Rabindranath Tagore : The Unforgettable Legend

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“Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them.” said Tagore.

One of the most heroic poets of India, at a time when the country was going through a tumultuous period during the British rule. Rabindranath Tagore, one of the epoch-making figures of the twentieth century, is one of the most widely acclaimed word-smith of India.

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May 7 this year marks the 156th birth anniversary of one of India’s most loved, respected and influential poets of all time – Rabindranath Tagore.

Often hailed as Gurudev or the poet of poets, Tagore, through the sheer brilliance of his narratives and in-commensurable poetic flair, laid an ineffaceable impression on the minds of his readers.

CHILDHOOD AND HIS EARLY LIFE

Rabindranath Thakur (Tagore) was the youngest of the thirteen children born to Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi. His father was a great Hindu philosopher and one of the founders of the religious movement, ‘Brahmo Samaj’.. He was educated at home; and although at seventeen he was sent to England for formal schooling, he did not finish his studies there.

In addition to his many-sided literary activities, he managed the family estates, a project which brought him into close touch with common humanity and increased his interest in social reforms. He also started an experimental school at Shantiniketan where he tried his Upanishadic ideals of education.

From time to time he participated in the Indian nationalist movement, though in his own non-sentimental and visionary way; and Gandhi, the political father of modern India, was his devoted friend. Tagore was knighted by the ruling British Government in 1915, but within a few years he returned the honour as a protest against British policies in India.

MAJOR WORK

Tagore 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. In fact his fame attained a luminous height, taking him across continents on lecture tours and tours of friendship.

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For the world he became the voice of India’s spiritual heritage; and for India, especially for Bengal, he became a great living institution. 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].

He is the author of several volumes of short stories and a number of novels, among them Gora (1910), Ghare-Baire (1916) [The Home and the World], and Yogayog (1929) [Crosscurrents]. Besides these, he wrote musical dramas, dance dramas, essays of all types, travel diaries, and two autobiographies, one in his middle years and the other shortly before his death in 1941. Tagore also left numerous drawings and paintings, and songs for which he wrote the music himself.

QUOTES BY TAGORE

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 when the dawn is still dark.

You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.

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.

Are few unforgettable quotes for thoughts.

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