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Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali polymath who reshaped Bengali literature and music.
Tagores three volume Galpaguchchha comprises eighty four stories that reflect upon the authors surroundings, on modern and fashionable ideas, and on mind puzzles. Tagore associated his earliest stories, such as those of the Sadhana period, with an exuberance of vitality and spontaneity, these traits were cultivated by zamindar Tagores life in Patisar, Shajadpur, Shelaidaha, and other villages. Seeing the common and the poor, he examined their lives with a depth and feeling singular in Indian literature up to that point. In The Fruitseller from Kabul, Tagore speaks in first person as a town dweller and novelist imputing exotic perquisites to an Afghan seller. He channels the lucubrative lust of those mired in the blas?, nidorous, and sudorific morass of subcontinental city life for distant vistas. There were autumn mornings, the time of year when kings of old went forth to conquest, and I, never stirring from my little corner in Calcutta, would let my mind wander over the whole world. At the very name of another country, my heart would go out to it I would fall to weaving a network of dreams the mountains, the glens, the forest .
The Golpoguchchho (Bunch of Stories) was written in Tagores Sabuj Patra period, which lasted from 1914 to 1917 and was named for another of his magazines. These yarns are celebrated fare in Bengali fiction and are commonly used as plot fodder by Bengali film and theatre. The Ray film Charulata echoed the controversial Tagore novella Nastanirh (The Broken Nest). In Atithi, which was made into another film, the little Brahmin boy Tarapada shares a boat ride with a village zamindar. The boy relates his flight from home and his subsequent wanderings. Taking pity, the elder adopts him, he fixes the boy to marry his own daughter. The night before his wedding, Tarapada runs offagain. Strir Patra (The Wifes Letter) is an early treatise in female emancipation. Mrinal is wife to a Bengali middle class man prissy, preening, and patriarchal. Travelling alone she writes a letter, which comprehends the story. She details the pettiness of a life spent entreating his viraginous virility, she ultimately gives up married life, proclaiming, Amio bachbo. Ei bachlum And I shall live. Here, I live.Haimanti assails Hindu arranged marriage and spotlights their often dismal domesticity, the hypocrisies plaguing the Indian middle classes, and how Haimanti, a young woman, due to her insufferable sensitivity and free spirit, foredid herself. In the last passage Tagore blasts the reification of Sitas self immolation attempt, she had meant to appease her consort Ramas doubts of her chastity. Musalmani Didi eyes recrudescent Hindu Muslim tensions and, in many ways, embodies the essence of Tagores humanism. The somewhat auto referential Darpaharan describes a fey young man who harbours literary ambitions. Though he loves his wife, he wishes to stifle her literary career, deeming it unfeminine. In youth Tagore likely agreed with him. Darpaharan depicts the final humbling of the man as he ultimately acknowledges his wifes talents. As do many other Tagore stories, Jibito o Mrito equips Bengalis with a ubiquitous epigram Kadombini moriya proman korilo she more naiKadombini died, thereby proving that she hadnt.
Tagores poetic style, which proceeds from a lineage established by 15th and 16th century Vaishnava poets, ranges from classical formalism to the comic, visionary, and ecstatic. He was influenced by the atavistic mysticism of Vyasa and other rishi authors of the Upanishads, the Bhakti Sufi mystic Kabir, and Ramprasad Sen. Tagores most innovative and mature poetry embodies his exposure to Bengali rural folk music, which included mystic Baul ballads such as those of the bard Lalon. These, rediscovered and repopularised by Tagore, resemble 19th century Kartabhaja hymns that emphasise inward divinity and rebellion against bourgeois bhadralok religious and social orthodoxy. During his Shelaidaha years, his poems took on a lyrical voice of the moner manush, the Bauls man within the heart and Tagores life force of his deep recesses, or meditating upon the jeevan devatathe demiurge or the living God within. This figure connected with divinity through appeal to nature and the emotional interplay of human drama. Such tools saw use in his Bhanusi?ha poems chronicling the Radha Krishna romance, which were repeatedly revised over the course of seventy years. Tagore reacted to the halfhearted uptake of modernist and realist techniques in Bengali literature by writing matching experimental works in the 1930s. These include Africa and Camalia, among the better known of his latter poems. He occasionally wrote poems using Shadhu Bhasha, a Sanskritised dialect of Bengali, he later adopted a more popular dialect known as Cholti Bhasha. Other works include Manasi, Sonar Tori (Golden Boat), Balaka (Wild Geese, a name redolent of migrating souls), and Purobi. Sonar Toris most famous poem, dealing with the fleeting endurance of life and achievement, goes by the same name, hauntingly it ends Shunno nodir tire rohinu po?i Jaha chhilo loe g
Tagores political thought was tortuous. He opposed imperialism and supported Indian nationalists, and these views were first revealed in Manast, which was mostly composed in his twenties. Evidence produced during the Hindu German Conspiracy Trial and latter accounts affirm his awareness of the Ghadarites, and stated that he sought the support of Japanese Prime Minister Terauchi Masatake and former Premier okuma Shigenobu. Yet he lampooned the Swadeshi movement, he rebuked it in The Cult of the Charka, an acrid 1925 essay. He urged the masses to avoid victimology and instead seek self help and education, and he saw the presence of British administration as a political symptom of our social disease. He maintained that, even for those at the extremes of poverty, there can be no question of blind revolution, preferable to it was a steady and purposeful education.
