Rabindranath Tagore World Literature Analysis
A Bengali mystic and artist, Rabindranath Tagore was a great poet, philosopher, music composer and a leader of Brahma Samaj, who took the India culture and tradition to the whole world and became a voice of the Indian heritage. Best known for his poems and short stories, Tagore largely contributed to the Bengali literature in the late 19th and early 20th century and created his masterpieces such as Ghare-Baire, Yogayog, Gitanjali, and Gitimalya. The author extended his contribution during the Indian Independence Movement and wrote songs and poems galvanizing the movement, though he never directly participated in it. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1913 and became the Asia's first Nobel Laureate. Two famous songs composed by him Amar Shonar Bangala and Jana Gana Mana became a part of the national anthem of Bangladesh and India respectively after their independence. He was the only person to have written the national anthems of two countries. Aside from this, the greatest legacy of the poet to his country remains the world renowned institution he founded known as Visva-Bharati University.
Tagore’s works reflect both the pride his family felt
in their Bengali culture and their belief in a deity
who transcends the limits of time, place, and creed.
Unlike other upper-class families who expected
their children to receive the equivalent of a British
education, the Tagores insisted that in addition to
becoming fluent in English and familiar with
European literature, their children know both
Sanskrit and Bengali and read extensively in
works written in those two languages.
Involvement in the freedom struggle
In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the nationalist
fervor sweeping across the subcontinent stimulated
interest in native languages such as Bengali. The
Tagores responded to this movement in 1877 by
establishing Bharati, a monthly journal in Bengali.
It was there that Rabindranath Tagore’s first poems
appeared. Though they were highly praised, it soon
became clear that this young man did not intend to
hold to tradition. He rejected the formal tone of older
Bengali poetry, he invented new poetic forms and
tried out new meters, and most shocking of all, he
wrote in the vernacular. Tagore was just as free-
spirited when he set his poems to music, adapting
classical forms at will. Since the short story was a
relatively new form, Tagore could not so easily be
criticized for his short fiction. However, some
readers were surprised by his interest in the
powerless and by his use of a simple, colloquial
style. Tagore’s importance as a Bengali writer
cannot be overstated. He is credited with single-
handedly transforming the Bengali language.
Moreover, his experiments with form and content
made it possible for his successors to move into the
literary mainstream. For these reasons, Tagore is
called the father of modern Bengali literature and a
major influence on Indian writers.
Even in translation it is evident that Tagore is a
master of description, plot, and characterization.
However, another reason for his lasting appeal to
readers throughout the world is his spirituality. In
Gitanjali Song Offerings, it is evident that Tagore
regards his deity as an ever-present companion. In
Tagore’s fiction and his plays, it is equally clear that
he sees life as a struggle between good and evil.
Neither creed nor class can guarantee virtue;
Tagore’s noblest characters are often the most
powerless, whether because, like Nikhil in Ghare
bire (1916; The Home and the World, 1919), they
live by their principles or because, like the lowly
title character in the short story “Kabuliwallah,” they are capable of unconditional love. Tagore’s
sympathy for children, for women, and for the poor
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