Rabindranath Tagore is not someone who needs any introduction. Rabindranath Tagore has made an impact on Indian literature which is comparable to William Shakespeare’s influence on western literature
Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali poet, novelist, painter and the first non-European to be awarded Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for his book Gitanjali, Song Offerings. He was also highly influential in introducing Indian culture to the West and is generally regarded as the outstanding creative artist of modern India.
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was educated at home; and although at seven he was sent to England for formal schooling, he could not finish his studies there. He had early success as a writer in his native Bengal. With his translations of some of his poems he became rapidly known in the West. His fame started to attain a luminous height, taking him across continents on lecture tours and tours of friendship. For the world he became India’s spiritual heritage; and for India, especially for Bengal, he became a great living institution.
StyleWhack brings you to a few must know facts about Rabindranath Tagore on account of his 155th birth anniversary
- Most people know that Tagore wrote the national anthems of India and Bangladesh ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and ‘Amar Sonar Bangla.’ Well, Jana Gana Mana was written on 11 December, 1911 and sung on 28 December, 1911 at the Indian national Congress, Calcutta and again in January, 1912 at the annual event of Adi Brahmo Samaj. 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. But controversy shadowed Jana Gana Mana from the day of its first rendition on 28 December1911 at the twenty-seventh session of the Indian national Congress at Calcutta. Emperor George V was scheduled to arrive in the city on 30 December and a section of the Anglo-Indian English press in Calcutta thought – and duly reported – that Tagore’s hymn was homage to the emperor.
- Tagore was a painter who played an important role in modernizing Bengali art. And he was a nationalist who gave up his knighthood to protest British policies in colonial India after Jalianwala Bagh massacre.
- Tagore was born, according to the Gregorian calendar, on May 7 in 1861 but according to the Bengali calendar, it was the 25th of Baishakh. Tagore’s birth anniversary is widely celebrated by the Bengali community on Baishakh 25.
The Nobel Prize
- When Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1913, he became the first non-European to win it. He was awarded the prize after the publication of his acclaimed collection of poems Gitanjali. Tagore was recognized, according to the Nobel committee’s statement, “Because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West.”
- Unfortunately, in 2004, the prize was stolen from the safety vault of Visva-Bharati University. Later, the Swedish Academy presented two replicas of the prize, one made of gold and the other of bronze, to Visva Bharati University.
Although Tagore wrote successfully in all literary genres, he was first of all a poet. Among his fifty and odd volumes of poetry are
Manasi (1890) (The Ideal One)
Sonar Tari (1894) (The Golden Boat)
Gitanjali (1910) (Song Offerings)
Gitimalya (1914) (Wreath of Songs) and
Balaka (1916) (The Flight of Cranes)
The English renderings of his poetry, which include
The Gardener (1913), Fruit-Gathering (1916), and The Fugitive (1921), do not generally correspond to particular volumes in the original Bengali; and in spite of its title, Gitanjali: Song Offerings (1912), the most acclaimed of them, contains poems from other works besides its namesake.
Tagore’s major plays are
Raja (1910) (The King of the Dark Chamber)
Dakghar (1912) (The Post Office)
Achalayatan (1912) (The Immovable),
Muktadhara (1922) (The Waterfall) and
Raktakaravi (1926) (Red Oleanders)
Stories that translated into must watch cinemas are
We are so grateful to attempt to write a comprehensive article about such a great personality. Even though Rabindranath Tagore was a literary figure and philosopher of world stature, his anchor was Bengal and we pay tribute to a towering figure in the millennium-old literature of Bengal. Happy 155th Birthday to you!