Rabindranath Tagore belonged to a very respectable family of Bengal. He was born on 7 May, 1861 at Jorsanko in Kolkata. His father’s name was Debendranath Tagore. He received elementary education at two schools in Kolkata after which he sailed for England in 1871 for higher education. He joined the University College of London.
Tagore’s family life was not very happy. He was married in 1888 but his wife died in 1902. His father passed away in 1907. These fateful events in his life made him religious and emotional.
Tagore was a fine writer. He was the editor of several magazines. The Gitanjali is one of his best books, for which the Nobel Prize was awarded to him. His poems combine tender humanity with a deep religious touch. The Balka and Purabi are his great works. One of his greatest poetical dramas is the Chitrangada. He also wrote some beautiful short stories, one of the most famous ones for children is the Kabulliwallah.
Tagore was a great lover of India. He raised his voice against the British. He fought the war for freedom through his writings. He was a great educationist also. He founded the Vishwabharati in 1901. It has become a famous university of the world. He wanted to make India a home of culture and education.
Rabindranath was a saint and seer. He was born to rule the hearts of men and lead them from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge. His message has a universal appeal. He has taught us to love nature in most intimate moods to be in communion which has enriched the literature that he has given us. He brought nature and man close together. He preferred the modern ideas of freedom in education and contact with nature. He radiated his message to strive for freedom of speech and expression.
Tagore not only loved India with devotion, but also was proud of her physical beauties. He said about his motherland, “My country has given me life and strength. I shall be born in India again. With all her poverty, misery and wretchedness, I love India best.” He believed that mere patriotism was not enough. We should place our love for mankind above all local attachments. He taught us to find the beauty of human relationship here and now, in the daily life of common people. Nationalism must lead to internationalism. Man must love man wherever he is. It is with this ideal which he preached tirelessly.
Tagore loved children profoundly. He used to lose himself in joy when he taught little children. He was indeed a Gurudev, a great teacher on this earth.
Tagore died on 7 August, 1941. He was a writer, educationist, social reformer and patriot — all combined in one.