Life History of Rabindranath Tagore

Life History of Rabindranath Tagore

Life History of Rabindranath Tagore

Introduction to the Poet

Rabindra Nath Tagore was born Monday, May 7th 1861 (Vaisakha 25, Saka Era 1783, Bengali Era 1268). His father was Debendranath Tagore and mother was Sarada Devi. In 1865 he was admitted to Calcutta Training Academy for his early education, later in 1868 he was Admitted to Oriental Seminary and later to Normal School and after that in 1871 he was Admitted to Bengal Academy.

In 1873 he goes with his father Debendranath Tagore on a trip to the Himalayas-his first visit to Bolpur on the way, where he composes a drama, Prithviraj Parajay. In 1874 his poem entitled Abhilash appears in the Tattvabodhini Patrika and he is admitted to St. Xavier’s School in Calcutta. In 1875 on the 11th February, in his first public appearance, recites a patriotic poem at the Hindu Mela.

From 1877 he starts to publish poems and articles regularly in his family’s monthly journal, Bharati. In 1878 Goes to England with brother Satyendranath and in 1880 Returns to India without completing any course of study. In 1881 Composes his first set of devotional songs of for anniversary of Brahmo Samaj-Mahotsav. His first musical play, Valmiki-Pratibha staged at Jorosanko in 1883.

He married Mrinalini Devi in 1883 at Jorosanko. In 1884 he was appointed Secretary to the Adi Brahmo Samaj where he enters into controversy with Bankim Chandra over the neo-Hindu movement. In 1885 he takes change of Balak, a monthly magazine for the young. In 1890 he severely attacks the anti-India policy of Lord Cross, then Secretary, of State for India. He also takes charge of the management of the Tagore Estates with Sealdah as his headquarters. In 1891 he writes first six short stories including Post Master.

In 1892 at the request of the Rajshahi Association writes his first criticism of the system of education. Sikshar herpher a logical and vigorous proposal for the acceptance of mother tongue as the medium of instruction. In 1894 he takes over editorial charge of Sadhana. In 1898 he took the initiative of agricultural experiments on his estates. On the introduction of Sedition Bill; and the arrest of Bal Gangadhar Tilak; he reads his paper Kantha-Rodh (The Throttled ) at a public meeting in Calcutta. In 1899 at the anniversary of 7 Poush, leads the prayer and delivers his first sermon on Brahmoponishad in the Mandir at Santiniketan. In 1901 he establishes at Santiniketan. Revives Bangadarshan magazine, editing it for five years. In that year he comes into contact with Brahmabandhab Upadhyay.

In 1905 he led the agitation against Lord Curzon’s proposal partition Bengal. He advocates the policy of constructive non-cooperation against the British. On 16th October (the day partition becomes a settled fact.) Rabindranath initiated the Rakhi-bandhan ceremony as a symbol of unity in Bengal and leads a huge procession through the streets of Calcutta singing Banglarmati, Banglarjal. In 1906 he writes a scries of articles on problems of education and draws up a comprechensive programme of work for the National Council of Education. In 1908 he initiates organized village work in the patisar regien of the Tagore estates with the help of Kalimohan Ghoh and others.

In 1910 Christmas Day is observed at Santiniketan for the first time poet himself conducts the service. In 1912 the translated English Gitanjali was published by the India Society, London. In 1913 English versions of Gitanjali, The Crescent Moon, The Gardener and Chitra were published by Macmillan. On 13th November, Rabindranath was awarded the Noble Prize for Literature.

In 1914 Mahatma Gandhi’s students from Phoenix, South Africa come to Santiniketan. In 1915 he was awarded knighthood. Also he meets Gandhi for the first time.

In 1916 he travels to Japan and USA, giving lectures on Nationalism and Personality. In 1917 he lends support to Pramatha Chaudhuri’s attempts to popularize spoken Bengali as a vehicle of literary, expression and himself contributes to Sabujpatra, his first story writing in colloquial Bengali, Paila Nambar. In 1918 the formal foundation stone of Visva-Bharati University is laid. In 1919 he cautions against misuse of passive resistance through a letter.

He renounces his knighthood award in protest against Jalianwallah Bagh massacre. In 1920 he leaves for England on a lecture tour to raise funds for Vishwa-Bharti, Travels to France, Holland and USA. In 1921 he visits England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Austria and Czechoslovakia.

In the year 1922 Rural Reconstruction Institute at Sriniketan is formally inaugurated with Elmhirst as its first director. In 1923 Visva-Bharati Quartterly magazine starts publication under his editorship. The play Visarjan is staged at the Empire Theatre, Calcutta where he himself plays the role of Jaysingha. In 1924 he visits China and Japan and then sails for South America; stays in Buenos Aires as the guest of Victoria Ocampo. In 1926 travels to Italy (as a guest of Mussolini),  Switzerland (where he meets Romain Rolland) and other countries of Europe. In 1927 he undertook a tour of Southeast Asia.

In 1928 he starts painting regularly. In 1930 his paintings are exhibited at the Gallerie Pigalle in Paris. Other exhibitions follow in Birmingham, In several European capitals and in USA. He also delivers Hibbert lectures in Oxford (published as The Religion of Man) and writes The Child, his one and only original English poem. In 1932 he starts experimenting with verse libre in his Punascha. In 1937 Rabindranath falls seriously ill. Her Prantik (Borderland) Poems were published. He recited Convocation address in Bengali.

In 1940 Oxford University holds special Convocation at Santiniketan to confer Doctorate to him. In 1941 his final lecture, Crisis in Civilisation is read on this eighteenth birthday. In the same year he dies on the August.

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