Who is Rabindranath Tagore? Bengali Poet. Short-story writer. Song composer. Essayist. Playwright. Social Reformist. Painter. Let’s discuss this Indian icon.
Although Rabindranath Tagore didn’t finish his studies in England, he is still celebrated as one of the leading names during the Bengali Renaissance, eventually establishing a school of his own years later.
Rabindranath Tagore was born in Calcutta, India in 1861 and lived until 1941. He made great strides during his lifetime in the creative arts community in India. Tagore was able to aid the introduction of Indian culture to the West.
Tagore also introduced a new form of prose and verse that employed the use of colloquial language into Bengali literature and revolutionized the game. By doing so, he was able to free Bengali literature from the traditional models that were based on classical Sanskrit.
He began writing at the young age of eight, continuing to do so through his later years. In the 1890s, his writings adopted a “poignancy, laced with gentle irony, that is unique to him.” During this time he published Sonar Tari, or The Golden Boat.
Though much of his work is seemingly impossible to translate, including his range of more than 2,000 songs, pieces like Gitanjali (Song Offerings), published 1912, caught the eye of other poets, from which he earned the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.
My poet’s vanity dies in shame before thy sight. O master poet, I have sat down at thy feet. Only let me make my life simple and straight, like a flute of reed for thee to fill with music.Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali (Song Offerings), 7
Light, oh where is the light? Kindle it with the burning fire of desire! It thunders and the wind rushes screaming through the void. The night is black as a stone. Let not the hours pass by in the dark. Kind the lamp of love with thy life.Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali (Song Offerings), 27
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