Rabindranath Tagore’s Birthday
May 8

Rabindranath Tagore’s compassion ran deep and permeated his writing. Within the short span of five years, his wife, son, and daughter died. Rather than becoming bitter, Tagore turned his sorrow into tenderly poignant mystical poems. In 1891, he went to manage his father’s estate, living close to villagers and developing sympathy for them which became the keynote for later writings. Although he was awarded the knighthood in 1915, he surrendered it four years later to protest the British massacre of Indians. In “Mind Without Fear,” Tagore shares his dream of a world that’s not been “broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls:"

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action --
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

According to the Bengali calendar, the date of Tagore's birth is 25th Baisakh, 1268. It is uncertain where this date falls on the Gregorian calendar, May 8 being one of the possibilities.

For photos, selected works, and Tagore's conversations with Einstein and H.G. Wells, please see this Rabindranath Tagore webpage.

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