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Bard of Bengal

by ForeverYoung299, TheRebel2007


Not written by me. Written by a friend of mine.( @therebel2007 )

Kaviguru Rabindranath Thakur, perhaps except history and literature buffs, no one has ever heard of his name outside the Indian Subcontinent. But, perhaps, his works are the most resonant and contemporary in our time even seven decades after his death.

Rabindranath, the son of Maharshi Debendranath Thakur and Sarada Devi, who was born on 7 May 1861 was the youngest of his siblings. The Thakur family was one of the most influential families in 19th Century Bengal. From Civil Service to Philosophy, the Thakurs had a big range of talent. They also hosted the publication of several literary magazines, cultural events, and recitals of Bengali poetry and Western Classical Music. Rabindranath grew up in this atmosphere of Bengali Renaissance - the era which was to heavily influence the following Indian Independence Movement.

Rabindranath, or “Rabi” as called by his kith & kin, never attended formal schooling, although all his other siblings did, but he was schooled at home. He lost his mother at an early age of 14. Since then, his sister-in-law Kadambari Devi became his anchor of emotion. He wrote his first poem when he was eight years old. He gained wide critical and regional acclaim at an age of 16 when he published his first set of major works, Bhanusingher Padabali.

He continued publishing poetry, novels, novellas, essays, short stories, dramas, and songs all his life. At the time of his death, he had a gigantic oeuvre of literature, he had composed over 2000 songs, over fifty volumes of poetry containing thousands of poems, eight novels, four novellas, scores of short stories, dozen dramas, and hundreds of essays in his whole life. His songs are collectively known as “Rabindra Sangeet'' and they are a major cultural phenomenon in the Indian Subcontinent - especially West Bengal and Bangladesh, even today. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for his volume of songs and poems, “Gitanjali”, which he translated to English in the name of “Song Offerings.” He was the first Asian and the first Indian to win a Nobel Prize and the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. He is the only lyricist to have not one, but two of his works as the National Anthem of two different countries - India and Bangladesh. And the Sri Lankan National Anthem was heavily influenced by his works. Although he usually wrote in Bengali, his works have also been translated to English by himself, his friend WB Yeats, and various other poets. He was also an artist and painter, with works that exhibited strange colour schemes and off-beat aesthetics.

Rabindranath was an ardent internationalist, progressive, humanist, anti-nationalist, anti-imperialist and anti-nationalist. He was knighted by the British Government, and he renounced his knighthood in 1919 in protest of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, which was estimated to be a genocide of 379-1000+ Sikh people who were peacefully protesting against the forceful arrest of Dr Kitchlu and Dr Satya Pal. Since his childhood, he despised the schooling system of that era, and from the funds he received from winning the Nobel Prize, he funded and taught in Santiniketan (The Abode of Peace), which was a University based on his ideals of education - done in open areas and grounds, and teachers giving students personal guidance in all matters. He was a huge supporter of the Indian National Movement till death, while also criticizing ultra-nationalist ideas, politics and parties. 

Rabindranath has been honoured with titles throughout his life. His vast canon poems earned him the title of Kaviguru (The Master of Poets). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1913. He was knighted by the British, which he later repudiated. He was an ardent believer of Mahatma Gandhi’s theory of non-violence and Gandhi was actually given the title of Mahatma (The Great Soul) by Rabindranath himself. In return, Gandhi gave the title of Gurudev (which is an honourable title in India given to an elderly and wise man) to Rabindranath. He is also known as Vishwakavi (The World Poet) for his internationalism and humanism. In his final speech on his 80th and final birth anniversary in Santiniketan, he warned against rising ultra-nationalism across the world and in his own country, and imperialism of the British Empire.

