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Rabindranath Tagore.
ABOUT THE LEGEND
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. 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), Sonar Tari (1894), Gitanjali (1910), Gitimalya
(1914) and Balaka (1916). He is the author of several
volumes of short stories and a number of novels, among
them Gora (1910), Ghare-Baire (1916), and Yogayog
(1929). 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. Rabindranath Tagore died on
August 7, 1941.
EARLY YEARS
Rabindranath Tagore was born on May 7, 1861
in a wealthy Brahmin family in Calcutta. He
was the ninth son of Debendranath and Sarada
Devi.
Rabindra Nath Tagore had his initial education
in Oriental Seminary School. But he did not like
the conventional education and started studying
at home under several teachers.
After undergoing his upanayan (coming-of-age)
rite at the age of eleven, Tagore and his father
left Calcutta in 1873 to tour India for several
months. During this period, Tagore read
biographies, studied history, astronomy, modern
science, and Sanskrit, and examined the
classical poetry of Kalidasa.
Sarada Devi
Debendranath Tagore
INFLUENCE ON EUROPEAN CULTURE
Overview
Europe was going through a period of great tension at the
time of World War I. Starved of spirituality, Tagore’s
naturalistic verses soothed the aching souls of the European
artistic elite. It was not long before he was being hailed as the
most profound poet ever to have lived – a wise man from the
East, in the truest sense.
Events moved at a break-neck pace and, within a year, he had
won the Nobel Prize, to his own amazement. The nomination
process was a secret one, in which certain academic
institutions and cultural delegates were empowered to
nominate. The faculty at nominating institutions familiar with
Tagore’s works in Europe were all British – and the British take
on Tagore was ambivalent.
CASE STUDY #1
Germany
In 1921, Rabindranath Tagore visited Germany for the
first time. The German people had just suffered a
humiliating defeat in the First World War. Before entering
Germany, Tagore expressed that he empathized with the
German people in their hour of crisis and that he had
come to strengthen her. So there was a clear symbiotic
relationship even before Tagore began his month-long trip
from city to city. Tagore mesmerized and fascinated his
German audiences. Wherever he spoke, the halls were
packed. Indeed, the newspapers reported scuffles and
regular fights by people who were refused entry. The
German press rose to the occasion by reporting Tagore’s
every movement.
Tagore’s poetry had a direct appeal to Germans of that generation
because his poetry (or whatever he chose to give to the West) was
exotic, had a romantic flair, was imbued with spiritual idealism -
and yet in all its strangeness it was still easily accessible. His
poetry embodied a religious imagery, essentially Vaishnava in
character, which was innovative for Western ears. To them, this
culture of emotions was unfamiliar in its directness, and
involvement with nature and the cosmos - and yet, the poetry was
totally comprehensible. Tagore himself, attired in his flowing,
dark gown and with his white beard and serene face, radiated a
certain intriguing energy.
With his publisher Kurt Wolff With German Intellectuals
CASE STUDY #2
France
The relationship between Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore
and France is of particular importance. It started with his
grandfather Dwarkanath Tagore's visit to France and continued
with his brother’s, particularly Jyotirindranath.
Before his fame spread all over the world in 1913, the talent of
Tagore had already attracted the attention of personalities such as
the famous traveller Alexandra David Neel and the poet Saint
John Terse, French ambassador to London.
His association with Romain Rolland paved the way for a
historic, first-ever coordinated awakening and mobilisation of
world intellectuals.
Tagore became a regular visitor of
La Maison Autour Monde, the
house of famous businessman and
patron of the arts Albert Kahn. In
this house are kept invaluable
archives of the poet and his family.
The first visiting professor invited
to Visva Bharati was French
scholar Sylvain Levi, in 1921,
whose collaboration boosted
Tagore's initiative of setting up a
university. His relationship with
France also played a pivotal role in
the incarnation of the poet as a
painter with his first ever
exhibition held in Galerie Pigalle
in 1939.
Tagore with Romain Rolland
Tagore’s work
INFLUENCE IN BAGLADESH
Rabindranath Tagore is not only a poet of West Bengal.
He is equally honoured and equally respected in
Bangladesh. You cannot confine a language with borders.
So he will be read and respected wherever there is Bengali
speaking people are staying. Many of his literature were
written in Bangladesh territory,inShilaidaha and Sajadpur.
Most important, one of his songs ‘Amar Sonar Bangla,
Ami Tomai Bhalobashi……’ is the national anthem of
Bangladesh.
