It was on August 7, 1941 that Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore passed away in Kolkata, West Bengal.
The first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, Tagore was the composer of three national anthems: Jana Gana Mana for India, Amar Shonar Bangla for Bangladesh and one of his students at Viswa Bharati University, Ananda Samarakoon, translated a Bengali song penned by Tagore in 1938 into Sinhalese and was adopted as the national anthem in 1951.
Born in a Bengali Brahmin family to Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi on May 7, 1861 in Kolkata, Tagore was educated at home as he was not interested in classroom education.
At 17, he was sent to England for higher education as his father wanted him to study law and become a barrister. He briefly studied at the University of College London but left without completing the education. Instead he studied Religio, Shakespeare, Medici and Antony and Cleopatra.
He married Mrinalini Devi in 1883. Though the couple had five kids, two died in childhood.
His first collection of poems Manasi, counted among his finest works, was published in 1890.
In 1901, he moved to Santiniketan to start an ashram which would serve as a school, complete with gardens and a library. Today, Santiniketan is a popular university town and attracts tourists and admirers of Tagore’s work since he wrote many of his literary masterpieces while here.
As a novelist, his most prominent novels are Ghare Baire (The Home and the World), Gora (The Fair One), Chokher Bali (Sand in the Eye) and Shesher Kabita (The Last Poem), among others.
Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for his collection of poems Gitanjali (An Offering of Songs).
The British government granted Tagore a knighthood in In 1915 which he surrendered in 1919 after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
He granted the title of ‘Mahatma’ on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in 1915.
On August 7, 1941, Tagore passed away. He was 80.