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Rabindranath Tagore


Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was the youngest son of Debendranath Tagore, a leader of the Brahmo Samaj, which was a new religious sect in nineteenth-century Bengal and which attempted a revival of the ultimate monistic basis of Hinduism as laid down in the Upanishads. He was educated at home; and although at seventeen he was sent to England for formal schooling, he did not finish his studies there. In his mature years, in addition to his many-sided literary activities, he managed the family estates, a project which brought him into close touch with common humanity and increased his interest in social reforms. He also started an experimental school at Shantiniketan where he tried his Upanishadic ideals of education. From time to time he participated in the Indian nationalist movement, though in his own non-sentimental and visionary way; and Gandhi, the political father of modern India, was his devoted friend. Tagore was knighted by the ruling British Government in 1915, but within a few years he resigned the honour as a protest against British policies in India.

Tagore had early success as a writer in his native Bengal. With his translations of some of his poems he became rapidly known in the West. In fact his fame attained a luminous height, taking him across continents on lecture tours and tours of friendship. For the world he became the voice of India's spiritual heritage; and for India, especially for Bengal, he became a great living institution.
Although Tagore wrote successfully in all literary genres, he was first of all a poet. Among his fifty and odd volumes of poetry are Manasi (1890) [The Ideal One], Sonar Tari (1894) [The Golden Boat], Gitanjali (1910) [Song Offerings], Gitimalya (1914) [Wreath of Songs], andBalaka (1916) [The Flight of Cranes]. The English renderings of his poetry, which include The Gardener (1913), Fruit-Gathering (1916), and The Fugitive (1921), do not generally correspond to particular volumes in the original Bengali; and in spite of its title, Gitanjali: Song Offerings(1912), the most acclaimed of them, contains poems from other works besides its namesake. Tagore's major plays are Raja (1910) [The King of the Dark Chamber], Dakghar (1912) [The Post Office], Achalayatan (1912) [The Immovable], Muktadhara (1922) [The Waterfall], andRaktakaravi (1926) [Red Oleanders]. He is the author of several volumes of short stories and a number of novels, among them Gora (1910), Ghare-Baire (1916) [The Home and the World], and Yogayog (1929) [Crosscurrents]. Besides these, he wrote musical dramas, dance dramas, essays of all types, travel diaries, and two autobiographies, one in his middle years and the other shortly before his death in 1941. Tagore also left numerous drawings and paintings, and songs for which he wrote the music himself.

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1 comment:

  1. INCLUDE PAKISTAN IN RABINDRANATH TAGORE'S 150TH BIRTHDAY JOINT ANNIVERSARY PROGRAMMES.

    UNESCO declared 2011 as the year of Rabindranath Tagore and his 150th birth anniversary were celebrated all across the globe including Germany, Japan, Italy, Russia and China. Bangladesh and India had arranged a year-long joint commemorative programmes both at government and non-governmental levels. However, nothing was heard from Pakistan.

    Ironically, Tagore's writing became an indicator of tolerance of a society. Tagore's writing was banned and burned in Nazi-occupied Europe, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan. Tagore was once banned in Communist Russia and China. Tagore became a target from all directions in pre-1971 Pakistan. Finally in 1971, Tagore became a matter of 'life and death' in Pakistan Army occupied Bangladesh. Pakistan's fury knew no bound when the Bangladesh (Mujib Nagar) Government-in-Exile adopted 'Amar Sonar Bangla' as the National Anthem of Bangladesh (May 1971). Tagore experts at Universities were selectively targeted and killed by the Pakistan Army and Al-Badr gangs. I remember my mother tore pages from a thick book and threw into oven fire during a house to house search in old Dhaka by Pakistan Army (probably October/November 1971) --- a (Tagore's) volume was mistakenly not destroyed till then.

    State-sponsor manipulation of religion is nothing new in Pakistan. But during 1980's the military rulers in Pakistan adopted a US plan funded (mainly) by Saudi Arabia --- the radicalisation of the society and defence forces (to subdue the communist Russia in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries). Over the years radical and militant ideas rooted deeply in Pakistan society. Civil society, media and intellectuals seems cowed into submission and radical jihadist become uncontrollable for its creators. Nuclear armed Pakistan's trajectory is now defined by the radicals. This cause panic in US and rest of the world. Now the US has came up with 'de-radicalisation' plan which include the promotion of Sufism (Sufi teachings, Sufi music, Sufi Universities etc.). Many doubt if 'Sufi therapy' would work for Pakistan at this late stage but there is no harm in trying it. The core of Sufism --- peace, love, tolerance, enlightenment --- and Tagore's philosophy are essentially the same. Like the Sufis, Tagore has message for the soul.

    So, I request the Bangladesh and Indian governments and non-governmental cultural organizations to include Pakistan in their joint celebrations of Rabindranath Tagore's 150th birth anniversary and beyond.

    M. Emad.
    Oxford, UK.

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