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Rabindranath Tagore

Awards: Nobel Prize in Literature-1913

Nobel Committee in its citation stated that the prize was given for "his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West."

Born: 07/05/1861 in Jorasanko mansion, Calcutta (now Kolkata), India

Died:  07/08/1941 in Calcutta, India

Citizen: India

Language: Bengali (an Indian language)

  Rabindranath was born to Debendranath Thakur and Sarada Devi and was the youngest of 13 surviving children. His mother died early when he was only 14. Rabindranath grew in the company of a large retinue of servants. His home was a hub of literary activities.such as recital of Bengali and English classical music and publication of magazines. Literature ran in the family. Eldest brother Dwijendranath was a philosopher and a poet and his sister Swarnakumari became a novelist.

   Tagore did not relish formal education and was mostly educated at home by private tutors. He read Edward Gibbon and Kalidas. His father wanted him to be a barrister and sent him to London to study law at University College, London but he also dropped out from the institute after a brief period. During his London stint, he read Shakespeare and other literary works of famous English, Irish and Scottish writers. In 1880, he returned  back to India without a degree. In 1883, he married Mrinalini Devi. In 1890, he was given charge of the family estate in Shelaidaha.  During this period, he traveled extensively through the rural hinterland of river Padma which is now in Bangladesh and had glimpse of rural India. He also came in contact with Baul Lalon Shah whose folk songs greatly influenced him. 1891-95 was Tagore's most productive period.

   In 1901, Tagore moved to Shantiniketan. There, his wife, two children and Father died.

   Tagore's last 5 years were marked by suffering and chronic illness. In late 1937, he suddenly lost consciousness. He was in comatose for sometime. In late 1940, he had a similar experience.

   Before death, he had this poem-- I'm lost in the middle of my birthday. I want my friends, their touch, with the earth's last love. I will take life's final offering, I will take the human's last blessing. Today my sack is empty. I have given completely whatever I had to give. In return if I receive anything—some love, some forgiveness—then I will take it with me when I step on the boat that crosses to the festival of the wordless end.


    Notable Works:     Manashi                                         -- (1890), Galpa Guccha --Bunches of Tales (1912), Sonar Tari- The Golden Boat (1893) ,Chitra -- Chitra(1896), Chaitali -- Late Harvest(1896), Kalpana -- Dreams (1900), Naivedya - Offerings (1901), Chitrangada- Chitra (1892/1913), Malini- Malini (1895), Gitanjali- Gitanjali (1910),Gora- Gora (1910/1924)

Rabindranath Tagore

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