The 80th death anniversary of Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore will be observed in the country today.
A poet, visual artist, playwright and novelist as well as a composer, Tagore’s works reshaped Bangla literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by exploring contextual modernism.
The youngest of the 14 children of Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi, Tagore was nurtured in the culturally-infused atmosphere of the famous Tagore family.
He was the first non-European poet to win the Nobel Prize for literature. He won it in 1913 for ‘Song Offerings’, the English translation of ‘Gitanjali’, an anthology of his lyric poems.
No poet or author had influenced the minds of so many Bengali-speaking people before or after Tagore. His popularity, which was gradual and steady, has been compared by many to Shakespeare in the English-speaking world.
His novels, short stories, songs, dance-dramas and essays always straddle the border between social reality and personal life.
‘Manasi’, ‘Sonar Tari’, ‘Gitanjali’, ‘Balaka’, Golpoguccho’, ‘Gora’, ‘Ghare Baire’, ‘Chokher Bali’, ‘Chitrangada’, ‘Dak Ghar’ and ‘Raktakarabi’ are some of his best-known works.
Two of his songs are now the national anthems of Bangladesh and India. He left a profound mark on music and the performing arts.
Rabindranath Tagore wrote his first poem at the age of eight and wrote his first substantial collection of poems under the pen name Bhanushingha.
He composed about 2,230 songs, wrote eight novels, 84 short stories and countless poems — all sources of inspiration for the Bangalees.
In 1915, Rabindranath Tagore was conferred knighthood which he renounced later in protest against the Jalianwalla Bagh massacre.
Tagore founded Visva Bharati University at Santiniketan in 1921, which played an important role in melding local knowledge with modern European learning, attracting scholars from all over the world.
Different organisations, including the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Chhayanaut, Bangladesh Udichi Shilipighosthi and Bangladesh Sangeet Sangathan Samannay Parishad, will observe the day with virtual programmes on their Facebook pages amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Bangladesh Television and other private television channels and Bangladesh Betar and FM radio stations will air special programmes and newspapers will publish special contents highlighting the life and works of Rabindranath.