There are very few Indians who haven’t heard the name of the great poet from Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore. He was born on the 7th of May, 1861 and was the youngest of his thirteen siblings. Born in Jorasanko Mansion, he was lovingly called as “Rabi” by his family members.
Rabindranath was later renamed Gurudev and was the first non-European to bag a Nobel Prize for his literary work ‘Gitanjali’. He was a key contributor in changing Bengal’s music and literature. Those who have met the bard say that he was always seen with his flowing white hair and beard. This look helped him earn the reputation of a prophet in his region though he was against the idea.
Rabindranath Tagore’s home is a library of books and magazines from across the globe. Due to the early demise of his mother, he was mostly raised by servants. His father used to travel a lot and was seldom at home. Rabindranath’s family can be said to be full of literary and artistic talents. His eldest brother, Dwijendranath, was a well-known poet and philosopher. Yet another brother, Jyotirindranath, was a renowned musician and playwright. Swarnakumari, his sister, was a novelist.
Later in his life, Rabindranath Tagore moved to Shantiniketan, where he made his ashram with a marble floored hall, meant for prayers. He named this hall ‘Mandir’. He also made a school in Shantiniketan amidst nature. Special significance was paid to being as close to the flora and fauna as possible. Most classes are still held outdoors so that the mind is free and thoughts flow naturally.
Even till this day, teachers and students of the school perform several dance and drama routines based upon his works on his birth anniversary. His birthday is celebrated with much pomp and enthusiasm, not just in Shantiniketan but also across Bengal and other parts of India with a Bengali diaspora.
In the year 1915, Rabindranath Tagore was granted knighthood by the British Crown. However, after the Jalianwala Bagh massacre in the year 1919, he is said to have renounced his title. Throughout his life, Rabindranath Tagore has written numerous songs, essays, novels, dramas, and short stories. His short stories are very popular all across Bengal and his songs are still played in numerous radio stations and TV channels as well as in schools and colleges.
His writings are generally popular due to their lyrical and rhythmic nature. To mark Tagore’s 150th birthday, a special anthology named “Kalanukromik Rabindra Rachanabali” or the total body of his works was published. It contains all his writings, presented in eighty volumes. He has also composed a total of 2230 songs over his entire life time, and these compositions are known as Rabindra sangeet.
Every Rabindranath lover should visit Shantiniketan atleast once in his or her lifetime, especially during his birthday. The colorful ambience of this small town is sure to impress even a prosaic person and make him appreciate poems and songs. Holi is another occasion when the place comes to life and is a top draw for tourists across India and the world.
At Floralis, we wish Gurudev from the bottom of our hearts and hope he continues to inspire and motivate us to spread love and happiness.