An avid Bengali in the midst of the Bengal Renaissance, Debendranath Tagore was born on May 7, 1861. He was the youngest child in a line of thirteen children and was primarily raised by servants as his father did not stay home much throughout his childhood. In 1881, at the age of 25 years old, he published his first book called “Sandhya Sangit”. At 26 years old he released his first short story called “Bhikharini”. Lastly, at age 36 he published a collection of poems that he'd been writing under the name "Bhanusimha".
He found inspiration while reading Kalidasa's classical poems and so he wrote poetry of his own. His siblings served as some of his sources of inspiration and influence. One brother was in a very prestigious position, whereas another was a poet and philosopher. One sister was a very well-known novelist; she also taught Tagore mathematics, history, anatomy, and art amongst other topics. He learned about Sikhism from studying them in detail during one of his journeys to Amritsar. Afterward, he would write up to six poems and numerous articles about the religion.
Rabindranath Tagore: Education
Rabindranath Tagore studied in England for about 2 years when he was just 15 years old. He resided in a public school and the University College of London then taught him how to read and write in English, Irish, and Scottish literature. Once, he met his wife Mrinalini Devi when she was just 10 years old. His father intended that he would become a barrister, however, Rabindranath didn't want to pursue law after studying the basics of it, so he decided to return to India.
Establishment of Santiniketan by Rabindranath Tagore
After Rabindranath Tagore's father bought a huge property in Santiniketan and moved there. He established an ashram with the intention of opening an experimental school on his father's property. On this property, he used the conventional Guru-Shishya method of teaching, which was called "The Mandir." This ancient method was a prayer hall with marble flooring, and it is where Rabindranath felt that education should be reinvented again.
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Literary Works of Rabindranath Tagore
Tagore is best known for his short story “Bhikharini.” Aside from this work, he wrote a variety of other stories, some of which are “Kabuliwala,” “Kshudita Pashan,” “Atottju,” “Haimanti,” and the short story collection "Musalmanir Golpo."
Tagore is well-known for his works that deal with the topic of nationalism. One of the causes of this might be his distinct narrative style, which is still challenging for readers today. In addition, he also addressed future threats such as nationalism and other important societal problems in his writings.
His book, “Shesher Kobita” presented its tale through poetry and the rhythmic narration of the main character. Rabindranath Tagore was a successful poet so he added a sarcastic touch by having his characters make fun of him in his creations! Other well-known books include “Noukadubi,” “Gora,” “Chaturanga,” “Ghare Baire,” and “Jogajog.”
Rabindranath was influenced by classical poets from the 15th and 16th centuries, including Ramprasad Sen and Kabir. His work is frequently compared to theirs, which includes “Balaka,” “Purobi,” “Sonar Tori,” and “Gitanjali.”
Rabindranath Tagore: Political view
The views and work of Tagore are a little ambiguous, but despite any criticism he has for imperialism in general, he supports British rule in India. In his essay "The Cult of the Charka," which was published in September of 1925, he opposes Mahatma Gandhi's "Swadeshi Movement." He thinks that the British and Indians alike should coexist and claims that British occupation of India is a "political symptom of our social disease."
He opposed nationalism and said that it was one of the worst problems humanity had ever faced. Though he occasionally supported the "Indian Independence Movement," he once said that "a nation is that aspect which a whole population assumes when organized for a mechanical purpose." He even renounced his knighthood on May 30, 1919, in response to the "Jallianwala Bagh massacre." Overall, his vision of a free India was based not on its independence from foreign rule, but on the inhabitants' freedom of conscience and thinking.
Awards & Achievements of Rabindranath Tagore
In 1913, Tagore was given the Nobel Prize in Literature for his significant and groundbreaking literary achievements. In 1919, following the “Jallianwala Bagh massacre,” he renounced his knighthood. In 1940, Oxford University gave him a Doctorate of Literature during a special ceremony held at Shantiniketan.
Death of Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore devoted his last years to writing and educating. As a writer and educator, the Nobel laureate sought to engender change by serving traditions, values, and ideals. With two protracted illnesses and four years of excruciating suffering, he passed away on August 7, 1941, at the age of 85 in his Jorasanko mansion where he was raised.
Rabindranath Tagore: Legacy
Rabindranath Tagore is revered as an eminent author with influences that have changed how Bengali literature is perceived. Various international annual events honor the eminent author, as well as the many statues and sculptures that have been created around the world. There are five Tagore-specific museums in India and one in Bangladesh, housing his famous works and millions of people come to visit them each year.
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