All Section, Education & Culture

Rabindranath Tagore

Poet of nature, love and mankind

Published : 09 Nov 2019 05:17 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 12:01 PM

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) is a prominent figure and bright star in the domain of Bengali literature. He was a poet of versatile genius, and left ample evidence and traces of his brilliance in poetry, novels, short stories, plays, including songs, almost in every field of literature. He brought nearly utter perfection to Bengali literature, led it to high esteem in the world society, and advocated for the establishment of its status in literary world. His ‘Gitanjali’ (song offerings) brought him in 1913 the best honour the “Nobel Prize”, and this achievement of the Nobel Prize gave him the honour as the chief of the poets. His literary composition and collection are vast and large in number and quantity. He composed 12 novels, more than 1000 poems, 119 short stores and more than 2000 songs. He composed not only songs but also set tones to them too. Apart from those, he wrote many articles on different topics. Moreover, he wrote many stories on travel and peregrination too. He also travelled more   than thirty countries all over the world.

As a man, the poet, by nature, was very loud and protesting against injustice, unfairness and unlawful acts. During the lifetime of the poet, it happened that the then British soldiers on April 13, 1919 killed 379 people very mercilessly and ruthlessly at Jalianwala Bagh, which is known in history as ‘Jalianwala Bagh Massacre.’ Rabindranath in protest against this ruthless massacre renounced the title ‘Knight’ that was conferred on him by the British rulers.

Rabindranath lived for about 80 years of which he spent for about 68 years in literary pursuits. On his deathbed, the poet Rabindranath orally composed for the last time in his life: ‘Tomar Srishtir Path Rekhechho Akirno Kori’ (the way to your creativity has been spread everywhere).

The great contribution of the poet endowed with genius made to Bengali language is really incomparable and inexhaustible. His genius is multifarious. Some of his multifarious geniuses are that he is a poet of nature, love and mankind.

As a poet of nature, he had deep attraction for nature and its beauty. He loved nature and enjoyed its beauty very intimately. The beauty, flavour and smell of nature attracted him very deeply. On the occasion of the supervision of the zamindari, he travelled around many places of Kushtia, Pabna and Rajshahi, and at that time he got the opportunity of being acquainted with the rural Bangla, and he became charmed at the unique views and beauties of the rivers, canals, marshlands, houses surrounded by water, villages and crop-fields. Because of travel, he could visualize and realize a real complete picture and form of human life in the strange plain land washed away by the Padma, the Jamuna, the Brahmaputra, the Gouri, Ichhamati etc rivers. He composed his literature based on these views and forms taking them as the means and support of his writing. 

As a result, we find that his love and attraction for nature are significantly manifest in his writing. Therefore, he obtained good name as a poet of nature.

Again, from the very boyhood, poet Rabindranath had deep love and strong attachment to nature. He could never forget nature. The nature appeared to him as a unique young, mysterious, wonderful and enigmatic attraction and affinity. The beauty of nature filled the poet’s heart with much pleasure. If any rift of the relation between the poet and the nature occurs, we find that the poet’s mind is filled with melancholy and gloom. We can explore the mental depression and dejection from the poet’s ‘Sandhya Sangeet’ (evening songs) after the rift and split of the poet’s relation with nature. He in his frustrated state of mind expressed his mental pain and restlessness. In addition, we can learn from the poet’s ‘Probhatsangeet’ (morning songs) that he developed deep relation with the nature. The poet in his memoir narrated: “From my boyhood, I had a very easy and intimate connection with the universal nature. As soon as I woke in the morning, the earth’s ecstasy called my mind out as his playmate, at noon the whole sky and the time became very keen and pushed down in its depth and made me indifferent, and in the darkness the secret door of the way of illusion that was opened, led beyond the boundary of the possible and the impossible to the unique wonderland of the fairy tale, crossing the place beyond the remote corner of the world where human being can hardly go”.

We find the poet’s book ‘Chhobi O Gaan’ (pictures and songs) where he enjoyed nature’s outstanding and breathtaking beauty and felt romantic, passionate and closely attached. He observed the nature profoundly and intensively, and in the rainy days in the land of the variety of seasons in solitary house, he lonely remarked:

Tuptup briste pore

Pata hote patay jhore

Dale bose  bheje ekti pakhi

(It’s raining drop by drop

on leaves to leaves.

A bird is soaked by rain sitting atop

one of the tree branches.)

The poet in his ‘Kori O Komol’ (soft scale relating musical notes in Bengali) poetry book expressed his intense love and attachment to the nature, universe, and life. He was very charmed by the natural beauty. The exquisite beauty of nature and the wonderful variety of pleasure overwhelmed the poet with mysterious beauty of grace. The poet loved the nature, the world, and the universe so much that he liked to live on this earth forever. He did not like to depart from this earth. Therefore, he opened his mind in this poem ‘Pran’ (life) of the poetry book 'Kori O Komol' as:

Morite chahina ami sundor bhubone

Manusher majhe ami bachibare chai

(I do not like to die in this beautiful earth. Rather I would like to live among the human beings since birth.)

We understand that Rabindranath even in his old stage of life could not forget the nature. He wrote in ‘Shyamoli’ (greenish black):

Se jeno gramer nodi

Bohe nirobodhi

Mirdomondo kolkole

Taronger bhongimay aborter ghumi nai jole

(The river flows eternally

through the bedecked village

murmuring, singing slowly,

that waves don’t whirl amaze.)

Rabindranath the worshipper of nature had inseparable connection with nature. Therefore, we find that Rabindranath was a poet of nature.

(To be continued)

The writer is a former Joint Secretary to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and regular contributor to Bangladesh Post