Rabindranath Tagore who was popularly known as Gurudev was born on May 7 in Calcutta. He is known for shaping Bengali literature and music in the 19 and early 20th century. Born as Rabindranath Thakur, he played a crucial role in shaping the Bengali literature, music and art. While Rabindra Jayanti is celebrated on May 7 every year, Bengalis observe it on Pochishe Boishakh, the 25th day of the first Bengali month of Boishakh, and which rarely coincides with May 7. On Rabindra Jayanti 2019, numerous cultural programmes and events are held in schools, colleges, universities and other places remembering the lover of art. Rabindranath Tagore and Translations: Why His Works Hold Indomitable Influence in Literature.
His writings gave rise to new forms of prose and verse which were different from the traditional models based on classical Sanskrit. He was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. As the birth anniversary of the great mind approaches, we take a look at some of the interesting facts about his life. He pioneered against the stereotypical belief that India was only a country of snake-charmers and superstitions. He travelled around the world and highlighted the richness of the country and toiled to showcase the country’s diversity. The renowned novelist, dramatist and songwriter who was also called Kabiguru, and Biswakabi passed away on August 7, 1941, in Calcutta.
Here are some facts about Rabindranath Tagore:
- Rabindranath Tagore wrote India’s national anthem, Jana Gana Mana. He also wrote, Amar Sonar Bangla, the national anthem for Bangladesh. The Sri Lankan national anthem was inspired by his work.
- Rabindranath attended a number of sessions of the Indian National Congress in Calcutta where he composed songs and sang during India’s freedom struggle. In 1911, he sang Jana Gana Mana as the opening song for the second day of the Congress Session. It was later adopted as India’s National Anthem.
- In March 2004, the Nobel medal which was awarded to Rabindranath Tagore, was stolen from a museum in the Uttarayan complex in Santiniketan along with other valuables and citations. Following which, the Nobel Foundation issued a new Nobel medal to Tagore on his 100th birth anniversary.
- Tagore began writing poetry when he was just eight years old. He released his first collection of poems under the name Bhanusimha, or Sun Lion when he was 16. Soon, he began writing short stories and dramas under his own name.
- Tagore was born in the Jorasanko mansion in Calcutta to Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi. He was the youngest of thirteen surviving children and nicknamed as Rabi. His mother died when he was very young and father travelled widely for work.
- On Tagore’s 154th birth anniversary, Slovenia, a country of just two million people located in Central Europe had planned various ceremonies in honour of the great poet from May 7 to 12.
- Tagore was not fond of traditional classroom schooling and had a unique vision for school training. He conceptualised the plan and named the school Visva-Bharati. He wanted humanity to be studied “somewhere beyond the limits of nation and geography”.
- Rabindranath Tagore and the world-renowned scientist Albert Einstein were mutual admirers and also have a picture of them alongside each other. Tagore met Einstein at the latter’s home in Germany’s Caputh in 1930.
The man’s legacy continues to go on even years after his death. Tagore began drawing and painting at the age of 60 and also held many successful exhibitions. His works were mostly inspired by the works of scrimshaw from northern New Ireland, Haida carvings from British Columbia and Max Pechstein’s woodcuts. His works were known for its strange colour schemes and off-beat aesthetics which led to the popular belief that Tagore was red-green colour blind. It was Tagore who conferred the title of ‘Mahatma’ on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in 1915. According to historians, though Tagore admired Gandhi’s works, he differed with him on certain issues. Rabindranath has a rich legacy of inspiring generations across the globe with his work and continues to do so.