Rabindranath Tagore’s Poetry and Legacy

The Biography of Famous Personalities of India will tell you about the controversies, the dark sides of a person that you may have never heard of.

Rabindranath Tagore’s Poetry and Legacy

Tagore’s Poetry

Tagore’s poetry varied in style from classical formalism to the comic, visionary, and ecstatic proceeds out a lineage established by 15th- and 16th-century Vaisnava poets.

Tagore was also influenced by the mysticism of the rishi-authors including Vyasa who wrote the Upanishads, the Bhakta-Sufi mystic Kabir, and Ramprasad. Yet, Tagore’s poetry became most innovative and mature after his exposure to rural Bengal’s folk music, which included ballads sung by Baul folk singers— especially the bard Lalan Sah.

These, which were rediscovered and popularised by Tagore resemble 19th-century Kartabhaja hymns that emphasize inward divinity and rebellion against religious and social orthodoxy.

During his Shelidah years, Tagore poems took on a lyrical quality. A figure sought connection with divinity through appeal to nature and the emotional interplay of human drama. Tagore used such techniques in his Bhanusiha poems which chronicle the romanticism between Radha and Krishna which he repeatedly revised over the course of seventy years.

Later, Tagore responded to the crude emergence of modernism and realism in Bengali literature by writing experimental works in the 1930s. Examples of works include Africa and Camalia, which are among the better known of his latter poems.

Tagore also occasionally wrote poems using Shadhu Bhasha and later, he began using Cholti Bhasha, a more popular dialect. Other notable works include Manasi, Sonar Tori Balaka, Wild Geese the title being a metaphor for migrating souls. Sonar Tori is the most famous poem — dealing with the ephemeral nature of life.

However, internationally, Gitanjali is Tagore’s best- known collection, winning him his Nobel Prize. Gitanjali marked complexities characterise Tagore’s political views.

Though he criticised European imperialism and supported Indian nationalists, he also lampooned the Swadeshi movement, denouncing it in “The Cult of the Charka”. Instead, he emphasized self-help and intellectual uplift of the masses, stating that British imperialism was not as a primary evil, but instead a “political symptom of our social disease”, urging Indians to accept that “there can be no question of blind revolution, but of steady and purposeful education”.

Tagore work also has been translated into several other languages apart from Hindi and English.

Tagore dreamt Shantiniketan a world centre for the study of humanity, somewhere beyond the limits of nation and geography.The school — which he named Visva-Bharatihad its foundation stone laid on December 22, 1918; it was later inaugurated on December 22, 1921. Here, Tagore implemented a brahmacharya pedagogical structure employing gurus to provide individualised guidance for pupils.

Tagore’s duties as steward and mentor at Shantiniketan kept him busy; he taught classes in mornings and wrote the students’ textbooks in afternoons and evenings. Tagore also fundraised extensively for the school in Europe and the US between 1919 and 1921.

His dream for the future India, which was then under the British rule, has been immortalized in his most quoted composition: “chitto jetha bhayshunyo” (Where the mind is without fear).

Tagore’s Legacy

Tagore’s great impact can be felt through many festivals held worldwide in his honour — examples include the annual Bengali festival/celebration of Kabipranam (Tagore’s birthday anniversary), the annual Tagore Festival held in Urbana, Illinois in the United States, the Rabindra Path Parikrama walking pilgrimages leading . from Kolkata (former Calcutta) to Shantiniketan, and ceremonial recitals of Tagore’s poetry held on important anniversaries.

This legacy is most palpable in Bengali culture, ranging from language and arts to history and politics; indeed, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen noted that even for modern Bengalis, Tagore was a “towering figure”, being a “deeply relevant and many-sided contemporary thinker”. Tagore’s collected Bangla-language writings — the 1939 Rabindra Racanavali — is also canonized as one of Bengal’s greatest cultural treasures, while Tagore himself has been proclaimed “the greatest poet India has produced”.

He was also famed throughout much of Europe, North America, and East Asia. He was key in founding Dartington Hall School, a progressive coeducational institution; in Japan, he influenced such figures as Nobel laureate Yasunari Kawabata.

Tagore’s works were widely translated into many European languages — a process that began with Czech indologist Vincent Slesny and French Nobel laureate Andre Gide — including Russian, English, Dutch, German, Spanish, and others.

Tagore’s wide appeal may stem from the fact that he speaks of longings for perfection. He awakens a dormant sense of childish wonder, and he saturates the air with all kinds of enchanting promises for the reader, who pays little attention to the deeper import of Oriental mysticism.

Tagore’s poetry has been set to music by various composers, among them is classical composer Arthur Shepherd’s triptych for soprano and string quartet.