Rabindranath Tagore

Playwright, Author

1861 – 1941

 Credit »

Who was Rabindranath Tagore?

Rabindranath Tagore, sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali polymath who reshaped his region's literature and music. Author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. In translation his poetry was viewed as spiritual and mercurial; however, his "elegant prose and magical poetry" remain largely unknown outside Bengal. Tagore introduced new prose and verse forms and the use of colloquial language into Bengali literature, thereby freeing it from traditional models based on classical Sanskrit. He was highly influential in introducing the best of Indian culture to the West and vice versa, and he is generally regarded as the outstanding creative artist of modern South Asia.

A Pirali Brahmin from Calcutta, Tagore wrote poetry as an eight-year-old. At age sixteen, he released his first substantial poems under the pseudonym Bhānusiṃha, which were seized upon by literary authorities as long-lost classics. He graduated to his first short stories and dramas—and the aegis of his birth name—by 1877. As a humanist, universalist internationalist, and strident anti-nationalist he denounced the Raj and advocated independence from Britain. As an exponent of the Bengal Renaissance, he advanced a vast canon that comprised paintings, sketches and doodles, hundreds of texts, and some two thousand songs; his legacy endures also in the institution he founded, Visva-Bharati University.

Famous Quotes:

  • You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. Don't let yourself indulge in vain wishes.
  • I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can't make it through one door, I'll go through another door -- or I'll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.
  • What is Art? It is the response of man's creative soul to the call of the Real.
  • Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
  • We live in the world when we love it.
  • We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.
  • Emancipation from the bondage of the soil is no freedom for the tree.
  • The burden of the self is lightened with I laugh at myself.
  • Your idol is shattered in the dust to prove that God's dust is greater than your idol.
  • When I stand before thee at the day's end, thou shalt see my scars and know that I had my wounds and also my healing.

We need you!

Help us build the largest biographies collection on the web!

May 7, 1861
Also known as
  • R. Tagore
  • rabIndranAth thhAkur
  • Sir Rabindranath Tagore
  • রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর
  • Gurudev
  • Kabiguru Rabindranath
  • Kaviguru Rabindranath
  • Rabindranath
  • Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore
  • Tagore
  • Hinduism
  • Bengali people
  • India
  • British Raj
  • University of Calcutta
  • St. Xavier's Collegiate School
  • University College London
Lived in
  • Vale of Health
  • England
  • Santiniketan
  • Kolkata
Aug 7, 1941

on July 23, 2013


Use the citation below to add to a bibliography:


"Rabindranath Tagore." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 Jul 2024. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/rabindranath_tagore>.

Discuss this Rabindranath Tagore biography with the community:


    Our awesome collection of

    Promoted Bios


    Browse Biographies.net