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Remembering Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore on his 163rd birth anniversary

“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, one of India’s most legendary artist and a polymath, was born on May 7 in 1861 in Calcutta. He was the youngest of the 13 sons of Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi and an exceptionally talented in multifaceted areas.

Tagore was India’s first Nobel laureate and the first non-European literature laureate, to be awarded the Prize for his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse.

A pioneer in the Indian cultural renaissance, Tagore came to be recognized as one of the chief architects of modern India. He dedicated his life to poetry, art and music, composing the Indian national anthem and the national anthem of Bangladesh.

He wrote his first poem at the age of 8. By the time he reached 16, he was composing artworks under the pen name of ‘Bhanusimha’. He wrote his first short story named ‘Bhikharini’ at the age of 16 in 1877. Meanwhile, in 1882, he published his first collection of poems at the age of 23 named ‘Sandhya Sangit’.

He was inspired by the classical poetry of Kalidasa and himself started writing such poems. His famous literary works (poems) include Balaka, Purobi, Sonar Tori, and a collection of poems named Gitanjali.

Some of his famous short stories include Chokher Bali, Kabuliwala, Atithi, Charulata, and Bhikharini, among others. Additionally, Nastanirh, Ghare Baire, and Gora are his famous novels. He is the composer of more than 2,000 songs, which also include devotional hymns and the national anthem of Bangladesh.

Tagore was also a painter and had started painting in the year 1928, at the age of 67, although he used to sketch from an early age. The figures he drew, sometimes looked monstrous and fierce, as if it were an expression of his anger towards the evils of the society.

One of his famous paintings, ‘woman face’ portrays a woman surrounded by a band of colors in horizontal striations which appear to be mysterious. In light washes of pink and brown ink, the face of a woman is looking with innocent, soft eyes at the viewers. The painting exhibits almost child-like simplicity.

Tagore, an advocate of human rights, was against the unreasonable caste practices that prevailed in India. He decried the evils of India’s social systems that left millions of people under the spell of poverty and treated a group of people as untouchables.

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