Rabindranath Tagore was a great poet, philosopher, painter, patriot, humanist, and above all, a Universalist. Rabindranath was born on 6 May, 1861 in his ancestral home at Jorasanko in Calcutta. He was the fourteenth child of his parents. He was brought up in a big affluent joint family along with other children. But he was different from others.
School education within the four walls did not please him. He liked the outside world-the open sky overhead and the earth under the feet. So he was educated at home by private teachers who taught him various subjects. From his early years, Rabindranath wrote poems. Some of his poems were published in periodicals, when he was very young.
Tagore was sent to England for higher education. But there also, the traditional system of education did not satisfy him. He came back to India, and established a school named Santiniketan at Bolpur in the district of Birbhum in Bengal.
There the teachers used to take classes under the trees with open sky overhead, and green grass under the feet. The said school, in later years, became a college, and then, a famous university under the name of ‘Visva-Bharati’, where students from different parts of the world come to study today.
Rabindranath Tagore wrote not only poems but also short stories, dramas, novels and essays. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his famous book of songs called ‘Gitanjali’ in 1913. The British Crown awarded him the Knighthood, which he had, however, returned as a mark of protest against the inhuman massacre in Jallianwalabagh, of unarmed innocent children, women and the old Indians by the British armed forces, without any provocation from the former.
Tagore took part in the freedom movement by composing a number of patriotic songs, by opening a swadeshi shop selling only Indian goods, and by rejecting foreign goods. He gave us the national anthem: Jana Gana Maria. Tagore passed away in 1941 at Calcutta.