Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-European to win a Nobel Prize for Literature. He has been called one of the outstanding thinkers of the 20th century and the greatest poet India has ever produced. His Nobel followed publication of Gitanjali, his English version of some of his Bengali poems. WB Yeats and Ezra Pound were great supporters. Tagore was born in Calcutta in 1861 and educated partly in Britain; King George V knighted him, but Tagore renounced this in 1919 following the Amritsar Massacre. A key figure in Indian nationalism, Tagore became a friend of Gandhi, offering criticism as well as support. A polymath and progressive, Tagore painted, wrote plays, novels, short stories and many songs. The national anthems of India and Bangladesh are based on his poems.

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  • Chandrika Kaul 5 episodes
    Lecturer in Modern History at the University of St Andrews
  • Bashabi Fraser No other episodes
    Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Edinburgh Napier University
  • John Stevens No other episodes
    Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow at SOAS, University of London

Reading list

  • Rabindranath Tagore: The Myriad-Minded Man
    Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson (I.B.Tauris, 2008) Google Books →
  • A Meeting of Two Minds: Geddes-Tagore Letters
    Bashabi Fraser (Word Power Books, 2005) Google Books →
  • Rabindranath Tagore: A Biography
    Krishna Kripalani (UBS Publishers' Distributors Ltd, 2008) Google Books →
  • Return from Exile
    Ashis Nandy (Oxford University Press, 2004) Google Books →
  • Gitanjali
    Rabindranath Tagore (trans. William Radice) (Penguin Books, 2011) Google Books →
  • Gora
    Rabindranath Tagore (Sahitya Akademi, 2003) Google Books →
  • I Won't Let You Go: Selected Poems
    Rabindranath Tagore (trans. Ketaki Kushari Dyson) (Bloodaxe Books Ltd, 2010) Google Books →
  • Nationalism
    Rabindranath Tagore (Penguin Classics, 2010) Google Books →
  • Selected Poems
    Rabindranath Tagore (trans. William Radice) (Penguin, 2005) Google Books →
  • Selected Short Stories
    Rabindranath Tagore (trans. William Radice) (Penguin, 2005) Google Books →
  • The Golden Boat: Selected Poems
    Rabindranath Tagore (trans. Joe Winter) (Anvil Press Poetry, 2008) Google Books →
  • The Home and the World
    Rabindranath Tagore (Penguin Classics, 2005) Google Books →
  • The Post Office
    Rabindranath Tagore (Kessinger Publishing, 2010) Google Books →
  • The Religion of Man
    Rabindranath Tagore (Martino Fine Books, 2013) Google Books →
  • My Life in My Words
    Rabindranath Tagore (ed. Uma Das Gupta) (Penguin, 2010) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: b05sxv7b

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05sxv7b

Auto-category: 920 (Biography and History)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. It's claimed that Rabindranath Tagore was at one time one of the most famous poets in the world.