Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

[pib] Rabindranath Tagore and his legacy


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Eminent Personalities; Rabindranath Tagore;

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

The Conservation and Cultural Archives Division of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) hosted an exhibition and lecture celebrating Rabindranath Tagore’s birth anniversary in New Delhi.

Tagore’s Journey to France

  • Tagore had visited the battlefields of the First World War, highlighting his deep humanity.
  • The narrative includes mentions of Alexandra David Neel, who recommended Tagore during his European tours, and Victoria Ocampo, who taught French to Tagore, enhancing his connection with French culture and intellectual society.

About Rabindranath Tagore

Birth and Early Life – Born on May 7, 1861, in Calcutta, India.
Literary Career – Published his first poems at age 16 under the pen-name ‘Bhanusimha’.

– Key works include “Gitanjali“, “Ghare-Baire“, “Gora“, and “Manasi“.

Music and Art – Composed over 2,000 songs known as ‘Rabindra Sangeet’.

– Our National Anthem was composed by him and it was first sung on 27 December 1911 at the Calcutta Session of INC.

– Created more than 2,000 paintings, influenced by European expressionism.

Education – Founded Visva-Bharati University in 1921, integrating Eastern and Western philosophies.
Political Views – He is said to have given the title of ‘Mahatma’ to Mohandas

– Renounced his ‘Knighthood’ (awarded to him in 1915 by the British King George V) in 1919 following the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

Cultural Influence – Wrote the National Anthems of India (“Jana Gana Mana”) and Bangladesh (“Amar Sonar Bangla”).

– Inspired the national anthem of Sri Lanka through a student.

Awards and Recognition – Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913 for “Gitanjali“, the first non-European to win.

– Awarded, and later renounced, a knighthood by British King George V in 1915.

Philosophical Contributions – Advocated for the incorporation of the best aspects of Western culture with Indian culture to achieve anti-colonialism.
Death – Passed away on August 7, 1941, in Calcutta.
Legacy – Revered as ‘Gurudev’, ‘Kabiguru’, and ‘Biswakabi’. Highly influential in introducing Indian culture to the West and reshaping Bengali literature and music.
Additional Contributions – Advocated for ‘Unity in Diversity’ and ‘National Integration’.

– Spoke at the World Parliament of Religions, Chicago in 1929 and 1937.

– Modernized Bengali prose and poetry, remembered for songs like ‘Ekla Chalo Re’ and his environmental efforts at Santiniketan.

About Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA)

  • The IGNCA, New Delhi is a premier government-funded arts organisation in India.
  • It is an autonomous institute under the Union Ministry of Culture.
  • It was established on 19 November 1985 by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
  • IGNCA is envisioned as a centre for the study and experience of arts in the field of:
  1. Creative literature – written and oral;
  2. Visual arts inclusive of architecture;
  3. Sculpture, painting and graphics to general material culture, photography and film; and
  4. Performing arts of music, dance and theatre.


[2019] Examine the linkages between the nineteenth century’s Indian Renaissance and the emergence of national identity.

[2021] Who among the following was associated as Secretary with Hindu Female School, later known as Bethune Female School?​

(a) Annie Besant

(b) Debendranath Tagore

(c) Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

(d) Sarojini Naidu

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