Where Knowledge is Free, Tagore's 161st Birthday

Aditi Alurkar | Updated on: Saturday, May 07, 2022, 09:24 PM IST

Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore | File Photo
Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore | File Photo

Saturday, 7th May 2022, marked the 161st anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore- India’s infamous author who also managed to leave behind his legacy as a composer, painter, and reformer. The littérateur’s work spanned from poetry to plays. Tagore impacted the pedagogy of Indian literature the minute he penned the poem ‘Chitto Jetha Bhayshunyo’, which is translated for us to ‘Where the mind is without fear.’

The members of the Free Press Journal approached their own literature professors who had an enduring impact on them, wondering whether Tagore’s words could have done the same for these teachers.

“He is initially introduced to us through his Kabuliwala and the Postmaster, and then we stumble upon the larger tryst between the modernity and tradition that were present in Bengal in that era,” said Akshara Pathak Jadhav, the journalism professor from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.

Tagore wrote sensitively about a child’s mind. His writing seemed to be aware of the vulnerability and receptivity of a young brain. The romanticism for life and all it has to offer seeped through his verses and prose.

“Apart from his infamous portrayal of nationalism and humanism, he manages to capture the growth of an individual’s mind and spirit. Rabindranath Tagore’s brilliance lies within his harmony with nature and his willingness to listen to the young mind. His writing consisted of women with beautiful names who could reason for themselves and lived ahead of their time,” she said.

English professors consistently shoulder the burden of conveying the essence of literature along with the meaning attached to the piece.

“Tagore's contribution to Indian literature and culture is immense,” said Professor Rajesh Dhotre, from Somaiya Vidyavihar University, “His genius showcased expertise in painting, music as well as literature. This solitary Indian Nobel laureate of literature has also written several songs. His poetry has a blend of lyrical quality with profound philosophy. Tagore’s short stories, especially ``The broken nest'', remains my favourite along with his novel, ``Ghare Baire.”

Generations of Indians have reminisced their school days when they were taught Tagore's work.

"His poems like Paper Boats have such simplicity to them. They manage to penetrate through the reader's hearts for Tagore knew how to communicate. That's his skill which I try to emulate" said Professor Krishna Warrier who teaches at XIC amongst several other colleges in Mumbai.

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Published on: Saturday, May 07, 2022, 09:24 PM IST