Some 147 years back, the largest mansion at the Jora Shanko region of Kolkata,reverberated with a mixture of cries and spells of laughter. Little did the people know that it was the beginning of an era, the birth of someone whom an entire nation would revere as Gurudev and that Literature was never going to be the same again.
Born in the sophisticated Thakur family, Rabindranath already had the touch of creativity in him. With people like Dwijendranath Tagore and Maharshi Debendranath Tagore in the family, it was in the cards for him to be atleast well-known in Bengal.
He was primarily educated at home. In 1878 he was sent to England to become a barrister.However,he came back to Calcutta in 1880 leaving it unfinished.His experiences in England would later find influences in his lyrical ballads and poetry.
Tagore was essentially a poet. Thus,eventually,we find a glimpse of intricate detail in all of his works be it the short story Balai or his musical Vakmiki Protibha. In particular Tagore had a deep love and reverence for nature which he was able to express through lyrical poetry.
In 1877, he wrote Bhikarini Ma, which was the first Bengali short story.In the same year, composed several works, including a long poem following the patterns of Maithali as pioneered by Vidyapati. He maintained that these were the lost works of Bhānusiṃha, a newly discovered 17th-century Vaisnava poet.Tagore was best known for his poetry,novels,plays and songs. He wrote four novels and eight other novellas. It includes the famous Ghare Baire,which was later put on the Silver Screen by Satyajit Ray. But, it is Sesher Kobita that proves his skill as a novelist. It follows the patterns of poetry and lyrical passage. Choker Bali is another notable work.More than half of his short stories are contained in his three volume Golpoguccho,which still remains the most popular short-story complilation in the language.Stories such as Nastanihr,which was made into Charulata by Ray, and Haimanti deal with the complex of human emotions.At thee age of sixty,Tagore became immensely interested in draings ang paintings.What started out in cancel-out's in his poems and stories,found it's place in the Art Galleries.The Dancing Girl, an ink on paper piece, is a well known Tagore illustration.Having composed around 2250 songs.Rabindrasangeet is now as synonymous with the Bengali culture as the language is.Rabindrasangeet even inspired the style of the likes of Amjad Ali Kha and Buddhadeb Dasgupta.He is the only person to have composed National Anthems of more than one country- Jana Gana Mana for India and Aaamar Shonar Bangla for Bangladesh.His music was primarily influenced byu the Thumri style of classical music.However,many of his tunes can be sourced to Rural and Folk music of Europe.
However,it was his poetry that put Tagore in the global Literary scene.He was primarily influenced by the classical and rishi poets,namely Kalidas,Kabir and Ved-Vyasa. Internationally,Gintajali or the Song Offerings is his best known work.His other works include Sonar Tori, Balaka and Purobi. Later with the advent of Modernist poets like Jibananada Das,he changed his style.Africa and Camalia are his better known later poems. His best translated poem remains,Where the mind is without fear.
Gitanjali fetched Tagore the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. Tagore was famed throughout much of Europe, North America, and East Asia. He was key in founding Darlinton Hall School a progressive coeducational institution in Japan. He founded Shantineketan in the year 1901. Tagore's works were widely translated into English, Dutch, German, Spanish, and other European languages by the Czexh Indologist Vincenc Lesney and French Nobel laureate Andre Gaite.
Tagore still remains the most well-known Indian literary figure.He breathed his last on 7th August 1941.He was suffering from clong periods of illness.
Tagore left behind an entire generation of inspired minds,which still pay respect to the great soul.With him,we lost someone who wrote for the masses and lived for the eternity of literature as a whole. For someone who'd go on inspire the likes of Pablo Neruda , Gabriela Mistal and Octavio Paz, it was nothing surprising to assume the depth in his work and largely the universality in it.Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore was the perfect model of Jack of all trades and the perfect exception of Master of None, for whatever he did, he produced legends.a poet,a playwright, a novelist, a painter, a philosophist,a composer,a lyricist, and a visual artist.
The more we say about him,the more things are left to be said.