Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941 C.E.), sobriquet Gurudev was a Bengali poet and multi-talented personality who composed the National Anthem of India and won the Nobel Prize for Literature. According to English calendar he was born on 7th May 1861 in the Jorasanko mansion (the ancestral home of the Tagore family) in Kolkata to parents Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi.
Tagore wrote poetry as an eight-year-old. He also started composing art works at a tender age and by the age of sixteen he had started publishing poems under the pseudonym Bhanusimha. He also wrote the short story, ‘Bhikharini’ in 1877 and the poem collection, ‘Sandhya Sangit’ in 1882. Tagore was largely home-schooled and was trained by his siblings in the field of gymnastics, martial arts, art, anatomy, literature, history and mathematics among various other subjects. In 1873, during his journey of the country with his father, he accumulated knowledge on several subjects. He was sent to England in the year 1878 as his father wanted him to become a barrister and his traditional education began in Brighton, East Sussex, England, at a public school. He was later on enrolled at the University College in London but he dropped out and learned several works of Shakespeare on his own. After learning the essence of English, Irish and Scottish literature and music, he returned to India and married Mrinalini Devi.
According to Bengali calendar he was born on 25th day of Boishakh month, in 1422 Bengali Era. In West Bengal Rabindranath Tagore anniversary is observed as per local Bengali calendar. The day of Boishakh 25th currently overlaps with either 8th May or 9th May on Gregorian calendar. However, in other states Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti is observed as per Gregorian calendar on 7th May. In Kolkata Tagore Jayanti is popularly known as Poncheeshe Boishakh.
Tagore’s talent was multifaceted, although he found himself in poetry. Gitanjali, which was released in 1910, was a collection of poems that received the prestigious Nobel Prize in literature. Other important works are Manasi (1890), Sonar Tari (1894), Gitimalya (1914), and plays such as Raja (1910), Dakghar (1912), etc. Tagore was also an accomplished artist, leaving behind several paintings that are a treasure in themselves. He was also interested in music, and wrote a few songs and provided music for them. The legacy of Tagore still shapes young minds and hearts in India, beckoning them to expand their horizons and challenge the established order. It’d be unfair to classify his multi talents as a poet, leader or writer, but perhaps his contribution as a social reformer for his ideas on gender, culture, freedom and education is also the most important.