Who does not know about the Great Rabindranath Tagore in India? The person whom we remember every time we utter the lyrics of India’s National Anthem! The master of Bengali literature, Rabindranath Tagore, is just not another great poet but he is quite more than that. We might have seen him in different ways, from every dance programme song to every textbook-poetry, but do we often explore the sides of Rabindranath Tagore as the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize? I guess no!
The Childhood Days of Rabindranath Tagore
Born on 7th May 1861, Rabindranath Tagore was the youngest of the thirteen children of Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi. Most of his childhood days were spent in the big mansion of Jorasanko where the servants of this aristocratic family raised him. As a child, Tagore never liked schools, and he never received a formal school degree as well.
His college memory only stayed with him for a single day only. However, he was tutored well in the home. From swimming and gymnastics to enhance skills in drawing and geography, little Rabi was quite forced to learn this all.
But his prodigious talent bloomed through other ways — poems. Just at the age of eight, Rabindranath Tagore first authored his first ever poem. And the first two lines of his decent poetry was — ‘Jol Pore, Pata Nore’.
The Evolution of his Poetries — The Published Works of Tagore
Although at the early age, he loathed the idea of formal studying and going to schools, later in his life he travelled to Britain to study and acquire knowledge. His father wanted him to be a barrister, so teen Tagore was enrolled at a public school in Brighton, East Sussex. Later he went to University College of London to leave it in the middle, again.
The poetic soul of Tagore always wandered through the plays of Shakespeare and works of Thomas Browne. So, he returned to India in the year 1880 and started writing poems, novels and stories. Tagore’s poems started quite a buzz in Bengal, but it had only a little impact in other parts of India.
Santiniketan and Tagore’s Immortal Work ‘Gitanjali’
After getting married in the year of 1883, Tagore moved to an ‘ashram’ in Santiniketan. The Santiniketan days changed his life. Tagore’s little grove of trees, garden and the experimental school brought him quite a fame. Not only that, but he also published his two famous novels — ‘Naivedya’ and ‘Kheya’. In 1901, Tagore’s wife died, and this event left him distraught. But his work of literature came to a halt.
Then came the historic year of 1913! While he was in Santiniketan, Tagore translated poems into free verse and published them in the name of ‘Gitanjali’. And after a short period of the publication, Rabindranath Tagore received the ‘Nobel Prize in Literature’ of 1913. He was not only the first Indian to win the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature, but he was the first Asian ever to win the prestigious Nobel Prize.
Quotes by Rabindranath Tagore
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”
“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.”
“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”
“It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.”
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.”
“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”
“Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for she was born in another time.”
“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”
“By plucking her petals you do not gather the beauty of the flower.”
“Love is an endless mystery, because there is no reasonable cause that could explain it.”
“We read the world wrong and say that it deceives us.”
“The biggest changes in a women’s nature are brought by love; in man, by ambition.”
“Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.”
“The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.”
“Beauty is simply reality seen with the eyes of love.”
“Only in love are unity and duality not in conflict.”
“Depth of friendship does not depend on length of acquaintance.”
“In Art, man reveals himself and not his objects.”
It is quite hard to comprehend the vast life and works of Rabindranath Tagore. From dramas, stories, novels to paintings and songs, Rabindranath Tagore did not leave any field of literature untouched. He did not only win many prizes and titles, but he also won the hearts of thousands of Indians through the years.
From ‘Gora’ to ‘Ghare-Baire’, his perception towards life was something that startled the world. Although he died on 7th August 1941 at the age of 80, he still lives in the hearts of Indian and he always will.
Written By: Subharthi Bhattacharya