- Gender: Male
- Birthday: 1861-05-07
- Day of Death: 1941-08-07 ( 80 years old )
- Place of Birth: Calcutta, British India
- Also Known As: Robindronath Thakur / Rabindronath Thakur / Gurudev / Gurudeb / Kabiguru / Kobiguru / Bishokobi / Bishwakobi / Vishwakavi
Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali polymath — poet, writer, playwright, composer, philosopher, social reformer, and painter. He reshaped Bengali literature and music as well as Indian art in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Author of the Gitanjali (Song Offerings), he became in 1913 the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Tagore’s poetic songs were viewed as spiritual and mercurial; however, his “elegant prose and magical poetry” remain largely unknown outside Bengal. He is sometimes referred to as “the Bard of Bengal”.
Tagore wrote poetry as an eight-year-old. At the age of sixteen, he released his first substantial poems under the pseudonym Bhānusiṃha (“Sun Lion”). By 1877 he graduated to his first short stories and dramas, published under his real name. As a humanist, universalist, internationalist, and ardent anti-nationalist, he denounced the British Raj and advocated independence from Britain. As an exponent of the Bengal Renaissance, he advanced a vast canon that comprised paintings, sketches and doodles, hundreds of texts, and some two thousand songs; his legacy also endures in the institution he founded, Visva-Bharati University.
Tagore modernised Bengali art by spurning rigid classical forms and resisting linguistic strictures. His novels, stories, songs, dance-dramas, and essays spoke to topics political and personal. Gitanjali (Song Offerings), Gora (Fair-Faced) and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World) are his best-known works, and his verse, short stories, and novels were acclaimed—or panned—for their lyricism, colloquialism, naturalism, and unnatural contemplation. His compositions were chosen by two nations as national anthems: India’s “Jana Gana Mana” and Bangladesh’s “Amar Shonar Bangla”. The Sri Lankan national anthem was inspired by his work.
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