Tagore - A Life Of Learning
An Azim Premji University Publication
People and Ideas
Azim Premji University
Text: Selections from Tagore’s own writings ( original and translations) Concept and Design: Jayshree Nair-Misra, Azim Premji University Illustrations: Biswajith Manimaran, Srishti School of Design, Bangalore.
Published by Azim Premji University 2012 Printed by SCPL DESIGN, 2nd Flr | 2/1 JC Indl Area Kanakapura Road, Bangalore - 560 062, India
Tagore - A Life of Learning
Azim Premji University Publication
“In our childhood, we would read every available book from one end to the other. Both what we understood and what we did not, went on working within us.“ - Rabindranath Tagore 3
On The Seashore
“On the seashore of endless worlds children meet. The infinite sky is motionless overhead and the restless water is boisterous. On the seashore of endless worlds the children meet with shouts and dances. They build their houses with sand and they play with empty shells. With withered leaves they weave their boats and smilingly float them on the vast deep. Children have their play on the seashore of worlds.“ - Rabindranath Tagore
The ‘People and Ideas’ initiative of Azim Premji University, is an attempt to explore the ideas, lives and works of the many social reformers, artists, scientists, philosophers and educationists who have influenced us deeply. During this process we hope to develop a platform to understand, engage with and discuss the ideas that have fundamentally shaped our vision and philosophy. We begin this series with a graphic novel on Rabindranath Tagore’s ideas and philosophy of education. Tagore expresses in all his writings, that he experienced no joy while being taught by a series of teachers, or shifting from one conventional school to another. His approach to teaching grew from his life experiences. The school he set up in Santiniketan was ‘conceived to free the students’ minds and lead them to a state of creative unity where they would respect human beings, irrespective of caste or creed’. Tagore tried to inculcate the joy of learning among his students by integrating the classroom with nature. The myriad celebrations at Visva Bharati were envisaged to educate his students about the natural and human world around them, about collective action and community involvement. The dream was to foster complete human development where the unique potential of each child could flower in a happy and secure environment.
We at Azim Premji University have endeavoured to bring out the enduring vision of this extraordinary human being and educationist by providing glimpses of his childhood, his ideas and his beliefs (mostly in his own words). The text of this graphic novel consists primarily of selections from Tagore’s own autobiographical writings, both original and translations. Uma Das Gupta’s work on Tagore - “My Life In My Words” has been the primary reference and source of much of the material that appears here. The illustrations in the book have been done by a young student of art and the images have been sourced from the Rabindra Bhavan Archives, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan. For me personally, this has been an inspiring journey of discovery into the mind of a sensitive and empathetic visionary. Tagore is an educator for all times and his ideas are as relevant today, as they were when he lived. The lives and thoughts of such luminaries can influence attitudes, encourage reflection and catalyze change in the minds of our teachers, our students and the societies that we are a part of. We hope that the “People and Ideas” initiative will play its own small part in keeping alive this precious legacy. Jayshree Nair-Misra Azim Premji University, Bangalore 7
Currents of Movements...
In the decade of 1860s, Bengal was caught in the currents of several parallel movements. Raja Ram Mohan Roy had begun to question orthodox religious ideas and reopen the channels...
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