Tuesday, 24th April 2018
24 April 2018
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Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore

He was an Indian poet, philosophers, and social theorist. He is one of the most disguised and respected men of letters of India. He was also a novelist, play, wright, painter, educationist, freedom fighter and an actor.

Birth and work

Tagore was born on 7th May 1861 in Kolkata. He was the son of Devendranath a synthesis of eastern and western values. So he founded an experimental village and a school which eliminated the usual restrictions. It is an international educational institute ‘Shantiniketan’ situated at Bolepur in west Bengal. It was later developed into Vishwa Bharati University

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Rabindranath Tagore’s writing is deeply rooted in both Indian and Western learning traditions. Apart from fiction in the form of poetry, songs, stories, and dramas, it also includes portrayals of common people’s lives, literary criticism, philosophy, and social issues. Rabindranath Tagore originally wrote in Bengali, but later reached a broad audience in the West after recasting his poetry in English. In contrast to the frenzied life in the West, his poetry was felt to convey the peace of the soul in harmony with nature.

Tagore received the Nobel prize for literature in 1913. Written in Bengali his works reflect his myriad interests. He is most famous in the west for his books of religious verse called ‘Gitanjali’ (1912). Besides the Gitanjali his other well known poetic works include Sonar Tari, Puravi, The Evening Songs and The Morning Songs. Gora, Vibha, Raja Rani, Nauka Dubi, and Binodini are some of his novels. Chitra is his famous play in verse. National anthem of India “Jana Gana Mana………” was composed by him. He was called Gurudeva. The British government conferred him with the title ‘Sir’. But he returned it in 1919, in protest against the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy.

The Gitanjali

During the first 51 years of his life, he achieved some success in the Calcutta area of India where he was born and raised with his many stories, songs, and plays. His short stories were published monthly in a friend’s magazine and he even played the lead role in a few of the public performances of his plays. Otherwise, he was little known outside of the Calcutta area, and not known at all outside of India.

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This all suddenly changed in 1912. He then returned to England for the first time since his failed attempt at law school as a teenager. Now a man of 51, his was accompanied by his son. On the way over to England, he began translating, for the first time, his latest selections of poems, Gitanjali, into English. Almost all of his work prior to that time had been written in his native tongue of Bengali. He decided to do this just to have something to do, with no expectation at all that his first-time translation efforts would be any good. He made the handwritten translations in a little notebook he carried around with him and worked on during the long sea voyage from India. Upon arrival, his son left his father’s briefcase with this notebook in the London subway. Fortunately, an honest person turned in the briefcase and it was recovered the next day. Tagore’s one friend in England, a famous artist he had met in India, Rothenstein, learned of the translation and asked to see it. Reluctantly, with much persuasion, Tagore let him have the notebook. The painter could not believe his eyes. The poems were incredible. He called his friend, W.B. Yeats, and finally talked Yeats into looking at the hand-scrawled notebook.

The rest, as they say, is history. Yeats was enthralled. He later wrote the introduction to Gitanjali when it was published in September 1912 in a limited edition by the India Society in London. Thereafter, both the poetry and the man were an instant sensation, first in London literary circles, and soon thereafter in the entire world. His spiritual presence was awesome. His words evoked great beauty. Nobody had ever read anything like it. A glimpse of the mysticism and sentimental beauty of Indian culture were revealed to the West for the first time.

Novels

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European Outside the house Four limbed
Chapter four Eye Bali Two sisters
Boat capsizes Butterfly happening Wife mother hats
Malancha Communication Rajarishi
The last poem

Stories

Giribala The Parrot`s Training The Patriot
The Victory

Plays

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Autumn-Festival Chitra Malini
Red Oleanders Sacrifice Sanyasi or the Ascetic
The Gardener The King and the Queen The Trial
The Waterfall Stalemate Unbodied gem
Loan Kalamrgaya Travel time
Story Guru House warming
Starters defect Candalika Chitrabgada
Bachelor-Meeting Post office Tapati
Country cards Natarajan Natira worship
Dance candalika Dance Chitrabgada Dance drama Mayar Khela
Young Nalini Revenge of nature
Atonement Salvation Pay
Falguni Humor Spring
Valmiki Pratibha Valmiki Pratibha – First Edition Bamsari
Bye-curse Abandonment Short abandonment
Baikuntha register Heartbroken Crown
Display Way to salvation Maya game
Malancha Malini Communication
Rakta Rudracanda King
King and Queen Shyama Srabanagatha
Sapamocana Saradotsaba Last rain
Sesaraksa Quits Beautiful
Pleasantry

Death of the poet

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Rabindranath Tagore died on 8th August 1941 at the age of 80. He was a great nationalist. “Where the mind is without fear” is one of the famous poems of Tagore.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Facts about Tagore

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  • Tagore’s birth anniversary is widely celebrated by the Bengali community on Baisakh 25 – which coincides this year with May 9 – and ‘Pachishe (25th) Baishakh’ is an important cultural occasion.
    This year too, top leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh paid their tributes to the poet on May 7, two days ahead of Baisakh 25.
  • Most people know that Tagore wrote the national anthems of India and Bangladesh – ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’ respectively.But few know that Sri Lanka’s national anthem is based on a Bengali song originally written by Tagore in 1938. It was translated into Sinhalese and adopted as the national anthem in 1951.
  • He wrote successfully in all literary genres, but was first and foremost a poet, publishing more than 50 volumes of poetry. He was a Bengali writer who was born in Calcutta and later traveled around the world. He was knighted in 1915, but gave up his knighthood after the massacre of demonstrators in India in 1919.
  • Rabindranath Tagore was born on May 6, 1861 in Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India. He is known for his work on Charulata (1964), Ghare-Baire (1984) and Kabuliwala (1957). He was married to Mrinalini Devi. He died on August 7, 1941 in Calcutta.
  • His grandfather Dwarkanath was involved in supporting medical facilities, educational institutions and the arts, and he fought for religious and social reform and the establishment of a free press. His father was also a leader in social and religious reform, who encouraged a multi-cultural exchange in the family mansion Jorasanko. Within the joint family, Rabindranath’s thirteen brothers and sisters were mathematicians, journalists, novelists, musicians, artists. His cousins, who shared the family mansion, were leaders in theatre, science and a new art movement.

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