RabindraNath Tagore was born on 6th May, 1861 in a well-to-do family of Thakurs of Bengal. His mother died when he was quite young, so his father, Devendranath, had to look after him.
Rabindra Nath was averse to studying at conventional schools from the very beginning. He disliked the set rules and the monotonous life that schools of those days provided. He was up to freedom of the body and the soul. He was, therefore, allowed to receive education at home. Yet progress was very slow. Rabindra Nath loved to be carefree, dreamy and thoughtful. His love for nature grew with years. At the age of 16 he was sent to England but he returned home after some time, without doing anything.
He started writing poetry at the early age of 15. Very soon his poetry brought him name and fame. It reflected his thoughts and feelings. His early poems were given the title of “Morning Songs”.
Simultaneously with poetry, Tagore was writing dramas and prose. Though his earlier plays are more like literary exercises, and reveal Kim more as a painter than a dramatist, yet ‘The Post Office” written in later years was given a great reception. He wrote a number of stories and novels. The short story ‘Kabuliwallah is one of his best productions.
Tagore was a lover of mankind. His love for the countryside and the calm, still beauty of the jungle did not diminish his love for the suffering humanity. He took part in politics and led an agitation against the partition of Bengal. He resigned his knighthood in protest against the British attitude towards the Indians.
Tagore initiated a new system of education. He opened a school at Santiniketan. The emphasis here was on doing manual work in the open air. The relationship between the boys and their teachers was one of close intimacy. Tagore wanted to make this school a model institution for the preservation of the essential spirit of India. He laid stress on making students self reliant in life. He drew great spiritual comfort in the solitude that pervaded around Santiniketan.
Tagore became very famous with the writing of “Gitanjali”. He was honoured with the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913 for Gitanjali. This is a collection of 103 songs which express intense love for Nature. This book has been translated into many languages of the world. It is said that even if Tagore had not written anything else, his fame would not have been any the less.
In India it is difficult to come across people like Tagore. He was a great philosopher, artist, philanthropist all combined into one. He died in 1941.