Rabindranath Tagore, also known as Rabindranath Thakur, was an Indian Bengali intellectual who was a poet, novelist, playwright, composer, philosopher, social reformer, and painter. He lived from 7 May 1861 to 7 August 1941. In the early 20th century, he used Contextual Modernism to transform Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art. Tagore was the first non-European and also the first lyricist to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913, for his “profoundly sensitive, fresh, and lovely” poetry of Gitanjali. His poetic compositions were considered mystical and mercurial, yet his “beautiful prose and magical poetry” are largely unknown outside of Bengal. “The Bard of Bengal,” as he is known, is a moniker he has earned. The Royal Asiatic Society appointed him as a fellow.
Tagore, a Bengali Brahman from Kolkata with gentry ancestors in Burdwan and Jessore, began writing poems when he was eight years old. Under the nickname “Bhanusingha”, he published his first big poetry at the age of sixteen, which were hailed as long-lost classics by literary authorities. By 1877, he had advanced to short stories and dramas, which he published under his real name. He attacked the British Raj and demanded independence from Britain as a humanist, universalist, internationalist, and fervent anti-nationalist. He established a huge canon as a proponent of the Bengal Renaissance, which included paintings, sketches and doodles, hundreds of writings, and over two thousand songs; his legacy also includes the creation of Visva-Bharati University.
Tagore revolutionized Bengali art by rejecting rigid classical conventions and defying language constraints. His best-known works include Gitanjali (Song Offerings), Gora (Fair-Faced), and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World), Chokher Bali, Noukadubi and his poetry, short stories, and novels were praised—or panned—for their lyricism, colloquialism, naturalism, and unnatural introspection.
In addition to these, his popular books are Sanchayita, Bou Thakuranir Haat, Chaturanga, Char Adhyay, Dui Bon, Malancha, Manasi, Japan Jatri, Raktakarabi, Bosonto, Kabuliwala, Tota Kahini, Master Moshai, Ichhapuron, Tin Songi, Otithi, Jibito O Mrito, Ekti Ashare Golpo, Konkal, Karmafal, Khokababur Prottaborton, Ghater Kotha, Joy Porajoy, Chorai Dhon, Chitrakar, Postmaster, Bolai, Bhikharini, Somapti, Sampatti Samarpan, Chitra, Bonoful, Kolpona, Kheya, Dakghor, Sharadotsav, Chitrangada, Katha O Kahini, Kori o Komol, Swadesh, Sonar Tori, Shesher Kobita, Jogajog, Rajarshi, Jiban Smriti, Golpo Guccho, Sangeet Chinta, Srestha Rabindra Swaralipi, Probondho Samagra, Padratnabali, Chitra Bichitra, Gitabitan, Golpo Somogro, Uponnash Somogro, Rabindra Rachanabali Samagra etc.
His works have been adopted as national anthems by two countries: India’s “Jana Gana Mana” and Bangladesh’s “Amar Shonar Bangla.” His work provided the inspiration for the Sri Lankan national anthem.