Rabindranath Tagore (May 7, 1861 – August 7, 1941), also known by the sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali poet from Undivided India, Brahmo Samaj (syncretic Hindu monotheist) philosopher, visual artist, playwright, composer, and novelist whose avant-garde works reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A celebrated cultural icon of Bengal, he became Asia's first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Tagore was born in Jorasanko in the city of Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta). A Pirali Bengali Brahmin by birth, Tagore began writing poems at the age of eight; he published his first substantial poetry — using the pseudonym Bhanushingho ("Sun Lion") — in 1877 and wrote his first short stories and dramas at age sixteen. His home schooling, life in Shelidah, and extensive travels made Tagore an iconoclast and pragmatist; however, growing disillusionment with the British Raj caused Tagore to back the Indian Independence Movement and befriend Mahatma Gandhi. Despite the loss of virtually his entire family and his regrets regarding Bengal's decline, his life's work — Visva-Bharati University — endured.
Tagore's major works included Gitanjali (Song Offerings), Gora (Fair-Faced), and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World), while his verse, short stories, and novels — many defined by rhythmic lyricism, colloquial language, meditative naturalism, and philosophical contemplation — received worldwide acclaim. Tagore was also a cultural reformer and polymath who modernised Bangla art by rejecting strictures binding it to classical Indian forms. Two songs from his rabindrasangit canon are now the national anthems of Bangladesh and India: the Amar Shonar Bangla and the Jana Gana Mana.
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