Such views enraged many. He escaped assassinationand only narrowlyby Indian expatriates during his stay in a San Francisco hotel in late 1916, the plot failed when his would be assassins fell into argument. Yet Tagore wrote songs lionising the Indian independence movement Two of Tagores more politically charged compositions, Chitto Jetha Bhayshunyo (Where the Mind is Without Fear) and Ekla Chalo Re (If They Answer Not to Thy Call, Walk Alone), gained mass appeal, with the latter favoured by Gandhi. Though somewhat critical of Gandhian activism, Tagore was key in resolving a Gandhi Ambedkar dispute involving separate electorates for untouchables, thereby mooting at least one of Gandhis fasts unto death.
14. Repudiation of Knighthood
Tagore renounced his knighthood, in response to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919. In the repudiation letter to the Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford, he wroteThe time has come when badges of honour make our shame glaring in the incongruous context of humiliation, and I for my part, wish to stand, shorn, of all special distinctions, by the side of those of my countrymen who, for their so called insignificance, are liable to suffer degradation not fit for human beings.
15. Santiniketan and Visva Bharati
Tagore despised rote classroom schooling in The Parrots Training, a bird is caged and force fed textbook pagesto death. Tagore, visiting Santa Barbara in 1917, conceived a new type of university he sought to make Santiniketan the connecting thread between India and the world and a world center for the study of humanity somewhere beyond the limits of nation and geography. The school, which he named Visva Bharati, had its foundation stone laid on 24 December 1918 and was inaugurated precisely three years later. Tagore employed a brahmacharya system gurus gave pupils personal guidanceemotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Teaching was often done under trees. He staffed the school, he contributed his Nobel Prize monies, and his duties as steward mentor at Santiniketan kept him busy mornings he taught classes, afternoons and evenings he wrote the students textbooks. He fundraised widely for the school in Europe and the United States between 1919 and 1921.
Every year, many events pay tribute to Tagore Kabipranam, his birth anniversary, is celebrated by groups scattered across the globe, the annual Tagore Festival held in Urbana, Illinois, Rabindra Path Parikrama walking pilgrimages from Calcutta to Santiniketan, and recitals of his poetry, which are held on important anniversaries. Bengali culture is fraught with this legacy from language and arts to history and politics. Amartya Sen scantly deemed Tagore a towering figure, a deeply relevant and many sided contemporary thinker. Tagores Bengali originalsthe 1939 Rab?ndra Rachanaval?is canonised as one of his nations greatest cultural treasures, and he was roped into a reasonably humble role the greatest poet India has produced.
Tagore was renowned throughout much of Europe, North America, and East Asia. He co founded Dartington Hall School, a progressive coeducational institution, in Japan, he influenced such figures as Nobel laureate Yasunari Kawabata. Tagores works were widely translated into English, Dutch, German, Spanish, and other European languages by Czech indologist Vincenc Lesn?, French Nobel laureate Andr? Gide, Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, former Turkish Prime Minister B
17. Short stories
Tagore wrote many stories during the period from 1891 to 1895. Galpaguchchha (Bunch of Stories) is a three volume collection of eighty four of his stories. Tagore wrote about half of these stories during the period 1891 to 1895. This collection continues to be very popular work of Bangla literature. These stories have given ideas to produce many movies and theatrical plays.Tagore drew inspiration and ideas for writing his stories from his surroundings, from the village life of India. He saw the poor people very closely during travels to manage his familys large landholdings. Sometimes he used different themes to taste his depth of his intellect.
18. Last years
Even during the last decade of life, Tagore remained publicly active. He criticized Mohandas Gandhi, the Indian leader, for Gandhis comments about an earthquake on January 15 1934 in Bihar. Gandhi had commented that the earthquake had happened on account of Gods will to punish people for practicing casteism. He was also sad at the decline of Bengal and poverty in Kolkata. He wrote a poem of one hundred lines about the poverty of Kolkata. Later on, Satyajit Ray based one of his movies on this poem.During this period, Tagore wrote fifteen volumes of prose poems. They covered many aspects of human life. In his last years, Tagore took an interest in science, and wrote a collection of essays. These essays explored biology, physics, and astronomy.Tagore spent last four years (1937 1941) of his life in pain and illness. In late 1937, he lost consciousness. He remained in coma for a long time. Three years later, this happened again. During this period, whenever he felt better, he composed poems. These poems are his best poems. These poems deal with his close encounters with death. After a long period of suffering, Tagore died on August 7 1941, in the same large house in Kolkata where he was born and where he had spent his childhood.
19. The Indian Renaissance
Now the door has opened none shall be turned away from the shore of this vast sea of humanity that is India, wrote Tagore, the poet and cultural nationalist, whose poem was to be echoed in Indias national anthem.We have discovered by now that the stereotype of the Unchanging East obscures more than it explains. Yet, equally unhelpful in the Asian context is the Victorian concept of Progress or in our own day Development (they are much the same) envisaging an onward evolution towards an advanced material culture. This error was perceived long ago by an Indian thinker when he wrote.
The poet Rabindranath Tagore died on August 7th, 1941. Hugh Tinker charts the life of the man who was, perhaps, Indias greatest son in modern times.We have discovered by now that the stereotype of the Unchanging East obscures more than it explains. Yet, equally unhelpful in the Asian context is the Victorian concept of Progress or in our own day Development (they are much the same) envisaging an onward evolution towards an advanced material culture.
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