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Lesser known facts about Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore is one of the greatest revolutionaries that India has ever given to the world. Popularly known as the ‘Bard of Bengal’, he is mostly perceived as an author, poet, or playwright in the modern world. But those who’ve read him would argue that he was definitely much more than that. His ideas and philosophy about the world were so accurate and pure that they couldn’t be restricted by the barriers of language and geographical boundaries. In fact, his creations attracted a lot of attention and interest from different corners of the world to India, where for the first time even “colonists” were wooed by his revolutionary thoughts, and even his take on romanticism. Having created more than 2,000 songs, poems and other beautiful pieces of writing during his life, his legacy is still unmatched and prolific. In today’s world, he is remembered as a world-renowned Author, music icon and the first non-European to win a Nobel Prize in Literature. The Indian people and the world proudly remember and celebrate the life of the legend every year, on May 7 – which is famously known as Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti.

Some lesser-known fascinating facts about Rabindranath Tagore

  • Most of us are aware that Tagore wrote two national anthems- “Jana Gana Mana” for India and “Amar Sonar Bangla” for Bangladesh. But only a few people know that he also inspired the Sri Lankan national anthem “Sri Lanka Matha”. Tagore deeply influenced the words and music of the Lankan national anthem, ‘Sri Lanka Matha’, and its original creator Ananda Samarakoon- was a disciple of Tagore.
  • Tagore was critical of the education system of the day, which was centred around textbooks and formal schooling. He himself had no academic qualification as he skipped the conventional classroom schooling and preferred to explore things on his own. Moreover, Tagore’s father invited several professional teachers, musicians and painters to stay in the house and teach his children, and that’s how Tagore got his basic education.
  • He was a person who was interested in different domains of life. His friendship with Albert Einstein is a fine example of how science and spirituality can exist together. Einstein welcomed the Indian philosopher in his house and later met him several times in 1931. Both of them also shared a few common interests in different aspects of life including Music and general awareness.
  • Tagore was also fond of painting. He began painting much later in his life and had made more than 3,000 paintings and drawings during the last 17 years of his life. He did not have formal training in art but created a variety of images. He started to paint as he believed that painting was a universal language and can reach everyone without the need to be translated.
  • It is also believed that Tagore had a partial colour vision deficiency. Tagore took up drawing and painting at the age of 60, and many of his works were successfully exhibited throughout Europe, where his choice of colour schemes of his artwork made people realize that he was red-green colour blind.
  • The preface of Tagore’s most acclaimed work, Gitanjali, was written by another greatest poet of the 20th century, W.B. Yeats. 
  • Rabindranath Tagore’s work also had a cinematic adaptation. His works were carved out on screen even before the advent of ‘talkies’ in India. Some of these works were Manbhanjan (1929), Bisarjan (1929), and Giribala (1930) etc.

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