Birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, a Nobel laureate and great Indian poet, is celebrated on May 8 every year to pay a tribute to his passion for spiritual values and good living.
Tagore’s way of life was opposed to nationalism and militarism and instead focused on spiritual values, which led an indelible impact on his countrymen and people across the world. He believed in the creation of a new world culture founded on ethnic diversity and tolerance.
The intrinsic charm of his lyrics still enchants readers throughout the world. Tagore’s composition “Jana Gana Mana” got the honor to be the national anthem of India, while “Amar Shonar Bangla” is adopted as the national anthem of Bangladesh.
He promoted inter-cultural harmony and understanding in his own visionary way, while at the same time participated in Indian nationalist movement that played an important role in country’s struggle for independence.
In 1919, following the Amritsar city massacre of 400 Indian demonstrators by British troops, he renounced the knighthood given to him by the British King George V.
In his letter to Lord Chelmsford, the Viceroy, repudiating his Knighthood in protest for Jalianwallah Bhag massacre, he wrote: “[…] the very least that I can do for my country is to take all consequences upon myself in giving voice to the protest of the millions of my countrymen, surprised into a dumb anguish of terror.
“The time has come when badges of honor make our shame glaring in the incongruous context of humiliation, and I for my part, wish to stand, shorn, of all special distinctions, by the side of those of my countrymen who, for their so called insignificance , are liable to suffer degradation not fit for human beings”
Tagore was not only a creative genius but he had a good grasp of modern science and physics as well; his scientific knowledge enabled him to debate with Albert Einstein in 1930 on the newly emerging principles of quantum mechanics and chaos.
Tagore might only represent India but his life and works go far beyond the country, which truly makes him a man of the whole Earth. He embodied the best of both traditional Indian and western cultures and exemplified the peaceful and upright way of life.
To commemorate his 152nd birth anniversary this year, a special edition of gold coins has been launched by an Indian jewellery industry, Tanishq. Also a music CD has been launched celebrating the centenary of the Nobel Prize awarded to his famous poetic work “Gitanjali.”