Rabindranath became a part of the culture and part of the
identity of Bangladesh; religion didn’t cause any
hindrance in this assimilation.
INFLUENCE IN INDIA
Tagore is unquestionably the most
towering figure of modern Indian
and Bangla literature, where his
contribution included novels,
plays, poems, short stories, essays
as well as educational books and
articles. His world-class literary
contribution was recognized before
the world through the Nobel Prize
for Literature in 1913.
In the field of music, Tagore’s
background was classical Indian.
However, rebelling against the
classical orthodoxy, as a composer
he introduced a rich variety of
form and content, enriched by
Bangla folk-music, such as the
Baul and Bhatiyali type.
Tagore with Mahatma Gandhi
Tagore with Jawaharlal Nehru
Rabindranath was not a stranger to the political arena
either. He actively supported Mahatma Gandhi, and his
agenda of social reforms through civil disobedience.
Among his other notable contributions was a school he
founded in 1901 near Calcutta. It was known as
Shantiniketon. Later it evolved into an international
university in 1921, which was to be known as
Viswabharati.
The British royalty honored him as a knight in 1915.
However, quite conscientiously he relinquished his
knighthood in 1919 as a protest against the massacre of
Amritsar, where 400 Indians demonstrating against
colonial laws were slaughtered by the English soldiers.
SHANTINIKETAN
Shantiniketan is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum District
of West Bengal, about 212 kms north of Kolkata. It is famous due
to Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, whose vision became
what is now a University town - Visva-Bharati University. The
place now attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Shantiniketan was earlier called Bhubandanga (named after
Bhuban Dakat, a local Dacoit), and was owned by the Tagore
family. In 1862, Maharishi Devendranath Tagore, the poet’s
father, while on a boat journey to Raipur, came across a
landscape with red soil and lush green paddy fields. He decided
to plant more saplings and built a small house. He called his
home Shantiniketan. He founded an ashram here in 1863 and
became the initiator of the Bramho Samaj.
In 1901, Rabindranath started a school at Shantiniketan
named Bramhachari Ashram that was modeled on the
lines of the ancient Gurukul system that later came to be
known as the Patha Bhavan, the school of his ideals, with
central premise that learning in a natural environment
would be more enjoyable and fruitful. With the financial
backing of the Maharajah of Tripura, the Visva-Bharati
Society was established in 1921. Tagore envisioned a
center of learning which would have the best of both the
east and the west. The school was expanded into a
University. It was named Visva-Bharati, which was
defined by Tagore as
“Where the world makes a home in a nest.”
Pictures of Shantiniketan
DEATH
Tagore was eighty years old when he died in august
7, 1941. He had endured the deaths of wife,
children, and his only grandson. Still restless, he
built new dwellings for himself at Santiniketan,
though his travels now were limited to a few
hundred yards. He died in the midst of a world war
which seemed the negation of all he had loved (he
appealed to President Roosevelt to intervene when
the Germans marched into Paris, to avert its
destruction).
TAGORE TODAY
One hundred and one years ago, in
1913, the Nobel Prize for Literature
was awarded to a Bengali poet,
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941).
This was an important event for the
prize itself, considering that Tagore
was the first non-European recipient
of the prize. Recognised as the icon
of Bengali sensibility, Tagore was
endowed with a creative genius that
appeared to be inexhaustible. His
oeuvre includes more than 1,000
poems, nearly two dozen plays and
playlets, eight novels, eight or more
volumes of short stories, more than
2,200 songs, of which he wrote both
the lyrics and the music, and a mass
of prose on literary, social, religious,
political and other topics.
On top of these, there are his English translations, his paintings, his travels
and lecture tours in Asia, America and Europe – and his activities as
educationist, social reformer and innovator. He is credited with shaping
modern Bengali language and the aesthetics and intellect of the Bengalis.
In the universal ethos that he espoused and his capacity to celebrate the
human prospect, Tagore has also left an enduring legacy for the world. At
the height of the First World War, he had declared, “There is only one
history – the history of man. All national histories are merely chapters in
the larger one.”
Notwithstanding the towering presence of Rabindranath Tagore in
Bangladesh and in India, in the rest of the world, especially in Europe and
America, the excitement that his writings created in the early years of the
20th century has largely diminished. According to Amartya Sen, the
contrast between Tagore’s commanding presence in Bengali literature and
culture, and his near-total eclipse in the rest of the world, is perhaps less
interesting than the distinction between the view of Tagore as a deeply
relevant and many-sided contemporary thinker in Bangladesh and India,
and his image in the West as a repetitive and remote spiritualist.
