My Favourite Author-Poet
Rabindranath Tagore is perhaps the greatest poet of modern India. He is sometimes called “an evolved Kalidasa” others call him “The Shelley of Bengal.”
Tagore was a Bengali by birth. But he was Indian first. Over and above this, he was a humanist, a Universalist, who loved the whole world, the whole of mankind. He considered himself a citizen of the world.
I have read many authors. But I love to read Tagore the most. He was not only a poet but also a novelist dramatist, musician, painter, and statesman- all rolled into one. In fact, he was a versatile genius. I, however, love Tagore the poet the most. His most famous book of poems is the Gitanjali, for which he got the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.
The two most famous lyrics in the Gitanjali are-
- “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high.”
- On the seashore of endless worlds, the children meet.
The first one shows the true spirit of patriotism, while the second one evinces his genuine love for children. Indeed, like Blake, Wordsworth and Jawaharlal Nehru, Tagore is one of the greatest lovers of children in literature.
He was born on May 6, 1861, in an aristocratic family in Calcutta (now called Kolkata). As he grew up, he showed his skill in the management of a vast estate. He had the milk of human kindness in his heart for the poor workers and labourers. He took great pains to improve their lot as they worked in his estate.
Tagore had his early education at home. He was not sent to any school. But he had a very sharp brain, and he quickly grasped whatever his tutor taught him, and became a great scholar. He was a very precocious child. Early in life, he learnt to sing and dance
He had a genuine love for music. As he grew up, he composed the song which we now have as our National Anthem: “Jana Gana Mana.” Even the National Anthem of Bangladesh: “Sonar Bangla” was composed by him.
Most of his poetry is written in free verse or poetic prose. His poetry is highly lyrical and musical which touches the heart. He uses simple words, metaphors and symbols in his poetry. He avoids complex words, sentences and patterns. This is one of the reasons for his undying popularity.
Moreover, he does not copy the western models. His poetry is based on Indian culture, ethos and way of life. The Gitanjali is, indeed, a beautiful poetic commentary on the immortal Indian philosophy that has come down to us from our ancient holy scriptures. Thus, it is highly spiritual and is full of eternal wisdom. W. B. Yeats, who wrote Preface to the Gitanjali, has expressed great admiration for Tagore’s poetry.
Tagore was not the sort of poet who should believe in living in an ivory tower. He was a man of the world and was in favour of coming to grips with the harsh realities of life. In his poems, he advises the readers to lead a pure physical, intellectual and spiritual life. He wanted man to be pure both in body and mind. , he was also a great teacher.
Tagore was a great lover of nature. There is the music of the soft blowing breeze, the rustling of leaves the (sweat-singing birds and of delicious lapping of sea waves against the shore in his poetry.
There are both rural and visual images in his poetry. In his poetry, we see, as in reality, the rising and setting of the sun, the floating of clouds, the flashing of lightning, and the scenery of snow-capped mountains and crystal clear lakes.
His most famous novel is Gora, which is full of genuine patriotism. One of his most popular one-act plays is Muktadhara. Among his famous short stories, we have the Postmaster, the Homecoming, the Castaway, etc.
After winning the Nobel Prize, Tagore visited several countries as a cultural ambassador, of India. About sixty universities of the world honoured him with the honorary degree of D.Litt. He played a major role in averting the partition of Bengal and participated in the Indian Independence movement. He returned the knighthood conferred on him, after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
I love Tagore for his poetry and other qualities of head and heart.