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West Bengal Celebrates 156th Birth Anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore

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Rabindranath Tagore, Wikimedia
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New Delhi, May 7, 2017: 

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”- Rabindranath Tagore 

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941 C.E.) was a Bengali polymath who rejuvenated Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art with contextual modernism. According to English calendar, he was born on 7th May 1861.

He was the youngest son of Debendranath Tagore, who was a leader of the Brahmo Samaj, which was a new religious sect in nineteenth-century Bengal and which endeavoured a revival of the absolute monistic basis of Hinduism as laid down in the Upanishads.

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He was home-schooled; and although at seventeen he was dispatched to England for formal schooling, he did not complete his studies there. In his mature years, in addition to his many-sided literary activities, he looked after the family estates, a project which brought him into close touch with common humanity, grassroots which dragged him to social reforms. He also established an experimental school at Shantiniketan where he tried his Upanishadic ideals of education.

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. His famous works are Gitanjali [1913], Saddhana, The Realisation of Life (1916)The Crescent Moon (1913)Fruit-Gathering (1916)Stray Birds (1916)The Home and the World (1915)Thought Relics (1921).

According to Bengali calendar, he was born on 25th day of Boishakh month, in 1422 Bengali Epoch. His anniversary is observed as per local Bengali calendar. The day of Boishakh 25th currently overlaps with either 8th May or 9th May on Gregorian calendar. However, in other states, Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti is observed as per Gregorian calendar on 7th May. In Kolkata, Tagore Jayanti is popularly known as Poncheeshe Boishakh.

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Rabindra Jayanti is an annually celebrated cultural festival, existent among Bengalis around the world, in the reminiscence of Rabindranath Tagore’s birthday anniversary. It is celebrated in early May, on the 25th day of the Bengali month of Boishakh.

Every year, many cultural programmes & events, such as : Kabipranam – the songs (Rabindra Sangeet), poetries, dances and dramas, written and composed by Tagore, are organised in this particular day, by a lot of schools, colleges & universities of Bengal, and also celebrated by different groups abroad, as a tribute to Tagore and his works.

Tagore’s birth anniversary is largely celebrated at Santiniketan, Birbhum in West Bengal, chiefly in Visva-Bharati University, the institution founded by Tagore himself with a vision of the cultural, social and educational upliftment of the students as well as the society. The Government of India Issued 5 Rupees coin in 2011 to mark the 150 Birth Anniversary in the honour of Rabindranath Tagore.

– by Sabhyata Badhwar. Twitter: @SabbyDarkhorse

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8 must-read works of Rabindranath Tagore

Tagore was a versatile artist who provided an earnest insight into society and humanity with his various short stories, novels, essays, songs, plays, and paintings.

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Rabindranath Tagore was the pioneer of Bengali Literature. Wikimedia Commons
Rabindranath Tagore was the pioneer of Bengali Literature. Wikimedia Commons
  • Rabindranath Tagore was the pioneer of Bengali Literature.
  • He has many landmarks works to his name which continues to inspire masses.
  • His collection of poems, Gitanjali got him the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913.

The Nobel Prize-winning writer, Rabindranath Tagore, also known as Gurudeva or the Bard of Bengal, was the trailblazer of Bengali literature. He possessed literary genius through which he brought a revolution in Bengali literature and music.

A painting by mullti-talented Rabindranath Tagore.
A painting by multi-talented Rabindranath Tagore.

Tagore was a versatile artist who provided an earnest insight into society and humanity through his short stories, novels, songs and paintings. His works even today inspire the masses and young readers and writers. Here is the list of some of his remarkable works:

Gitanjali

One of his best work is a collection of 157 poems called ‘Gitanjali’. The poems in this book vary in their themes, from spirituality to complexities of life. It was originally written in Bengali and was later translated into English. This work was so remarkable that Tagore got a Nobel Prize for it in 1913.

Gitanjali is the landmark work of Tagore. Wikimedia Commons
Gitanjali is the landmark work of Tagore. Wikimedia Commons

 Gitabitan

Rabindranath Tagore was a skilled and sensible songwriter. Throughout his life, he wrote a total of 2230 songs which are popularly known as ‘Rabindra Sangeeth’. The songs were compiled in this exquisite book called ‘Gitabitan.’

Chokher Bali

Chokher Bali or ‘A grain of sand’ is a Bengali novel written by Tagore, which was later translated into English. The story revolves around an extra-marital affair and depicts passion, desires, relationships and honesty in all its complexities. The novel is well known for its portrayal of complexities in a relationship.

Gora 

Rabindranath Tagore wrote 12 novels, and out of these, this one is the longest and most complex. It raises a number of concerns, which are relevant to our nation even today. This book aptly reflects different social standards in colonial India.

Rabindranath Tagore produced many works which changed the literature in India. Image source: buddybyte.com
Rabindranath Tagore produced many works which changed the literature in India. Image source: buddybyte.com

Kabuliwallah(The Fruitseller from Kabul)

The Kabuliwala is about an Afghan vendor who came to Calcutta, trying to earn a living. Along the way, he creates an emotional bond with the narrator’s five-year-old daughter. It is a very touching and heart-warming story which will leave you emotional.

Ghare Baire (The Home and the World)

This book has an autobiographical aspect. It reflects upon the deeper meaning of life by showing the struggles of three individuals. The story represents a war between the western and eastern ideology. Tagore chose Swadeshi Movement as the backdrop for this novel and provided a deep insight into the Bengal history.

The Postmaster

This is another one of Tagore’s work which revolves around the search for the meaning of life. This story of a city man working as a postmaster in a village to earn his living will give you lots of food for thought. The story represents loneliness in a beautifully haunting way.

Shesher Kabita

This novel was first released in a serialised form in the magazine ‘Probashi’. It was published as a book in the year 1928. The translated version of the book is called ‘The Last Poem’ and ‘Farewell song’ in English. The book portrays the platonic love of a matured couple and its complication. It is an epic love saga.