Thank You

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Tagore (1)

  • 2. ABOUT THE LEGEND 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. 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.
  • 3. Among his fifty and odd volumes of poetry are Manasi (1890), Sonar Tari (1894), Gitanjali (1910), Gitimalya (1914) and Balaka (1916). He is the author of several volumes of short stories and a number of novels, among them Gora (1910), Ghare-Baire (1916), and Yogayog (1929). 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. Rabindranath Tagore died on August 7, 1941.
  • 4. EARLY YEARS Rabindranath Tagore was born on May 7, 1861 in a wealthy Brahmin family in Calcutta. He was the ninth son of Debendranath and Sarada Devi. Rabindra Nath Tagore had his initial education in Oriental Seminary School. But he did not like the conventional education and started studying at home under several teachers. After undergoing his upanayan (coming-of-age) rite at the age of eleven, Tagore and his father left Calcutta in 1873 to tour India for several months. During this period, Tagore read biographies, studied history, astronomy, modern science, and Sanskrit, and examined the classical poetry of Kalidasa. Sarada Devi Debendranath Tagore
  • 5. INFLUENCE ON EUROPEAN CULTURE Overview Europe was going through a period of great tension at the time of World War I. Starved of spirituality, Tagore’s naturalistic verses soothed the aching souls of the European artistic elite. It was not long before he was being hailed as the most profound poet ever to have lived – a wise man from the East, in the truest sense. Events moved at a break-neck pace and, within a year, he had won the Nobel Prize, to his own amazement. The nomination process was a secret one, in which certain academic institutions and cultural delegates were empowered to nominate. The faculty at nominating institutions familiar with Tagore’s works in Europe were all British – and the British take on Tagore was ambivalent.
  • 6. CASE STUDY #1 Germany In 1921, Rabindranath Tagore visited Germany for the first time. The German people had just suffered a humiliating defeat in the First World War. Before entering Germany, Tagore expressed that he empathized with the German people in their hour of crisis and that he had come to strengthen her. So there was a clear symbiotic relationship even before Tagore began his month-long trip from city to city. Tagore mesmerized and fascinated his German audiences. Wherever he spoke, the halls were packed. Indeed, the newspapers reported scuffles and regular fights by people who were refused entry. The German press rose to the occasion by reporting Tagore’s every movement.
  • 7. Tagore’s poetry had a direct appeal to Germans of that generation because his poetry (or whatever he chose to give to the West) was exotic, had a romantic flair, was imbued with spiritual idealism - and yet in all its strangeness it was still easily accessible. His poetry embodied a religious imagery, essentially Vaishnava in character, which was innovative for Western ears. To them, this culture of emotions was unfamiliar in its directness, and involvement with nature and the cosmos - and yet, the poetry was totally comprehensible. Tagore himself, attired in his flowing, dark gown and with his white beard and serene face, radiated a certain intriguing energy. With his publisher Kurt Wolff With German Intellectuals
  • 8. CASE STUDY #2 France The relationship between Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and France is of particular importance. It started with his grandfather Dwarkanath Tagore's visit to France and continued with his brother’s, particularly Jyotirindranath. Before his fame spread all over the world in 1913, the talent of Tagore had already attracted the attention of personalities such as the famous traveller Alexandra David Neel and the poet Saint John Terse, French ambassador to London. His association with Romain Rolland paved the way for a historic, first-ever coordinated awakening and mobilisation of world intellectuals.
  • 9. Tagore became a regular visitor of La Maison Autour Monde, the house of famous businessman and patron of the arts Albert Kahn. In this house are kept invaluable archives of the poet and his family. The first visiting professor invited to Visva Bharati was French scholar Sylvain Levi, in 1921, whose collaboration boosted Tagore's initiative of setting up a university. His relationship with France also played a pivotal role in the incarnation of the poet as a painter with his first ever exhibition held in Galerie Pigalle in 1939. Tagore with Romain Rolland Tagore’s work
  • 10. INFLUENCE IN BAGLADESH Rabindranath Tagore is not only a poet of West Bengal. He is equally honoured and equally respected in Bangladesh. You cannot confine a language with borders. So he will be read and respected wherever there is Bengali speaking people are staying. Many of his literature were written in Bangladesh territory,inShilaidaha and Sajadpur. Most important, one of his songs ‘Amar Sonar Bangla, Ami Tomai Bhalobashi……’ is the national anthem of Bangladesh. Rabindranath became a part of the culture and part of the identity of Bangladesh; religion didn’t cause any hindrance in this assimilation.