Rabindranath Thakur died on 7 August 1941, but he has been immortalized by his enormous canon of literature. His birthday as per the Bengali Calendar, 25th Baisakh, which usually falls around 7-10th May, is celebrated as Rabindra Jayanti in the Indian Subcontinent, and especially in Bangladesh and West Bengal even today. He is one of the foremost cultural icons of Bengal, even today. His internationalism and humanism earns him acclaim even today. He is the main figure to break down the classical strict structure and language of Bengali into more simple and flexible forms that are said to be the backbone of the Bengali language even today. He is said to be the equivalent of Shakespere in Bengal, often called as “the Bard of Bengal.” Truly, “the greatest poet India has ever produced.”


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Mon Sep 06, 2021 8:48 am
Phillauthet wrote a review...



Hi! I'm here for a review.

Firstly, I really appreciate the research you have done and the effort you have put into this piece. I'm an Indian, and I didn't know some of the things given here. Was this written for some project? If it was, I'm sure you'd have gotten full marks.

Kaviguru Rabindranath Thakur, perhaps except history and literature buffs, no one has ever heard of his name outside the Indian Subcontinent. But, perhaps, his works are the most resonant and contemporary in our time even seven decades after his death.

This was a very fitting start. It's a good introduction for those who don't know him. I would suggest replacing the comma after the third word with a full stop, for more effect. But that's up to you.

Rabindranath, the son of Maharshi Debendranath Thakur and Sarada Devi, who was born on 7 May 1861 was the youngest of his siblings. The Thakur family was one of the most influential families in 19th Century Bengal. From Civil Service to Philosophy, the Thakurs had a big range of talent. They also hosted the publication of several literary magazines, cultural events, and recitals of Bengali poetry and Western Classical Music. Rabindranath grew up in this atmosphere of Bengali Renaissance - the era which was to heavily influence the following Indian Independence Movement.

The first sentence seemed a teensy bit wordy to me. You could split it into two, or rephrase it. Also, the '7 May 1861' could be rewritten as '7th May 1861'.
The last sentence of this paragraph especially caught my eye. It's the type of line which, if it were in a play, would have all the dramatic music and drumrolls in the background. For some unknown reason, this line reminds me of the starting pages of an ACK (Amar Chitra Katha), if you know what that is. But then, which Indian doesn't?

Rabindranath, or “Rabi” as called by his kith & kin, never attended formal schooling, although all his other siblings did, but he was schooled at home. He lost his mother at an early age of 14. Since then, his sister-in-law Kadambari Devi became his anchor of emotion. He wrote his first poem when he was eight years old. He gained wide critical and regional acclaim at an age of 16 when he published his first set of major works, Bhanusingher Padabali.

This gives a feeling of slowly advancing to the story.
In this line '...never attended formal schooling, although all his other siblings did, but he was schooled at home.', I think the 'but' should be removed.
You could also split the first sentence into two.
And here, ' He lost his mother at an early age of 14.' 'at an early age' could be 'at the early age'.
I really love the third line. 'Anchor of emotion' is an especially nice touch.

He continued publishing poetry, novels, novellas, essays, short stories, dramas, and songs all his life. At the time of his death, he had a gigantic oeuvre of literature, he had composed over 2000 songs, over fifty volumes of poetry containing thousands of poems, eight novels, four novellas, scores of short stories, dozen dramas, and hundreds of essays in his whole life. His songs are collectively known as “Rabindra Sangeet'' and they are a major cultural phenomenon in the Indian Subcontinent - especially West Bengal and Bangladesh, even today. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for his volume of songs and poems, “Gitanjali”, which he translated to English in the name of “Song Offerings.” He was the first Asian and the first Indian to win a Nobel Prize and the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. He is the only lyricist to have not one, but two of his works as the National Anthem of two different countries - India and Bangladesh. And the Sri Lankan National Anthem was heavily influenced by his works. Although he usually wrote in Bengali, his works have also been translated to English by himself, his friend WB Yeats, and various other poets. He was also an artist and painter, with works that exhibited strange colour schemes and off-beat aesthetics.

Great stanza, no mistakes here.

