Tagore 1861 - 1941 (80)

It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.



Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was a Hindu poet and philosopher, one of the greatest of modern Indian writers, the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.

He was born on May 7, 1861 in Calcutta, a descendant of a prominent West Bengal family. He received his basic education at home, in the Bengali language, with English lessons in the afternoons. From an early age he became acquainted with the work of Indian poets and at the age of eight he began to write poetry. In 1879 his father, a Hindu reformer, sent him to England to study law. He started to study at University College London but he dropped out the following year and returned to India. In 1883 he married the ten-year-old Bhabatarini, chosen for him by his family, with whom he had four children. From 1890 he devoted himself to managing family property and writing. In 1901 he founded the famous Shantiniketan school near Calcutta, with a group of Hindu and Christian teachers, with the aim of teaching the simplicity of life. Twenty years later the school will be transformed into the International University of Visva Bharati for the teaching of Indian culture to both Indians and foreigners.

During the period 1902-1907, difficult years passed as his wife and two of their children died of diseases. At the same time, however, he wrote some of his most beautiful lyrics. In 1912 he traveled to Greece and other European countries as well as to the USA for a series of lectures. The following year, in 1913, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Tagore wrote in the simple language of Bengali and not in the elaborate literary language, he translated his works into English himself, in a somewhat free way. In addition to literature, he was involved in painting and music and exhibited his works in the West. He did not get involved in active politics, but with his life and work he tried to bridge the gap between East and West and improve the life of people. He was a prolific writer, his poems numbering 3000 and he also wrote 8 novels, 2000 songs, many essays and plays. He died in 1941 in Calcutta, after a short illness, in the same house where he was born.