Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Featured Author: Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore was born in Calcutta in 1861, and he died in 1941; during his extraordinary lifetime, he helped to define modern Indian literature and music, writing poetry, plays, and stories, along with songs and dances; later in his life he took up painting too. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, the first non-European author to do so. Throughout his lifetime, he was an advocate for India's independence from Britain, and he helped to found the Visva-Bharati University in West Bengal. Both India's national anthem Jana Gana Mana and Bangladesh's Amar Shonar Bangla are Tagore compositions. You can read more about his life and accomplishments in this detailed Wikipedia article.

For the Tagore reading unit in this class, I chose Tagore's short play Karna and Kunti, and also his play Chitra about Arjuna, along with his translations of the mystical poet Kabir. All three of these items are free books you can read online.

You might also be reading the Tagore comic book from Amar Chitra Katha which is on reserve in the Library: Rabindranath Tagore: India's Gentle Torch-Bearer. (call number: PN 6790 .I443 A437 v. 548)


At YouTube, you might enjoy watching this 1961 documentary about Tagore written and directed by Satyajit Ray, one of India's greatest filmmakers.


This YouTube video made in 2011 on the 150th anniversary of Tagore's birth — A Tribute to Rabindranath Tagore — contains excerpts from the Satyajit Ray film along with photos over the course of his lifetime.


This portrait of Tagore was taken in 1909:


This image shows Einstein with Tagore in 1930:


The image below shows Gandhi and his wife Kasturba visiting Tagore in 1940:





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