Rabindranath was an ardent internationalist, progressive, humanist, anti-nationalist, anti-imperialist and anti-nationalist. He was knighted by the British Government, and he renounced his knighthood in 1919 in protest of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, which was estimated to be a genocide of 379-1000+ Sikh people who were peacefully protesting against the forceful arrest of Dr Kitchlu and Dr Satya Pal. Since his childhood, he despised the schooling system of that era, and from the funds he received from winning the Nobel Prize, he funded and taught in Santiniketan (The Abode of Peace), which was a University based on his ideals of education - done in open areas and grounds, and teachers giving students personal guidance in all matters. He was a huge supporter of the Indian National Movement till death, while also criticizing ultra-nationalist ideas, politics and parties.

This is a good example of something I didn't know. I knew that he gave up knighthood, but only now do I know that he gave it up in protest of General Dyer's order.
In the first line, I didn't really understand the '...internationalist, progressive, humanist'. Maybe you meant 'progressive humanist'.
Also, you have repeated anti-nationalist twice, probably by mistake.

Rabindranath has been honoured with titles throughout his life. His vast canon poems earned him the title of Kaviguru (The Master of Poets). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1913. He was knighted by the British, which he later repudiated. He was an ardent believer of Mahatma Gandhi’s theory of non-violence and Gandhi was actually given the title of Mahatma (The Great Soul) by Rabindranath himself. In return, Gandhi gave the title of Gurudev (which is an honourable title in India given to an elderly and wise man) to Rabindranath. He is also known as Vishwakavi (The World Poet) for his internationalism and humanism. In his final speech on his 80th and final birth anniversary in Santiniketan, he warned against rising ultra-nationalism across the world and in his own country, and imperialism of the British Empire.

You've already mentioned the knighting in the previous stanza.

Rabindranath Thakur died on 7 August 1941, but he has been immortalized by his enormous canon of literature. His birthday as per the Bengali Calendar, 25th Baisakh, which usually falls around 7-10th May, is celebrated as Rabindra Jayanti in the Indian Subcontinent, and especially in Bangladesh and West Bengal even today. He is one of the foremost cultural icons of Bengal, even today. His internationalism and humanism earns him acclaim even today. He is the main figure to break down the classical strict structure and language of Bengali into more simple and flexible forms that are said to be the backbone of the Bengali language even today. He is said to be the equivalent of Shakespere in Bengal, often called as “the Bard of Bengal.” Truly, “the greatest poet India has ever produced.”

This is the perfect ending to your essay. You give the reason why his writing is so special, something I haven't seen in many places.
A typo mostly, but the spelling of Shakespeare is incorrect here.

Overall, this essay was really informative and well written!
Hope my review was helpful
Keep Writing!

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Wed Aug 25, 2021 2:00 pm
kattee wrote a review...



Hello there <3

I know this isn’t the review you asked for but this was an intriguing read! >.> I was looking for an essay to review as well<.<


I’m afraid I’m part of the demographic who isn’t familiar with this humanitarian advocate so I can’t really critique this in terms of its veracity. I do have a few points to address, nonetheless.

I’d like to start off with your thesis statement/main argument/point. Hm. I think you’re somehow leaning more towards his influence in the literary field (based on your first paragraph), but your content often digresses from that. Whilst it discusses important aspects of his life, his activism, background story, and achievements, you (or your friend) has to keep in mind that this is just an essay, not a biography (unless it is? A short version of it? If it’s like that then that’s a different story. You should edit your first paragraph so that your main point is broader).

Now assuming you're sticking to your current main point: only if these other aspects correlate with your main point, should you mention them. To expound, in your second paragraph: birth dates and how he’s the youngest in the family was tacked on. You could just straightaway tackle how influential his family is and how they’ve hosted different literary and cultural events and associate it to how being exposed to these kinds of activities at such a young age may have significantly influenced and helped him become the writer and artist that he is today (or something).


Rabindranath grew up in this atmosphere of Bengali Renaissance - the era which was to heavily influence the following Indian Independence Movement.

