Tagore was born on the 7th of May 1861 as the ninth son
of Maharishi Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi. His whole
family was culturally quite rich and thus they appreciated
the young Rabindranath's love for epic literature and language.
He also possessed an innate affinity towards reading and
writing about nature. The primary years of Rabindranath's
education were from home. Although he was showed enthusiastic
interest in writing, during his early years of education,
Tagore was less interested in his other subjects of study.
Rabindranath Tagore spent his youth in an atmosphere ornamented
with religion and arts, principally literature and music.
In religion, he enjoyed studying the Vedas and the Upanishads.
music Tagore found Indian classical to be inspirational.As
he grew up he became more and more attached to the nature.
Many scholars of Bengali literature thus refer him to as
the "earthly poet". At the age of seven, Rabindranath
was admitted in Oriental Seminary. At the age of eleven,
he was transferred to Bengal Academy. It was near this time
period that Rabindranath had composed his first prose piece
that was published by his friend. The next year, Unfortunately,
shortly after at the age of fourteen, his mother, Sarada
Devi was deceased. In the age of seventeen, Rabindranath
Tagore went to Ahmedabad, to meet his second eldest brother,
Satyendranath Tagore, under whose supervision, he would
sail to England to receive further studies under the guidance
of professor Henry Morley. After arriving at London, he
was admitted into London University where he studied law
for some years. It was here that some more of his early
works were published.
studied at London only for a year. He returned to India
in 1880, after a year's stay at London. Coming back to India,
he composed many of his new works including Valmiki Prativa,
Kalmrigaya and Sandhya Sangeet to mention a few. In 1883,
Rabindranath was married to Bhabatarini Devi at the age
of twenty-two. Later her name was changed to Mrinalini Devi.
Their first child, Madhurilata was born in 1886. During
this time, Rabindranath wrote many poems and prose pieces
dedicating it to his family life and his wife. They include
Kadi-o-Kamal (Sharp and Flats), Raja-o-Rani (King and Queen)
and Visarjan (Sacrifice). In 1890, their second child, Renuka
was born. In 1890, Rabindranath went to Shilaidaha(now in
the country of Bangladesh) to take care of his family estates.
There he was overcome by an intense love for the simplicity
and rural atmosphere of Bengal. His visit to Shilaidaha
brought him closer to the common humanity and increased
his interest in social reforms. It was here that he had
composed his famous musical drama Chitrangada. In 1894,
his son Samindra was born.
1901, he started an experimental school named Visva-Bharati
to show his distaste for the poor quality of education and
teaching. The Visva-Bharati consists of many institutions,
schools and centers that provide education to children.
Also in the same year, Rabindranath Tagore was chosen as
the chief-editor of the magazine Bangadarshan. Sadly, in
1902, his wife Mrinalini Devi died. He composed Smaran (in
memoriam), a collection of poems and dedicated it to his
wife. Soon after he was involved in Freedom Fighting movement.
Tagore was a proud and ardent patriot. His most intense
period of political activity was in the years following
1905, when the agitation due to the partition of Bengal
was at its acme. Unfortunately in 1905, Rabindranath's father,
Maharishi Debendrnath Tagore deceased. In 1915, Tagore was
knighted by the British Government. However he renounced
it in 1919 to protest the massacre of Amritsar. During his
freedom campaigns he came close to and made friends with
Mahatma Gandhi, the political father of modern India. He
established many ashrams to create peace during this time
and to provide shelter to people. He was emphatically against
the decision of the British Government on dividing Bengal
on the basis of religion. He wrote a number of poems and
national songs to express his disapproval. He introduced
the Rahkibandhan ceremony in India, symbolizing the underlying
unity that can bring the divided Bengal together. In 1909,
he began writing the Gitanjali. Soon after in 1911, he composed
Janaganamana which later became the national anthem of India.
In 1912, Rabindranath traveled to Europe for the second
time. On the long journey to London, he translated many
of his poems and songs to English. With the help of William
Rothenstein, a reputed British painter, he came to know
W.B. Yeats who played an instrumental role in publishing
Gitanjali. Soon after he traveled to America to give lectures
and attend conferences. While his visit to America, Gitanjali
was published and was immediately had a sensational effect
on English literary world. In 1912, Rabindranath Tagore
was awarded the Noble Prize for literature for his work,
Gitanjali. He was the first Asian to receive the prize.
Soon after he returned to Calcutta. Due to his Noble Prize,
Tagore became world famous. He traveled to many countries
including parts of Japan, South America, North America,
Asia Hong Kong, and Europe to offer lectures, meet with
people and give speeches. In 1919, Rabindranath was once
again knighted by the British government. He however again
refused the offer to protest for the massacre at Jalianwalabag,
Punjab. In 1921, Rabindranath after many failed tries, founded
the Visva-Bharati University. He put all his monetary reward
from the Noble prize and most of his royalty money to the
His work brought him to many other places around the globe
including Russia, Canada and many more. In 1940, the Oxford
University arranged a special ceremony in Santiniketan to
honor Tagore with the title, Doctorate of Literature. His
last visit to lecture was at Sri Lanka in the year 1934.
After that, he spent the rest of his life mostly at Calcutta.
Tagore passed away on 7th August, 1941. Even hours before
his demise on the 7th of August, he wrote some of his last
poems. Although Tagore left the material world, his beauty,
creative genius and excellence are still alive in his work
and deep inside soul of people.
Rabindranath Tagore's contributions to the world are beyond
measure. They can only be marveled at. His first and foremost
contribution was the wealth of songs, poems and prose that
he had composed. His gift to literature is nothing less
than amazing. They include one thousand poems; nearly two
dozen plays and play-lets; eight novels; eight or more volumes
of short stories and more than two thousands songs. His
most famous work is Gitanjali which compiles many of his
most famous works. His work is enjoyed and
celebrated all over the globe to this date.
1348) in an upstairs room of the Jorasanko mansion in which
he was raised; his death anniversary is still mourned in
public functions held across the Bangla-speaking world.