Baylor College Medical School

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Biography)

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Biography)

The life and work of Rabindranath Tagore touched every element of Bengali culture-music, poetry, philosophy, and painting-and are still influential today. He also helped introduce that culture to people beyond India.

Tagore was born in Calcutta and, like many young men from wealthy Indian families, went to England briefly to study law. Other members of the Tagore family were well-known artists and philosophers, and he grew up surrounded by literature and music. He began writing poetry in his teens and then turned to short stories, novels, and plays. At 19, he wrote his first novel, he was already famous in India.

After writing love poetry when he was young, Tagore turned to religious and philosophical writing. He also became one of the country's leading painters. Also a composer, he blended folk and classical music styles in songs known as Rabindra Sangeet. These songs became as well known as his poetry and are still sung throughout South Asia, wherever people speak Bengali. As a public figure, Tagore was greatly admired and revered, and huge crowds flocked to hear him speak in Calcutta.

In 1891 he settled in Shileida at his father's estate. The natural beauty of the countryside and the Ganges River became important elements in his work. He also came to know the rural people, whose lives he described in short stories.

Tagore's father respected philosopher, had founded a retreat in the country called Santiniketan (Abode of Peace). In 1901 Tagore established a school there to teach a blend of Eastern and Western cultures and thought. The school expanded into an international university in 1921. Tagore himself also traveled and lectured throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Tagore wrote primarily in Bengali, using its rhythm and meter. He also translated many of his own works into English. In 1913 he won the Nobel Prized for Literature for the English version of Gitanjali ("Song Offerings").

King George V knighted Tagore in 1915. Tagore gave up the honor in 1919 after British troops fired on a crowd in Amritsar, killing nearly 400 Indians.

Can you please answer this question?

Tagore had tremendous influence on so many aspects of Indian culture. Do you think one person could have this type of widespread influence on today's American culture? Please explain your answer.....

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Last updated by Aslan
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This depends if someone charismatic and influential comes along. They have to have the ability to affect the masses. They have to represent an idea that changes the way the country looks at themselves. I think Martin Luther King Jr. attained that status. President Obama might come close.