Biography of Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore (7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941) was a Bengali polymath, poet, writer, and painter. A Bengali Brahmo religious leader,Tagore won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. He is best known as a pioneer of Indian literature in English and as the author of Gitanjali (Song Offerings), his most famous work that has been translated into more than 100 languages. His contributions to music are significant: he composed songs or songs-spousal for several noted women poets of Bengal such as Sarala Devi and Chandidas who were renowned for their own troubadour skills.

Early Life

Rabindranath Tagore was born on 7 May 1861 in Calcutta (now Kolkata), British India. His father, Jyotirindra Nath Tagore, was a well-known poet who had been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913. Rabindranath’s mother, Bimba Devi (née Ghosh), died when he was 11 years old.

He was educated at home by his elder brother Debendranath and later studied at University College London where he matriculated with honours in 1875 before going to Santiniketan school where he became interested in English literature and other subjects like philosophy or religion which were not taught at home as part of their curriculum!


Rabindranath Tagore Education

Tagore was educated at home until the age of eight, when he was sent to the local school. The family did not have enough money to hire tutors, so Tagore studied English, history and geography on his own. It was at this time that he began composing poems; some of these were later published in the newspapers or magazines of Calcutta (now Kolkata), where he lived after returning from England in 1878.

In 1877-78 Tagore studied law at Utkal University but dropped out due to financial difficulties during his parents’ illnesses and subsequent death within one year of each other in 1880s

Writing Career

Tagore’s writing career began with the publication of his first collection of poems, Gitanjali, in 1913. This was followed by his first novel, Durga (1915), and then a play titled Char Adhyay (1916). In 1917 he published another novel, Ghare-Baire.

In 1920 he wrote two more plays: Gitanjali II: The Home and Other Stories (1920) and Mahishasurmardini or The Great Gauri-Lila or The Birthday Party (1920). These were published together under the title Gandhi-Gita: A Play at Two Acts with Responses from a Host of Audiences.

In 1921 Tagore published another play titled Chitragupta or Chitra’s Triumph Over Death Through Her Love For Him; It had been written earlier but never acted on account of lacklustre production values so it was now ready for performance at home as well as abroad – making it one among few works that could be performed outside India since 1929 when this policy was implemented by British Government!

Political Activism

Tagore’s political activism began in 1905 with his participation in the Swadeshi movement. He opposed British rule and demanded self-rule for India, which he thought would be achieved through independence from British rule. In this view he was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent means of protest against British rule.

He also supported other social causes such as women’s rights and banning child labour at an early stage of his career (see under “Health”).

Tagore was not averse to violence when necessary; during World War II he encouraged Indians to resist both fascism abroad and fascism at home; see below under “Violence”.

Also Read:- Biography of Bhim Rao Ambedkar


You can visit the Tagore Museum in Kolkata, which is housed in a beautiful building that was once the residence of Rabindranath Tagore. The museum contains many personal items from his life and also has works by other great artists like Picasso and Matisse.

There are several museums around Shantiniketan (the place where he spent most of his time), including:

  • Rangamati Museum – A small museum dedicated to showcasing local history and culture through exhibits on different aspects such as art & craft work, architecture etc., located near Shanti Niketan.
  • Santiniketan Art Gallery – Contains paintings done by students & faculty members at Santiniketan College since its inception in 1882.
  • Kalibari Bazaar (or Kalibari Street) [now known as Dhamapara Road] is home to one of Bengal’s oldest markets where you can find anything from clothes to spices! A must-visit destination when visiting Dhaka or Chittagong.

Family Life

Rabindranath Tagore Family

Rabindranath Tagore was married three times, and had four children. His first wife died during childbirth; his second wife died in 1928; and his third wife, Mrinalini Devi, committed suicide by throwing herself into the Hooghly River in 1945.

His eldest son Sarat Chandra was born in 1905 to his first wife Kabita Devi; he also had two younger daughters: Sukumari (born 1904) and Sudhiramani (1908). The couple later adopted another daughter named Lalita Devi who became a writer of Bengali poetry under her married name Lakshmi Balan.

Death and Legacy

Tagore was born to Keshab Chandra Sen and Swarnakumari Devi on 7 August 1861 in Calcutta, India. He died on 7 August 1941 at his home in New York City, United States. His ashes are interred in the Visva-Bharati University at Shantiniketan, West Bengal, India.

Tagore’s birth anniversary is celebrated as Rabindra Jayanti (the day of birth), whereas his death anniversary has been observed by Bangladeshis as Pohela Boishakh (the first day of spring). In Bengal it is also known as Dhanteras which means “the tenth day”.

