"Where the mind is without fear and the head held high;
India's greatest modern poet and the creative genius of the Indian Renaissance.
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow
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
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake."
-on the independence of India.
Tagore was born on May 7, 1861 in Calcutta. He studied law in London but returned to his home and married in 1883. He began writing for Bengali papers and magazines and founded the Visvabharati, a university in Shantiniketar in 1901. In 1915, he was knighted by King George V, an honor which Tagore renounced four years later in protest to the British suppression of the Punjabi.
He wrote over fifteen books on philosophy including: Sadhana, the Realization of Life (1913), Personality (1917), Creative Unity (1922) and Man in 1937. Additionally, he wrote nearly one hundred books of verse, including Gitanjali which meant 'Song Offering' in 1910. Gitanjali contains many of his most famous poems and has an introduction written by the Irish poet W.B. Yeats. In 1930, he delivered the Hibbert Lectures at Oxford University, which were later published as The Religion of Man. He was the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. He passed away in 1941.
Some of Tagore's poems: