Rabindranath Tagore ‘Gurudev’ Biography: Poems, Quotes and Family

Vrinda Gupta
Vrinda Gupta

Bard of Bengal

Rabindranath Tagore was an Indian poet, writer, playwright, composer, and painter. Born on  7 May 1861 in Calcutta, he transformed Bengal’s literature and music. Although Tagore is known mostly for his poetry, he also wrote novels, essays, short stories, travelogues, dramas, and thousands of songs. From the collection of his prose, his short stories are perhaps most highly admired. Indeed, he is credited with originating the Bengali-language version of the genre.  The stories that he wrote mostly came from the lives of common people. Tagore’s non-fiction writing tussled with history, linguistics, and spirituality. Also, Tagore wrote autobiographies.

Rabindranath Tagore Poems

Gitanjali is a collection of poetry. It is one of the most famous works by Rabindranath Tagore. Gitanjali was published in India in 1910. However, Tagore translated it into prose poems in English. Titled Gitanjali: Song Offerings was published in 1912. If you wish to read it, you can check out the book here: https://www.amazon.in/Gitanjali-Rabindranath-Tagore/dp/8171676766

In 1913, Tagore was awarded  Nobel Prize for Literature. He was the first Indian to receive a Noble Prize in Literature.

Short Stories

Tagore began writing short stories in 1877. He was only sixteen at that time. With his first story “Bhikharini”, Tagore began the era of Bengali-language short stories. In the years starting from 1891, Rabindranath Tagore produced most of his writings. It is often termed as his ‘Sadhana’ period.  His stories showcased his innate observation of his surroundings.

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Rabindranath Tagore Drama

Under the guidance of his brother Jyotirindranath, Tagore’s tryst with drama began. Thereafter, Tagore wrote his first original dramatic piece titled Valmiki Pratibha. He stated that his works sought to express “the play of feeling and not of action”. In 1890, he wrote Visarjan (an adaptation of his novella Rajarshi). It has been regarded as his finest drama.

Rabindranath Tagore Famous Quotes

  1. “If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”
  2. “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
  3. “It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.”
  4. “The small wisdom is like water in a glass:
    clear, transparent, pure.
    The great wisdom is like the water in the sea:
    dark, mysterious, impenetrable.”
  5. “Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream, precedes the goal.”


In rural West Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore established a school and named it Shanti Niketan in the year 1901. Moreover, 2 decades later, it became Visva-Bharati University. Tagore settled there along with his family. However, from 1902 to 1907, his wife and two children died. Due to undiagnosed illness, they succumbed to death. It was a long period of sadness for Tagore.

From 1912 Tagore spent a very long period of time out of India.  In addition, he lectured and read from his work in Europe, the Americas, and East Asia. From there onwards, he became a spokesperson for Indian independence. In conclusion, Rabindranath Tagore was a world-renowned Indian in terms of literature. Also, he was a teacher, philosopher, and social reformer.

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