Top 5 Rabindranath Tagore Quotes

Top 5 Rabindranath Tagore Quotes

“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”
― Rabindranath Tagore

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”
― Rabindranath Tagore

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
― Rabindranath Tagore

“It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.”
― Rabindranath Tagore

“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.”
― Rabindranath Tagore

List of Works by Rabindranath Tagore

Original Poetry in Bengali

Bengali TitleTransliterated TitleTranslated TitleYear
মানসীManasiThe Ideal One1890
বলাকাBalakaThe Flight of Cranes1916
গীতাঞ্জলিGitanjaliSong Offerings1910
গীতিমাল্যGitimalyaWreath of Songs1914
সোনার তরীSonar TariThe Golden Boat1894
ভানুসিংহ ঠাকুরের পদাবলীBhānusiṃha Ṭhākurer PaḍāvalīSongs of Bhānusiṃha Ṭhākur1884
Original Poetry in Bengali

Original Dramas in Bengali

Bengali TitleTransliterated TitleTranslated TitleYear
বাল্মিকী প্রতিভাValmiki-PratibhaThe Genius of Valmiki1881
কালমৃগয়াKal-MrigayaThe Fatal Hunt1882
মায়ার খেলাMayar KhelaThe Play of Illusions1888
বিসর্জনVisarjanThe Sacrifice1890
রাজাRajaThe King of the Dark Chamber1910
ডাকঘরDak GharThe Post Office1912
অচলায়তনAchalayatanThe Immovable1912
মুক্তধারাMuktadharaThe Waterfall1922
রক্তকরবীRaktakarabiRed Oleanders1926
চণ্ডালিকাChandalikaThe Untouchable Girl1933
Original Dramas in Bengali

Original Nonfiction in Bengali

Bengali TitleTransliterated TitleTranslated TitleYear
জীবনস্মৃতিJivansmritiMy Reminiscences1912
ছেলেবেলাChhelebelaMy Boyhood Days1940
Original Nonfiction in Bengali

Works in English

Thought Relics1921
Works in English

Original Fiction in Bengali

Bengali TitleTransliterated TitleTranslated TitleYear
নষ্টনীড়NastanirhThe Broken Nest1901
ঘরে বাইরেGhare BaireThe Home and the World1916
Original Fiction in Bengali

Adaptations of Short Stories and Novels in Cinema


  • Natir Puja – 1932 – The only film directed by Rabindranath Tagore
  • Gora – 1938 Gora (novel) – Naresh Mitra
  • Noukadubi – Nitin Bose
  • Bou Thakuranir Haat – 1953 (Bou Thakuranir Haat) – Naresh Mitra
  • Kabuliwala – 1957 (Kabuliwala) – Tapan Sinha
  • Kshudhita Pashan – 1960 (Kshudhita Pashan) – Tapan Sinha
  • Teen Kanya – 1961 (Teen Kanya) – Satyajit Ray
  • Charulata – 1964 (Nastanirh) – Satyajit Ray
  • Megh o Roudra – 1969 (Megh o Roudra) – Arundhati Devi
  • Ghare Baire – 1985 (Ghare Baire) – Satyajit Ray
  • Chokher Bali – 2003 (Chokher Bali) – Rituparno Ghosh
  • Shasti – 2004 (Shasti) – Chashi Nazrul Islam
  • Shuva – 2006 (Shuvashini) – Chashi Nazrul Islam
  • Chaturanga – 2008 (Chaturanga) – Suman Mukhopadhyay
  • Noukadubi – 2011 (Noukadubi) – Rituparno Ghosh
  • Elar Char Adhyay – 2012 (Char Adhyay) – Bappaditya Bandyopadhyay


  • Sacrifice – 1927 (Balidan) – Nanand Bhojai and Naval Gandhi
  • Milan – 1946 (Nauka Dubi) – Nitin Bose
  • Dak Ghar – 1965 (Dak Ghar) – Zul Vellani
  • Kabuliwala – 1961 (Kabuliwala) – Bimal Roy
  • Uphaar – 1971 (Samapti) – Sudhendu Roy
  • Lekin… – 1991 (Kshudhit Pashaan) – Gulzar
  • Char Adhyay – 1997 (Char Adhyay) – Kumar Shahani
  • Kashmakash – 2011 (Nauka Dubi) – Rituparno Ghosh
  • Stories by Rabindranath Tagore (Anthology TV Series) – 2015 – Anurag Basu
  • Bioscopewala – 2017 (Kabuliwala) – Deb Medhekar
  • Bhikharin


In the last years of his life, Tagore was involved with a number of political causes. He was also an active member of the INC and he became one of its vice presidents at age 24. This involvement in politics led him to be banned from entering many countries including the U.S., Canada, Japan, Greece and Turkey.

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