Tagore as a Poet
R. N. Tagore is known as Gurudev. He is one of the greatest personalities of modern Indian literary scene. As a poet he earned international recognition. He received the Nobel prize for Literature in 1913.
Tagore was born in Calcutta on May 7, 1861. His father Devendranath was one of the founders of the religious society called the Brahmo Samaj. Tagore was a versatile genius. His literary works include novels, essays, short stories, travelogues, dramas and thousands of songs. But people know him as a poet. It is he who has composed Jana Gana Mana, the national anthem of India. He also wrote Amar Sonar Bangla, the national anthem of Bangladesh.
Tagore deftly handled all the genres of literature. His versatility, his literary corpus and the quality of his writings rightly earned him the title of 'Leonardo da Vinci of the Indian Renaissance'. But it was poetry that brought world fame for him.
Tagore's poetry is very varied. It covers many styles. Tagore drew inspiration from 15th & 16th century poets. He was also inspired by ancient writers like Vyasa. Balu folk singers of Bengal also influenced his style of poetry.
Tagore's complete poetic career can be divided into three sections:
(i) Pre Gitanjali Period (1875-1911)
(ii)The Gitanjali Period (1912- 1913)
(iii) Post Gitanjali Period (1914- 1941)
In the Pre Gitanjali Period Tagore studies man in relation to Nature; In Gitanjali Period he studies man in relation to God; and in Post Gitanjali Period he studies man in relation to man.
Tagore's poetry is chiefly lyrical. It deals with love, religion, patriotism, nature, childhood and humanity. His poetry primarily deals with love for God, love for nature and love for humanity. He can be called as a great singer of humanity, universal brotherhood, truth, justice and equality. He ardently longs for freedom, fearlessness, truthfulness and reason. His famous song Where the Mind is Without Fear is replete with patriotism, nationalism and Indianness. Tagore is known around the world for his Gitanjali, his best known collection.
In short, Tagore is a representative poet of India. He always sings for the betterment of his motherland. He tries to inspire his countrymen to practice the ideals propounded by their forefathers. He always appreciates the ancient Indian doctrine of Basudhev Kutumbkam.