Rabindranath Tagore, born on the 7th of May as the youngest of the 13 sons of Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi was exceptionally talented in multifaceted areas.
A legendary poet, compendious storyteller, master painter, dramatist, educationist, philosopher, freedom fighter, India’s first Nobel laureate, and the man whom we owe our country’s national anthem is just a brief introduction of his prolific existence.
Rabindranath Tagore, a man with prodigious literary and artistic capabilities played a pioneering role in the Indian cultural renaissance. He came to be recognized as one of the chief architects of modern India, along with Mahatma Gandhi.
His life chronicled not only his personal growth but reflected India’s artistic, cultural, and political vicissitudes in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Rabindranath Tagore wrote his first poem at the age of 8 years. By the time he reached 16 years of age, he started composing artworks under the pen name of ‘Bhanusimha’.
In 1877, he wrote his first short story named ‘Bhikharini’ at the age of 16. In 1882, he published his first collection of poems at the age of 23 named the ‘Sandhya Sangit’.
He was inspired by the classical poetry of Kalidasa and himself started writing such poems. His famous literary works (poems) include Balaka, Purobi, Sonar Tori, and a collection of poems named Gitanjali.
Rabindranath Tagore, a compendious storyteller wrote short stories and novels that emoted the heart’s complex and paradoxical emotions in an aesthetically and poetically enriched form.
Some of his very famous short stories that continue to win the hearts of people across ages are Chokher Bali, Kabuliwala, Atithi, Charulata, and Bhikharini, among others.
Tagore’s famous novels include Nastanirh, Ghare Baire, and Gora. These novels are weaved around themes like religion, gender, feminism, tradition and reflect Rabindranath Tagore’s modern approach. However, this is not all! He is the composer of more than 2,000 songs, which include devotional hymns and the national anthem of Bangladesh.
Rabindranath Tagore started painting in the year 1928, at the age of 67 although he used to sketch from an early age. The figures he drew, sometimes looked monstrous and fierce, as if it were an expression of his anger towards the evils of the society.
He started painting with an ink pen, watercolors, and crayons to draw nature scenes and portraits of men and women, expressing their deeper emotions.
One of his famous paintings, ‘woman face’ portrays a woman surrounded by a band of colors in horizontal striations which appear to be mysterious. In light washes of pink and brown ink, the face of a woman is looking with innocent, soft eyes at the viewers. The painting exhibits almost child-like simplicity.
Rabindranath Tagore was against the unreasonable caste practices that prevailed in India. He decried the evils of India’s social systems that left millions of people under the spell of poverty and treated a group of people as untouchables.
He actively voiced feminine issues in his writings and called for the liberation of women from the many customs of the society that bind them. In his stories, he denounced customs like self-immolation by women after their husbands’ deaths.