  • 11. INFLUENCE IN INDIA Tagore is unquestionably the most towering figure of modern Indian and Bangla literature, where his contribution included novels, plays, poems, short stories, essays as well as educational books and articles. His world-class literary contribution was recognized before the world through the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. In the field of music, Tagore’s background was classical Indian. However, rebelling against the classical orthodoxy, as a composer he introduced a rich variety of form and content, enriched by Bangla folk-music, such as the Baul and Bhatiyali type. Tagore with Mahatma Gandhi Tagore with Jawaharlal Nehru
  • 12. Rabindranath was not a stranger to the political arena either. He actively supported Mahatma Gandhi, and his agenda of social reforms through civil disobedience. Among his other notable contributions was a school he founded in 1901 near Calcutta. It was known as Shantiniketon. Later it evolved into an international university in 1921, which was to be known as Viswabharati. The British royalty honored him as a knight in 1915. However, quite conscientiously he relinquished his knighthood in 1919 as a protest against the massacre of Amritsar, where 400 Indians demonstrating against colonial laws were slaughtered by the English soldiers.
  • 13. SHANTINIKETAN Shantiniketan is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum District of West Bengal, about 212 kms north of Kolkata. It is famous due to Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, whose vision became what is now a University town - Visva-Bharati University. The place now attracts thousands of visitors each year. Shantiniketan was earlier called Bhubandanga (named after Bhuban Dakat, a local Dacoit), and was owned by the Tagore family. In 1862, Maharishi Devendranath Tagore, the poet’s father, while on a boat journey to Raipur, came across a landscape with red soil and lush green paddy fields. He decided to plant more saplings and built a small house. He called his home Shantiniketan. He founded an ashram here in 1863 and became the initiator of the Bramho Samaj.
  • 14. In 1901, Rabindranath started a school at Shantiniketan named Bramhachari Ashram that was modeled on the lines of the ancient Gurukul system that later came to be known as the Patha Bhavan, the school of his ideals, with central premise that learning in a natural environment would be more enjoyable and fruitful. With the financial backing of the Maharajah of Tripura, the Visva-Bharati Society was established in 1921. Tagore envisioned a center of learning which would have the best of both the east and the west. The school was expanded into a University. It was named Visva-Bharati, which was defined by Tagore as “Where the world makes a home in a nest.”
  • 16. DEATH Tagore was eighty years old when he died in august 7, 1941. He had endured the deaths of wife, children, and his only grandson. Still restless, he built new dwellings for himself at Santiniketan, though his travels now were limited to a few hundred yards. He died in the midst of a world war which seemed the negation of all he had loved (he appealed to President Roosevelt to intervene when the Germans marched into Paris, to avert its destruction).
  • 17. TAGORE TODAY One hundred and one years ago, in 1913, the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to a Bengali poet, Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941). This was an important event for the prize itself, considering that Tagore was the first non-European recipient of the prize. Recognised as the icon of Bengali sensibility, Tagore was endowed with a creative genius that appeared to be inexhaustible. His oeuvre includes more than 1,000 poems, nearly two dozen plays and playlets, eight novels, eight or more volumes of short stories, more than 2,200 songs, of which he wrote both the lyrics and the music, and a mass of prose on literary, social, religious, political and other topics.
  • 18. On top of these, there are his English translations, his paintings, his travels and lecture tours in Asia, America and Europe – and his activities as educationist, social reformer and innovator. He is credited with shaping modern Bengali language and the aesthetics and intellect of the Bengalis. In the universal ethos that he espoused and his capacity to celebrate the human prospect, Tagore has also left an enduring legacy for the world. At the height of the First World War, he had declared, “There is only one history – the history of man. All national histories are merely chapters in the larger one.” Notwithstanding the towering presence of Rabindranath Tagore in Bangladesh and in India, in the rest of the world, especially in Europe and America, the excitement that his writings created in the early years of the 20th century has largely diminished. According to Amartya Sen, the contrast between Tagore’s commanding presence in Bengali literature and culture, and his near-total eclipse in the rest of the world, is perhaps less interesting than the distinction between the view of Tagore as a deeply relevant and many-sided contemporary thinker in Bangladesh and India, and his image in the West as a repetitive and remote spiritualist.