India has never produced a poet like Rabindranath Tagore (also Rabindranath Thakur). He is undoubtedly the greatest Indian poet after Kalidas. He is now recognized in the whole world as one of the greatest poets and writers of all countries and all ages.
Rabindranath Tagore was born in a rich and cultured family at Jorasanko in Calcutta (now Kolkata) on May 7, 1861. Maharshi Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Debi were his parents. His mother died in 1875 when he was just 14 years old. He began writing poems from his very childhood.
He was a poet, a painter, a patriot, a philosopher, a novelist, an educationist, singer, story writer, essayist, critic, constructive worker and what not. But it is mainly as a poet that Tagore is known to us. His subtle artistic sense, his wisdom, his wide experience of life and deep understanding of human character as reflected through his novels and short stories, and the uncommon beauty of his language and style, soon established him as the greatest poet and writer, not only of Bengal, but of the whole of India. His important works are “Geetanjali”, “Rabindra Sangeet”, “Amar Shonar Bangla”, “Ghare-Baire”, etc. The Nation Anthem of India, “Jana Gana Mana”, was composed by him.
In 1913, Rabindranath was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for English version of “Geetanjali.” Rabindranath became the first Indian, even the first Asian to get this great award. He also founded Vishwabharati University at Santiniketan in 1902. He had endless love for his country and countrymen. Tagore rejected “Knighthood” in protest against Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919.
He travelled extensively in different countries of Europe, America and Asia and delivered lectures in universities and public meeting on education. Together with Gandhiji he thought of the welfare of the people of India. His nationalism and patriotism made him great and noble.
Rabindranath can be compared with Rabindranath alone. He is considered the greatest figure in modern Indian Renaissance. We look upon him as the source of beauty and knowledge and as the inspiration of all noble thought and great ideas. Rabindranath is no more with us. But his ideas and ideals will continue to inspire and encourage the whole humanity in the days to come.