Rabindranath Tagore’s 159th birth anniversary: Why India’s love for ‘Gurudev’ is a continuing tale

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Published: May 8, 2020 1:59:35 PM

India's love for Rabindranath Tagore is a continuing tale, thereby marking the nation's reverence for a great artist, poet and visionary.

India’s love for Rabindranath Tagore is a continuing tale, thereby marking the nation’s reverence for a great artist, poet and visionary.

Rabindranath Tagore birth anniversary was observed on May 7. The great poet-writer’s 159th anniversary brought Indians in a spirit of rememberance, as tributes poured in for ‘Gurudev’. As many of you already know, Rabindranath Tagore was the first Nobel Prize winner from India. Tagore is credited with big contributions in Indian literature, music, and art through his poetry, essay, songs and paintings, Rabindranath Tagore is also known by several names such as Gurudev, Kabiguru, Biswakabi and is also referred to as the “Bard of Bengal.” India’s love for Rabindranath Tagore is a continuing tale, thereby marking the nation’s reverence for a great artist, poet and visionary.

Composer of national anthems for three nations

Do you know the literary symbol is the father of three Indian subcontinent national anthems? From the ‘Jan Gan Man’ of India to the ‘Amar Sona Bangla’ of Bangladesh, the national anthem of Sri Lanka is also based on the poem of Tagore. Tagore’s Bangla poem is said to have been translated into Sinhalese and adopted as the national anthem in 1951.

Tagore’s Relationship with ‘Bapu’

It is well known that Bapu and Tagore share a special bond. Little do people know, however, that it was ‘Gurudev’ who gave the Father of Nation the title ‘Mahatma.’

Friendship with Albert Einstein

Tagore and Einstein met four times from 1931 through 1931. They had huge respect for each and that can be attributed to their mutual interest in music and enthusiasm for general issues.Tagore wrote “There was nothing stiff about him – there was no intellectual aloofness. He seemed to be a man who valued human relationship and he showed me a real interest and understanding.” in his description of Einstein.

Tagore- The musician

Also from his iconic body of literary work, Tagore was a well-known music expert. Gurudev has written over 2,000 songs, now named ‘Rabindrasangit.’ Several of them take inspiration from his journeys. He was also highly influenced by the up-beat English, Irish, and Scottish folk music he frequently heard along with classical Hindustani music.


In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Tagore traveled to over 30 countries on five continents in a little over five decades. The more he traveled, the more enamored he was with the concept of internationalism.

Tagore- The rebel

Tagore renounced his knighthood of 1915 on May 31, 1919, a month after the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh. In his letter to the viceroy, Tagore wrote:” The time has come when the badge of honour makes our shame glaring in their incongruous text of humiliation, and I, for my part, wish to stand shorn of all special distinctions, by the side of those of my countrymen who, for their so-called insignificance are liable to suffer degradation not fit for human beings.”

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