Rabindranath Tagore

Biography from his early childhood onwards
?The steps that I heard in my childhoods play
their music resounds in all the music of this world. 1

Rabindranath Tagore was born on the 7th May 1861. The Tagore´s of Calcutta were famous for their culture and independence. Rabindranath was
the 14th child of his father Debendranath and mother Sarada Devi. Perhaps in no family would the 14th child be particularly welcome and much less so in a family, where all the elder brothers and sisters and their families live together in one joint household. His saint like father was distinguished for his pursuit of religious and spiritual truth.

He was popularly known as Maharshi, meaning saint. In 1843 he converted to Brahmism. Influence of his father was abiding in the poets life. Rabindranath wrote in his life history about his childhood with a beautiful compliment.

Rabindranath was a healthy and a fair baby, but perhaps not as fair as some of his elder brothers and sisters. His eldest sister Saudamini used to remark that, ? My Rabi may be dark and not so fair, but he will outshine all the others.?* Sarada Devi, was mistress of this huge household, but suffered always from chronic illness and so she was unable to give proper attention to young Rabindranath. Servants were used to look for him and he would remain confined to a room and gazed on the pond under the window, a large banyan tree, at the eastern bank near the wall and the coconut groove on the south. Years later, when he recalled his childhood, there was no trace of self ? pity, rather he congratulated himself having being spared the dangerous luxury of being patted and spoiled by parental solitude.

Thou the family had reputation of aristocratic way of life, the children were brought up more or less in austerity.
? Our food had nothing to do with delicacies, we were not allowed to were socks or shoes till we had past our 10th year. In the cold weather a second cotton tunic was sufficed. It never entered our heads to consider ourselves ill ? off for that reason.?2

His earliest lesson began in the traditional way, with the Bengali
? Varnaparichaia ?, introduction to Bengali alphabet.

The first nursery rhyme he learned sent a thrill of joy - ? Jal pore, pata nore ? ( ?The water falls, the leaf trembles? ). Even after the book was closed and kept aside, the phrase echoed and re-echoed in the child ? heart.

To the young Rabindranath it was a first revelation of the magic of poetry and left a deep impression in his mind. He described it later ? I realized why rhyme is so needful in poetry ?3. In the early stages the children were thought
privately at home, so was Rabindranath. The tutor in charge was Madobh Pandit. But when the child found that his elder brother and nephew were going to school in a carriage, he started crying for the same privilege.

Madhobh Pandit gave him a smart slap and told him harshly, ? Now you are crying to go to school. But a day will come, when you will cry more bitterly to be out of it.? ?Never I have heard a prophecy more completely come through?, was the poets later days comment. The first school he admitted was known as the oriental seminary. What he learned there he was never able to recall

But the ingenious method of punishment, practised into the children left a stunning impression on his mind and on his body. Later he went to a normal school. Only memories of this school, which he recalled later days, where the foul language of on of the teachers, which shocked the child.

Although he did not get enough parents company and maternal care, his education was not neglected. He had to wake up early in the morning and practise wrestling with a professional wrestler. And then the teacher of Biology came. At seven in the morning came the mathematic teacher to teach him arithmetic, algebra and geometry, followed by lessons in Bengali and Sanskrit. And half past nine the servant served meal of rice, dal and curry fish. At ten he went to school. Back from school at 4: 30 in the evening, he had to