of Bengal, Sir Rabindranath Tagore was one of its most prominent figures. His literary career began early, inspired by the songs of Vidyapathi and Chandidas. At the age of fourteen, he produced a musical opera called Genius of Valmiki. He wrote essays for various magazines, especially his family magazine, Bharati. Following his marriage at twenty-three, he unwillingly managed the Shilaida estate under his fathers’ orders. Though he disliked the enforced seclusion at first, his art grew broader and deeper due to his self-communion and meditation. He also made observations of the Bengali peasant life. When Bengal began a national revival, Rabindranath found himself drawn to the movement and became a leader of the Indian Renaissance. Later, he founded a school in Bolphur, hoping to recapture the meditative calm of ancient India. When he was thirty-five, he lost his wife, his daughter and his youngest son. Rather than souring his nature, his writings took on a higher and more spiritual note. Thereafter, he went to England and began translating some of his works. The lectures he delivered in England and America were collected under the name Sadhana. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1913 and he devoted the entire prize sum, 8,000 pounds, to his school in Bolpur. In December 1913, the Calcutta University conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Literature. He was subsequently knighted. He went on extensive lecture tours in America and Asia and was welcomed everywhere with great enthusiasm. He spent his last few years in poor health, but that did not impair his intellectual prowess. Sir Rabindranath Tagore passed away on 7 August 1941, remembered as a literary genius whose work express passionate love for his motherland and its changes and modern culture. Source: L. F. Rushbrook Williams, Great Men of India (Bombay: 1939); Indian Nation Builders (Madras: Ganesh and Co,  1915)

Works

Letters: Extracts from Old Letters of Rabindranath Tagore (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1917) Creative Unity (London: Macmillan and Co., 1922) Nationalism (London: Macmillan and Co., 1917) Greater India (S. Ganesan, 1921) Glimpses of Bengal: Selected Letters, 1885-95 (London: Macmillan and Co., 1921)

Ideas of IndiaIdeas of India