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Rabindranath Tagore, a popular Bengali-poet, artist, musician, Ayurveda researcher and polymath was born on 7 May 1861. He is often referred to as Gurudev, Kabiguru and Biswakabi by his admirers. During the late 19th century and early 20th century, he extensively reshaped the Bengali literature, music and art. On his birth anniversary, we are here with some facts about the famous poet. Scroll down the article to read more.
1. Rabindranath Tagore was born as Robindronath Thakur to parents Debendranath Tagore and Sarda Devi. He was the youngest of the thirteen surviving children of the couple. His pet name was Rabi.
2. Tagore was quite young when his mother Sarda Devi passed away in 1875. He was then raised by his servants and caretaker of the family.
3. The Tagore family originally held the surname Kushari as they belonged to a village named Kush of Bardhaman district in Kolkata.
4. Tagore's father appointed Dhrupad musicians to come home and train the children in Indian classical music. His eldest brother Dwijendranath became a philosopher and poet while his other brother Satyendranath became the first Indian to join the formerly All-European Indian Civil Services.
5. Upon turning 11 years old, Rabindranath Tagore went on an All-India tour with his father. He visited Shantiniketan, his father's estate and also stayed for about a month in Amritsar. During his stay in Amritsar, Tagore was deeply influenced by Nanak Bani and Gurbani being recited at the Golden Temple. He once mentioned it in his book, My Reminiscences, "The golden temple of Amritsar comes back to me like a dream. Many a morning have I accompanied my father to this Gurudarbar of the Sikhs in the middle of the lake. There the sacred chanting resounds continually. My father, seated amidst the throng of worshippers, would sometimes add his voice to the hymn of praise, and finding a stranger joining in their devotions they would wax enthusiastically cordial, and we would return loaded with the sanctified offerings of sugar crystals and other sweets."
6. At the age of 16, Tagore published his first set of substantial poems under the pen name Bhanusimha.
7. In 1877, Tagore debuted with a short-story named 'Bhikharini' meaning the beggar woman.
8. In 1878, Tagore was enrolled at a public school in Brighton, East Sussex, England as his father wanted him to become a barrister. There he stayed in the house owned by his family near Hove and Brighton.
9. He studied Law at University College London for a short time when he moved out to independently study Shakespeare's plays such as Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus. He also studied Religio Medici by Thomas Browne.
10. In the year 1880, he returned to Bengal without completing his study. He then went on to compose poems, write stories and novels. Though his works didn't receive much attention across the country, he received a great response in Bengal.
11. It was in the year 1883 when he married 10 years old Bhabtarini Devi who was later named as Mrinalini Devi. The couple was later blessed with five children. However, two of them died in their childhood only.
12. Soon Rabindranath Tagore moved to Shelaidaha, his ancestral estate (present-day in Bangladesh) in 1890. In 1898, his wife and children joined him in Shelaidaha. Tagore along with his family spent a long time in this place and also composed some of his great poems.
13. While staying in Shelaidaha, he mostly collected rents and helped the villagers. He also befriended many of the villages.
14. The period of 1891 to 1895, is known as Tagore's Sadhana period. This is because during these years he wrote many stories and poems. This was named after one of his magazines that became quite popular among the people.
15. In 1901, Rabindranath Tagore moved to Santiniketan, a place in West Bengal. There he found, The Mandir, an experimental school and an ashram having a prayer hall. This is the place where his wife and two of his children died. Later in 1905, Tagore's father also died.
16. His book Gitanjali, meaning song offerings, was released in 1912. The book became quite popular. Even today the book is quite popular.
17. It was in November 1913 when Tagore received the Nobel Prize in Literature, thus becoming the first Non-European to win this award. The award was focused on his work Gitanjali.
18. Tagore renounced his knighthood given by King George V in 1915 Birthday Honours after the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919. The incident took place on 13 April that claimed the lives of thousands of innocent people.
19. Tagore wrote some popular and much-loved dramas also. Some of these are Valmiki Pratibha, Visarjan which was an adaptation of the novel Rajarshi, Dak Ghar and Raktakarabi. Visarjan is said to be one of the finest plays of Rabindranath Tagore. He also wrote various short stories, songs, dance plays and novels.
20. At the age of 80 years, Rabindranath Tagore died On 7 August 1941, in Calcutta, Bengal Presidency (current day, Kolkata, West Bengal, India).