Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was a Bengali novelist, playwright, poet, composer and visual artist from India. In 1913 he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. He was the youngest son of the leader of the Brahmo Samaj, Debendranath Tagore. In the 19th century, a new religious sect, the Brahmo Samaj, was an attempt to revive monistic basis of Hinduism. Rabindranath took education at home and at 17 he went for formal schooling in England, but didn’t finish his studies. He had increased interest in social reforms, came up with projects which helped him come into closer touch with common humanity and also managed family estates besides being involved in many sided activities in literature.
Shantiniketan was his experimental school where he tried out Upanishadic ideals of education. In his own visionary and non sentimental way he took part in the nationalist movement in India. His devoted friend was the political father of modern India, Mahatma Gandhi. In 1915 the British Government knighted Tagore but as protest against their policies in India, he declined that honor.
It was in his native Bengal that Tagore gained early success. His poems were translated after which he gained popularly and attained luminous heights in Western countries and across continents. He was a great living institution in Bengal and also voice of the spiritual heritage of India. Most of all, Rabindranath Tagore was a poet no matter in which literary genre he wrote successfully.
Manasi (1890), Sonar Tari (1894), Gitanjali (1910), Gitimalya (1914) and Balaka (1916) were some of his first poetry volumes. Raja (1910), Dakghar (1912), Achalayatan (1912), Muktadhara (1922) and Raktakaravi (1926) are some of his major plays. He has authored many novels and short stories including Gora (1910), Ghare Baire (1916) and Yogayog (1929). Tagore also loved writings all types of essays, dance dramas, musical dramas and travel diaries. In his middle years he wrote two autobiographies out of which one he wrote in 1941 before he died. He wrote music for his songs and also left many paintings and drawings behind.