It is not easy to know oneself. I have made different attempts to make sense of my life. The only thing I have been able to conclude about myself is that I am a poet, nothing else, no matter all the other things I may have done with my life.
The Renaissance man of modern India. Rabindranath Tagore put his country on the literary map of the world when he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. Though known primarily as a poet and writer, Tagore was also a painter, composer and philosopher, an educationist and rural reformer.
My Life in My Words is, quite literally, Tagore on Tagore. Uma Das Gupta draws upon the vast repertoire of Tagore's writings-his autobiographical works, speeches, letters and poems-to create a vivid portrait of the life and times of one of India's most influential cultural icons. The result is a rare glimpse into the world of Rabindranath Tagore: his family of pioneering entrepreneurs, saints, poets and composers who shaped his world view; the personal tragedies that influenced some of his most eloquent verse; his ground-breaking work in education and social reform; his constant endeavour to bring about a synthesis of the East and the West and his humanitarian approach to politics; and his rise to the status of an international poet.
Meticulously researched and sensitively edited, this unique autobiography provides an incomparable insight into the mind of a genius.
About the Author
Rabindranath Tagore was born in 1861. he was the fourteenth child of Debendranath Tagore, head of the Brahmo Samaj. The family house at Jorasanko was a hive of cultural and intellectual activity and Tagore started writing at an early age. In the 1890s he lived in rural East Bengal, managing family estates. He was involved in the Swadeshi campaign against the British in the early 1900s. in 1912 he travelled to England with Gitanjali, a collection of English poems, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. Tagore was knighted in 1915, an honour he repudiated in 1919 after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. In the 1920s and 1930s he lectured extensively in America, Europe, the Far East and middle East. Proceeds from these and from his Western publications went to Visva-Bharati. His school and university at Santiniketan. A prolific writer, his works include poems, novels, plays, short stories, essays and songs. Late in his life Tagore took up painting, exhibiting in Moscow, Berlin, Paris, London and New York. He died in 1941.
Uma Das Gupta was educated at Presidency College, Calcutta, and the University of Oxford. Her postdoctoral research was on Rabindranath Tagore and the history of the institutions he founded at Santiniketan and Sriniketan, 1901-41. Das Gupta was head of the United States Educational Foundation in India for the Eastern Region. Her recent publications include a Difficult Friendship: Letters of Edward Thompson and Rabindranath Tagore, 1913-40 and Rabindranath Tagore: A Biography, Her forthcoming publications include the Oxford India Tagore anthology. She is currently editing a volume on 'Science, Colonialism, and Nationalism: an Institutional History, 1784-1947' for the Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture of the Centre for Studies in Civilizations, New Delhi.
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