This part felt out of place as well ^^ You could fix that by elaborating what it has to do with his writing/art. Or does this lean more to the activism/advocacies he had?

Rabindranath, or “Rabi” as called by his kith & kin, never attended formal schooling, although all his other siblings did, but he was schooled at home. He lost his mother at an early age of 14. Since then, his sister-in-law Kadambari Devi became his anchor of emotion.

I personally think this was simply tacked on or again, it just needs further explanation. You always have to keep going back to your main point. Did formal schooling affect his writing style? Is the death of his mother an inspiration to one of his notable works? Etc.

He wrote his first poem when he was eight years old. He gained wide critical and regional acclaim at an age of 16 when he published his first set of major works, Bhanusingher Padabali.

If you scrap (or separate) the sentences prior this and save a paragraph for this that elaborates more about the poems and published works he wrote (what it is about, what inspired him to write it etc.), even slide in the titles of those that caught public attention then it’d tie back to your essay focus and strengthen your thesis statement.

Either that ^^ or you could just add this in the fourth paragraph and comment on how his potential and skill in writing was recognised incredibly early.

Speaking of the fourth paragraph, this chunky one was perfectly suitable for this essay. It was equally interesting and informative. It showed how he made a major impact towards India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka through songwriting. This type of information should be consistent throughout the essays. You could orbit other paragraphs around his fiction and nonfiction. He’s an advocate, right? How did he use his writing/other works to showcase his ideals and principles? Which works were these? Did it do his campaign a favour or not? ^^ You could use these as some sort of guide questions, I suppose. But I reckon there are other things you could include from such an esteemed individual. It’ll just cost you your time and patience (lots of info digging).

He was also an artist and painter, with works that exhibited strange colour schemes and off-beat aesthetics.

I genuinely think that you should have reserved a whole paragraph just for this or is it because this didn’t garner as much recognition as his other works? If it did, you can use the (unofficial) guide questions to help you with your research and explanation.

I’ll be critiquing the fifth and sixth paragraph in case you went in for a much broader thesis statement.

Rabindranath was an ardent internationalist, progressive, humanist, anti-nationalist, anti-imperialist and anti-nationalist.

That’s a lot of technical terms ^^

Well-written essays are those that explain a topic clearly and in a more understandable way so I reckon that throwing out all these words is more of a deterrent rather than a pull to keep the readers’ attention. You’ve repeated the word “anti-nationalist” by the way. Are you sure that anti-nationalist is the right word to describe him? That’s quite a negative one you know. Nationalism (what an anti-nationalist is against) doesn’t mean you aren’t progressive, compromising, or inclusive, it just means that you’re encouraging your compatriots to preserve and love your culture.

Since his childhood, he despised the schooling system of that era, and from the funds he received from winning the Nobel Prize, he funded and taught in Santiniketan (The Abode of Peace), which was a University based on his ideals of education - done in open areas and grounds, and teachers giving students personal guidance in all matters.

The emboldened text needs more background information. Why did he despise it? In general, you haven’t clearly explained what he was fighting for and the readers are left to research it themselves. Unless, of course, your target audience are mostly those who are already well-informed about the topic. If not, even just an overview (from what the Indian National Movement is to the schooling system etc.) would suffice.


Rabindranath has been honoured with titles throughout his life. His vast canon poems earned him the title of Kaviguru (The Master of Poets). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1913. He was knighted by the British, which he later repudiated


^^ I would advise you to avoid repeating your points unless it’s in the conclusion part of your essay. That’s the only section where you have to summarise all your arguments and attach your input. At this point of the essay, it’s just redundant.

Lastly, if we’re talking about his activism, I suppose you should insert how much concrete impact/influence he had in the Indian Subcontinent. For instance, if this was an essay about Mahatma Gandhi, we would talk about his nonviolence and passive resistance. In terms of his actual influence, we could discuss how he led the boycott of products.

He is the main figure to break down the classical strict structure and language of Bengali into more simple and flexible forms that are said to be the backbone of the Bengali language even today.

This is such a banging info! This should’ve been mentioned in earlier paragraphs. You could dispense lots of examples from his works plus the opinions of critics and journalists. This is what I mean when it comes to “concrete influence.” This was such a huge contribution equal to the national anthem section. This should be the content your essay should revolve around instead of his family history.

Repeating what I said, the conclusion should be a round-up of your body. Somehow, all the important bits that aren’t mentioned anywhere but here were simply crammed in here.

I highly recommend creating an outline first before you start writing the essay. This will give you a clear view of which path you want to take in the essay. Having it all laid down in front of you will help you discern which information should be included, and the hierarchy of importance and interest.

I would also like to point out some issues regarding word usage and phrasing, however, it isn’t a priority right now considering your work needs to be more coherent and comprehensive.

So I’ll just point out the ones in your introduction and you could recheck the others on your own.

​​Kaviguru Rabindranath Thakur, perhaps except history and literature buffs, no one has ever heard of his name outside the Indian Subcontinent. But, perhaps, his works are the most resonant and contemporary in our time even seven decades after his death.

First highlight - I find this or the first sentence in general unnecessary. It’s implying that there is more to him than this and he should be recognised for it. However, I don’t see any of that in your essay?
Second highlight - The word contemporary is inappropriate. Contemporary is a term used to say that he is an icon who emerged just recently or at least, in this generation. Do you mean relevant? You’ve similar issues like this throughout your essay so I suggest double checking their dictionary definition.

That’s about it! Ultimately, this is promising and if you ever edit and republish this, I’ll be eager to read it! If I said something confusing, ask me without second thoughts and I apologise in advance!!

P.S. Hopefully, I didn’t sound harsh on my critique do point out if I overshot the mark <3

SENDING LOVE, Kattee




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Mon Aug 23, 2021 6:41 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi Forever and TheRebel2007,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

Hm, this is going to be a bit more of a special review, since I´m not direct familiar with all the information shown here, so I´m assuming that it´s correct, and write my review more around the way it´s presented as an article / essay. :D

Kaviguru Rabindranath Thakur, perhaps except history and literature buffs, no one has ever heard of his name outside the Indian Subcontinent. But, perhaps, his works are the most resonant and contemporary in our time even seven decades after his death.

First of all, this is a really great introduction to start the essay. There is a name, you give an explanation, why or how he is unknown and afterwards there is a question to it, to start the essay.

on 7 May 1861

I would write it like born on the 7th May 1861

He lost his mother at an early age of 14.

The way this is worded is not exactly neutral, because at 14 he is already something of a teenager. If he had been four, five or six, the "early" would still make sense.

He was the first Asian and the first Indian to win a Nobel Prize and the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

I would rewrite this sentence a bit, to eliminate the first “to win the Nobel Prize”, because now it sounds like he won two Nobel Prizes.

First of all, I found the general presentation very classy and structured. It felt like a short CV with the most important key data of Rabindranath. I also think that only the most important information is included here, so that even someone who has no idea about the person can easily read through it and have enough information at the end to form a first basic opinion.

He was also an artist and painter, with works that exhibited strange colour schemes and off-beat aesthetics.
Rabindranath was an ardent internationalist, progressive, humanist, anti-nationalist, anti-imperialist and anti-nationalist.

Only at one point - which is quoted here - did I find the transition a little strange, because it then jumped over from the Nobel Prize to here. The effect it creates is like a climax that subsides afterwards, making the following sections no longer seem as interesting or significant. I would try to move this "climax" more towards the end. It is not wrong to mention at the beginning that he received the Nobel Prize, but I would add the further information, as the first non-European, which was a considerable achievement in 1913 at a time when the white European only saw himself and the rest as his slaves, only at the end, as a last sentence before the end. That would have a greater effect.

I never read anything by him and really only heard about him because of the Nobel Prize. I didn't know, for example, that he was an ardent believer of Gandhi, which somehow made me very happy to read. The article definitely made me curious, as I sometimes go a bit deeper into the history of the sub-Indian continent and sometimes find interesting literature.

