“Don’t limit a child to your learning, for he was born in another time.”
These are the famous words of the Indian polymath – Rabindranath Tagore. One of the most loved and influential poets of all time wrote these lines on the ‘generation gap’ years before. Through these lines, Tagore focuses on the importance of understanding and acknowledging the generation gap.
9th May this year, marks the 161st birth anniversary of the Nobel laureate – Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti. It falls on the 25th day of the Bengali month Boisakh. In West Bengal, people celebrate Tagore Jayanti or locally known as Poncheeshe Boisakh according to the Bengali calendar.
Born on 7th May 1861, the great Bengali poet started writing poetry at the age of 8 and had his first publication at the age of 16. He used the pseudonym Bhanusimha for his short stories and drama. Tagore who never went through formal schooling was densely exposed to the world of theatre, classical music, literary discussions, and recitals both in Bengali and Western.
13-year-old Tagore’s poem Abhilaash was published in a magazine named Tattobodhini. In 1878, his first book of poems – Kabi Kahini was published. Two dramas – Visarjan and Raja-O-Rani are among his oeuvre.
Tagore is considered to have changed the outline of Bengali Literature through his music and poems. Rabindra Nritya, a dance form is named after him. As a poet, author, philosopher, dramatist, painter, and artist, he has contributed tremendously to the nation. For his work – Gitanjali – in 1913, Tagore won the Nobel Prize in Literature. That made him the first Indian and the first non-European to receive the prestigious award.
Gurudev was a name given to Tagore by Mahatma Gandhi. The two giants shared a relationship that was extremely complex and strong. The difference of opinion, occurrences of mutual respect and admiration, and similarities and disagreements, all played their part in weaving an intricate relationship between the two. Mahatma once said that he regards Tagore as a sentinel warning us against the approach of enemies. The enemies he mentioned were ‘Lethargy’, ‘Bigotry’, ‘Inertia’, ‘Ignorance’, and others of that sort. Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti is celebrated vividly in Kolkata and other parts of the country.
Some of his famous works such as Choker Bali, Ghare Baire, Nastanirh, Gora, Jogajog, and Manihara are still relevant in modern times. Tagore who is remembered for his exemplary literary work has touched upon every possible emotion through them. The biggest highlight is that these works connect with readers of all age groups. Through his books, his captivating thoughts on love, relationships, marital rape, religion, gender, and feminism are provided. Some of his novels and short stories have been adapted into films. Choker Bali, the novel Tagore wrote in 1903 was made into a film by filmmaker Rituparna Ghosh in 2003. The movie has Aishwarya Rai as Binodini and Raima Sen as Ashalata.
The only one to have written the national anthems of three countries – India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, has composed over 2230 songs. These songs are called Rabindra Sangeet. In 1905, he protested against the decision of Lord Curzon to divide Bengal. According to the West Bengal Council of Higher Education, Tagore introduced the Rakhibandhan ceremony to symbolize the unity of undivided Bengal.
Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for road, transport and highways remembered the poet.
Remembering Tagore on his Jayanti, Union Minister for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, extended his tributes as well.
The official Twitter page of the Nobel Prize commemorated the Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti by tweeting.
Rabindranath Tagore passed away on 7 August 1941. Tagore’s legacy is embodied in each and every line he wrote. Jana Gana Mana, India’s national anthem inspires every citizen of the country and brings together the cultural diversity of the nation. He lives on in the hearts and minds of people.
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