Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: Rabindranath Tagore Birth Anniversary

Rabindranath Tagore Birth Anniversary

Culture/History:

  • The simultaneous celebration of Rabindranath Tagore's 150th birth anniversary in India and Bangladesh marked an exceptional move to honour the poet-philosopher. It also symbolised the deep admiration that exists in both countries for the man who enriched literature as much as he did humanity as a whole.

  • He was the first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1913.

  • Tagore was poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, educationist, spiritualist, painter, lyricist, composer and singer a rare set of distinctions, an unbelievable conjunction of talents. His creative works, which still influence billions of people globally, are a matter of pride for the people of India and Bangladesh.

  • At critical moments he has been an inspiration for the people of what is now Bangladesh. Protagonists of the two-nation theory wanted to wipe out his influence. Pakistan's first military ruler, Ayub Khan, banned his songs. But the poet only became more relevant then before. A strong sense of linguistic nationalism grew around him. Finally, the people launched a strong cultural and political movement that culminated in the formation of Bangladesh.

  • While India chose his Jana gana mana as the national anthem in 1947, Bangladesh has had one of his songs as the national anthem since its birth.

  • Sri Lanka's national anthem was also penned by Tagore: And set to its tune by Tagore.

  • Indeed, Rabindranath is not only the pre-eminent literary genius of Bengal but all of South Asia, perhaps the whole of Asia.

  • Tagore's enduring influence on history comes through the many layers of his thoughts. He modernised Bangla art by refusing to follow rigid classical forms.

  • His lucid, lyrical prose and grasp of the human psychology are unique. He is the foremost lyricist of his language and the most celebrated composer. He wrote more than 2, 000 songs, and these are widely considered to be his best creation. His songs are an integral part of the Bengali culture and collective psyche. His novels are also some of the best in Bangla. He wrote lovely plays. He was a painter of note.

  • Tagore was a committed anti-colonialist. He was not a revolutionary in a political sense, but he inflamed his people by renouncing his knighthood after the colonial army indiscriminately killed Indians in Jallianwala Bagh in 1919.

  • Tagore belongs to India, and Bangladesh too. But in the truest sense, he belongs to the world. Even after 150 years of his birth, you feel his presence.

Courtesy: The Hindu and Times of India