Have fun writing!

Mailice




TheRebel2007 says...


Thanks for the review, Malice! :p



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Thu Aug 19, 2021 7:02 pm
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RandomTalks wrote a review...



Hey!

RandomTalks here with a short review!

I am not sure who to address while writing this review, so I am ignoring all such formalities. This was a really informative and yet entertaining essay. Being a Bengali, I have grown up reading at least three of Tagore's poems in the school's yearly syllabus, so this hit even closer to home. I think irrespective of whether you are a Bengali, or even an Indian, everyone has somehow heard of Rabindranath Tagore. He truly is an enigma in Bengali literature, and I truly believe he is 'the greatest poet India has produced'. It was an honor to learn more about his life in this essay.

I love the simple way in which you have conveyed all this information. Essays, especially long ones, often tend to sound a little repetitive or boring. But you have maintained a very nice flow, that kept me reading throughout. And I agree with StarGuardian, you have an impressive vocabulary. Thanks to you, I learned several new words today.

Now some other points:

Kaviguru Rabindranath Thakur, perhaps except history and literature buffs, no one has ever heard of his name outside the Indian Subcontinent. But, perhaps, his works are the most resonant and contemporary in our time even seven decades after his death.

This was a good introduction, but you use the word 'perhaps' in two simultaneous sentences, and it makes it sound a little repetitive. Maybe you could rewrite that? Also, change the comma after the name with a dash (-). Otherwise, the sentence reads a little weird.

From Civil Service to Philosophy, the Thakurs had a big range of talent.

Since you are referring to multiple talents here, the word 'talent' should be in the plural form.

Rabindranath, or “Rabi” as called by his kith & kin, never attended formal schooling, although all his other siblings did, but he was schooled at home.

This sentence seems to run on and it needs to be broken up. Maybe rewrite it like this - "Rabindranath, or “Rabi” as called by his kith & kin, never attended formal schooling. Although all his other siblings did, he was schooled at home."

At the time of his death, he had a gigantic oeuvre of literature, he had composed over 2000 songs, over fifty volumes of poetry containing thousands of poems, eight novels, four novellas, scores of short stories, dozen dramas, and hundreds of essays in his whole life.

This is a one single sentence, and I think you can guess what the problem is here. It is too long and needs to be broken up as well. Put a full stop after 'oeuvre of literature' and start a new sentence from there.

Actually many of your sentences are too long. Maybe work a little in identifying them and breaking them up. Example:
Since his childhood, he despised the schooling system of that era, and from the funds he received from winning the Nobel Prize, he funded and taught in Santiniketan (The Abode of Peace), which was a University based on his ideals of education - done in open areas and grounds, and teachers giving students personal guidance in all matters.

There is simply so much information in this single sentence that it gets too hard to keep track of it all.

That's all.

This was a really great read, and I enjoyed learning more about the man whose works I have grown up reading. Thank you for sharing this.

Keep writing and have a great day!






Hey RandomTalks! Thank you so much for the review!



TheRebel2007 says...


Thank you for the review!



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Thu Aug 12, 2021 12:42 am
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StarGuardian says...



An essay about a poet!! How fun!! Did you enjoy researching and writing about this? Cause I enjoyed reading this. You've peaked my interests and now I want to learn more about poets! Even if I'm most certainly not one myself lol. There was great effort put into this, I think you did amazing! Was this perhaps an assignment of some sort? Or just for fun?

Either way, I'm going to start researching about ancient poetry and stuff, sounds really cool! Your vocabulary was amazing too, some of those words I've never heard of before!!! It's incredible!




TheRebel2007 says...


Thank you so much, Star_Guardian!



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Fri Jul 23, 2021 5:47 am
ForeverYoung299 says...



Credit goes to @the_rebel_2007




LittleLee says...


Hey, Forever!

Could you edit this to make separate paragraphs?







Nobody wants to see the village of the happy people.
— Lew Hunter