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.
Tagore As a Child and His Education
Tagore As A Child
Rabindranath Tagore was very beautiful to look at and also very smart. His father was rich and well respected who owned vast plots of land and had many servants. The boy spent most of his time with the servants. He was the youngest in the family and the servants all adored him.
One day, he was singing a song he had composed. The song expressed the idea that, “The eye cannot see you, although you are inside the eye. The heart cannot know you, although you are inside the heart.” He was singing it most soulfully, and the tune was hauntingly beautiful.
The father heard him singing from another room and was deeply moved. He asked his servants to go and bring the little boy to him. Then the father said to his youngest son, “Can you sing the song for me again?”
The boy did not often get the opportunity to come to his father because his father was always very busy. So although it was a great honour that his father had called him, he was also afraid of his father.
The father said, “I’m your father. Don’t be shy. Just sing your song, my child.”
The boy sang and the father was so deeply moved that he went into trance. When his song ended, the father entered his office and wrote the boy a cheque for 500 rupees. In those days, 500 rupees for a child was really something. When he gave it to the boy, he said, “in the past, the Mughal Emperors honoured talented people with gifts. The Mughal Emperors are no more, but your talent is so remarkable that you deserve that kind of honour.”
His son was excited and delighted. He ran and showed the cheque to his servants. The servants lifted him up into the air. They were so proud that their little hero had become such a great poet.
Eventually, Tagore became India’s greatest poet and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. He composed some 1,800 songs, many of which are sung all over India, including India’s national anthem, “Jana Gana.” Truly, Rabindranath Tagore was a creative genius that excelled in every field of the arts. In the latter part of his life, he even took up painting. As poet, singer and playwright, he won love and respect not only in India but also all over the world.
Rabindranath was the youngest of Debendranath Tagore’s fourteen children. Rabindranath’s oldest brother Dwijendranath Tagore was a philosopher and a poet. Another brother, Satyendranath Tagore, was the first Indian member of the ICS.
Yet another brother, Jyotirindranath Tagore, was a composer and a playwright. Among his sisters, Swarna Kumari Devi earned fame as a novelist.
The Tagore family home resounded with musical, literary, and theatrical activities. Moreover, the family had close links with the world outside. Male members of this large family were brought up in an austere atmosphere under the supervision of sympathetic servants.
In the palatial Tagore house in Jorasanko were water tanks, gardens, and all kinds of enchanting spots that allured the young boy. However, the child was not allowed to stray away from the servants who had been assigned to look after him. As a result, the child’s fertile imagination constantly concocted images of the outside world that he found so fascinating. In his subsequent life, his attraction for this world is reflected in innumerable ways in his verse and in the songs that he composed and the journeys he undertook.
Rabindranath’s formal education began in Calcutta’s Oriental Seminary School. Then, for a few years, he studied in Normal School, the institution established by Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar. Next, he went to St Xavier’s School, but because he was irregular as a student, he was not able to continue with his studies here. However, he continued to pursue his education at home.
In 1873, Rabindranath Tagore took a trip to the Himalayas with his father. This was the first time that the poet left the city and experience nature’s open vistas. In this trip, Rabindranath was able to become intimate with his father- an important occurrence in the poet’s life. His father’s unique personality overwhelmed the young boy.
In his isolated lodging in the Himalayas, Debendranath taught his son Sanskrit. In the evening, the father taught the child about the planets of the sky. In this way, Debendranath was able to transmit his love of nature and of creation to the budding poet.
By the time Rabindranath returned from the Himalayas, he seemed to have left his childhood behind him. From this time onwards his education and study of literature became free of institutional bounds. He now had tutors to teach him Sanskrit, English literature, physics, mathematics, history, geography, natural science, etc. In addition, he studied drawing, music, and gymnastics. Although he had stopped going to school, he continued to study literature.
Noticing Rabindranath’s disdain for established methods of education in Bengal, his brother Satyendranath proposed to Debendranath that his brother be sent to England to become a barrister. And so in 1878, Rabindranath sailed for England with his brother.
At first he studied in a public school in Brighton. Later, he was admitted to London’s University College. However, he did not complete his education here and left England after being in the country for over a year. Nevertheless, in the time he spent in England he was able to observe the life and culture of the country with an acute eye proof.
Although Rabindranath was not awarded any degree in England, he was stimulated creatively by his stay in the country in important ways. Thus, his immense interest in music made him study its manifestations in England in his own way.
Tagore composed his musical drama Valmiki Pratibha in 1881. In it, he set some of his lyrics to western tunes. The play was performed for Bidvajjan Samagam in the Tagore home. Rabindranath himself performed the role of Valmiki. His niece Pratibha acted the role of Saraswati.
Seeking to become a barrister, Tagore enrolled at a public school in Brighton, England in 1878; later, he studied at University College London, but returned to Bengal in 1880 without a degree, because his father had arranged a marriage for him.
On December 9, 1883, he married ten-year-old, Mrinalini Devi; daughter of Khulna’s Benimadhav Raichaudhuri. They had five children, four of whom later died before reaching full adulthood. In 1890, Tagore began managing his family’s estates in Shelidah, a region now in Bangladesh.
Soon after his marriage Rabindranath was entrusted with the task of looking after some of his father’s extensive landholdings. Among his tasks then was to act as the secretary of the original Brahmo Samaj set up by his father. In later part of his life, he used the experiences in his writings.
Known as “Zamindar Babu”, Tagore travelled across the vast estate while living out of the family’s luxurious barge, the Padma, to collect rents and bless villagers; in exchange, he had feasts held in his honour.
During these years, Tagore’s Sadhana period named for one of Tagore’s magazines was among his most fecund, with more than half the stories of the three- volume and eighty-four-story Galpaguchchha written. With irony and emotional weight, they depicted a wide range of Bengali lifestyles, particularly village life.
At this juncture, the Brahmo Samaj was going through a period of uncertainty and internal strife. The young Rabindranath discharged the duty entrusted to him of overseeing the religious movement diligently.