Contribution of Rabindranath Tagore in Bengali literature and music

By Mayank Yadav|Updated : May 12th, 2021

In this article we are going to have a brief discussion about Ravindra Nath Tagore. He was one of the famous personalities related to both art and culture and freedom struggle. There are lot of questions asked from personalities in Bihar state exams, so you should not miss this topic as well. Have a good day!!

Contribution of Rabindranath Tagore in Bengali literature and music

Rabindranath Tagore was a leading spokesman for compassionate humanism and culture in India and the world. A product of the 19th century, he was profoundly influenced by its liberal humanistic thoughts and optimism. Tagore reshaped Bengali literature and music. Tagore was the first non-European to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. 

Tagore had great contribution in the Indian National Movement. Tagore wanted the struggle against British rule to be germinated from the grassroots of society rather than being confined to an elite section who were not always selfless and often had their own interests to safeguard. Tagore gave Bengali literature new prose and verse styles, as well as the use of colloquial language, by feeding it from traditional Sanskrit models. Tagore is widely regarded as the most influential artistic artist of the modern Indian subcontinent, having introduced the best of Indian culture to the western nation. 

Tagore modernized Bengali art by spurning rigid classical forms and resisting linguistic structures. His composition was chosen by two nation as theirs national anthem. India’s “Jana Gana Mana” and Bangladesh’ s “Amar Sonar Bangla”. 

The Tagore family was a driving force behind the Bengal Renaissance. Tagore's father invited a group of talented Dhrupad musicians to stay in the house and teach the children Indian Classical music. 

Tagore as a Bengali poet who wrote in his mother language Bangla, is as much poet of Bangladesh as he is of India.Tagore's prolific and versatile poetic and literary talent had made a huge impact on every branch of Bangla literature. He was a poet, philosopher, artist, play-right, essayist, song writer, short story writer, educator & novelist. So, in terms of variety, number, and consistency of works, Tagore is difficult to match anywhere in the world.

A humanitarian social and religious reformer, Tagore’s works specially his poems and songs are morally edifying and aesthetically elevating. Knowledge of the language Bangla is almost a sine-qua-non for Tagore songs and poetry based on grasp of the beauty of their words and undo die which remains untranslatable.

Internationally, Gitanjali is Tagore’s best known collection of poetry, for which he was awarded Nobel prize in 1913. Besides Gitanjali, other notable works include Manasi, Sonar Tori(Golden Boats), Balaka, etc.

Tagore's poetic style is diverse, ranging from classical formalism to comic, visionary, and ecstatic poetry. He was influenced by Vyasa and other rishi-authors of Upanisad, the Bhakti-Sufi Mystic Kabir and Ramaprasad Sen. Tagore's most creative and mature poetry is influenced by his exposure to Bengali rural music, such as Mystic Bau.

Later with the development of new poetic styles in Bengal, Tagore also changed his style and developed a unique style by mixing different poetic styles of the world with Bangla poetry. Tagore was prolific composer with more than 2000 songs to his credit. His songs are known as Rabindra Sangeet. He was inspired by Thumri style of Hindustani Music.

For Bengalis, the songs appeal, stemming from from the combination of emotive strength and beauty described as surpassing even Tagore’s poetry was such that the modern review observed that “there is in Bengal no cultured home where Rabindranath songs are not sung or atleast attempted to sing. Even illiterate villagers sing his songs. Tagore influenced sitar maestro Vilayat Khan and Sarodiyas Buddhadev Dsagupta and Amjad Ali Khan.

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