Life Sketch of Rabindranath Tagore
1861 Born on Monday, 7th May, 1861 (25 Vaisakha, 1268) at Jorasanko, Kolkata. 1865 Admitted to Calcutta Training Academy. 1868 Admitted to Oriental Seminary and later to Normal School. 1871 Admitted to Bengal Academy. 1873 Goes with his father Debendranath Tagore on a trip to the Himalayas; his first visit to Bolpur on the way and composes a drama, Prithvirajer Parajay. 1874 His poem entitled Abhilash appears in the Tattvabodhini Patrika. He is admitted to St. Xavier’s School in Calcutta. 1875 On the 11th February, in his first public appearance, recites a patriotic poem at the Hindu Mela. 1877 Starts to publish poems and articles regularly in his family’s monthly journal, Bharati. 1878 Goes to England with brother, Satyendranath. 1880 Returns to India without completing any course of study. 1881 Composes his first set of devotional songs for anniversary of Brahmo Samaj- Maghotsav. His first musical play, Valmiki-Pratibha staged at Jorasanko. 1883 Marries Mrinalini Devi. 1884 Is appointed Secretary to the Adi Brahmo Samaj; enters into controversy with Bankimchandra over the neo-Hindu movement. 1885 Takes charge of Balak, a monthly magazine for the young. 1890 Severely attacks the anti-Indian policy of Lord Cross, then Secretary of State for India. Takes charge of the management of the Tagore Estates with Shilaidah as his headquarters. 1891 Writes his first six short stories including Post Master. 1892 At the request of the Rajshahi Association, writes his first criticism of the system of education, Sikshar Herpher, a logical and vigorous proposal for the acceptance of mother tongue as the medium of instruction. 1894 Takes over editorial charge of Sadhana. 1898 Initiates agricultural experiments on his estates. Reacting to Sedition Bill; and arrest of Bal Gangadhar Tilak; he reads his paper Kantha-Rodh (The Throttled) at a public meeting in Calcutta. 1899 At the anniversary of Poush Mela (23 December), leads the prayer and delivers his first sermon on Brahmoponishad in the Mandir at Santiniketan. 1901 He establishes school at Santiniketan. Revives Bangadarshan, editing it for five years. Comes into contact with Brahmabandhab Upadhyay. 1905 Agitation started against Lord Curzon’s proposal to partition Bengal. Rabindranath advocates policy of constructive non-cooperation against the British. On 16th October (the day partition becomes a settled fact), Rabindranath initiates the Rakhi-bandhan ceremony as a symbol of unity in Bengal. He leads a huge procession through the streets of Calcutta singing Banglar mati, Banglar jal. 1906 Writes a series of articles on problems of education and draws up a comprehensive programme of work for the National Council of Education. 1908 Initiates organised village uplift work in the Patisar region of the Tagore estates with the help of Kalimohan Ghosh and others. 1910 Christmas Day is observed at Santiniketan for the first time – the Poet conducts the service. 1912 English Gitanjali published by the India Society, London. 1913 English versions of Gitanjali, The Crescent Moon, The Gardener and Chitra were published by Macmillan. On 13th November, Rabindranath was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. 1914 Gandhi’s students from Phoenix, South Africa come to Santiniketan. 1915 Receives knighthood. Meet Gandhi for the first time. 1916 Travels to Japan and USA, giving lectures on Nationalism and Personality. 1917 Lends support to Pramatha Chaudhuri’s attempts to popularise spoken Bengali as a vehicle of literary expression and himself contributes to Sabujpatra, his first story written in colloquial Bengali, Paila Nambar. 1918 Formal foundation stone of Visva-Bharati is laid. 1919 Cautions Gandhi against misuse of passive resistance. He renounces knighthood in protest against Jalianwallah Bagh massacre. 1920 Leaves for England on a lecture tour to raise funds for Visva-Bharati. He travels to France, Holland and USA. 1921 Visits England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Austria and Czechoslovakia. 1922 Rural Reconstruction Institute at Sriniketan is formally inaugurated with Elmhirst as its first director. 1923 Visva-Bharati Quarterly starts publication under his editorship. Visarjan is staged at the Empire Theatre, Calcutta where the Poet plays the role of Jaysingha. 1924 Visits China and Japan and then sails for South America; stays in Buenos Aires as the guest of Victoria Ocampo. 1926 Travels to Italy (as a guest of Mussolini), Switzerland (where he meets Romain Rolland) and other countries of Europe. 1927 Undertakes tour of Southeast Asia. 1928 Starts painting regularly. 1930 His paintings are exhibited at the Gallerie Pigalle in Paris. Other exhibitions follow in Birmingham, in several European capitals and in USA. Delivers lectures in Oxford (published as The Religion of Man). He writes The Child, his one and only original English poem. 1932 Starts experimenting with vers libre in his Punascha. 1937 Rabindranath falls seriously ill. Prantik (Borderland) poems published. Convocation address given in Bengali (first time in Calcutta University). 1940 Oxford University holds special Convocation at Santiniketan to confer Doctorate to Rabindranath. 1941 His final lecture, Crisis in Civilisation is read on his eightieth birthday. Gurudev dies on 7th August at Kolkata.