Timeline of Rabindranath Tagore

This timeline of Rabindranath Tagore is a work in progress. The content has been written by Christine Kupfer, unless otherwise mentioned. This timeline is divided into three categories: context and events in the family (left), biographical events (middle) and Tagore’s works (right). Please note that you can view this timeline in 2D and 3D. You can choose the version you prefer by pressing the button at the bottom left corner. Copyright © 2015: Please note that all images and texts on these pages may not be downloaded, sold or redistributed, copied or distributed in any form without written consent. The user is responsible for all issues of copyright. If you are the rightful copyright holder of any item and its use online constitutes an infringement of your copyright, please contact us by email at c.kupfer@napier.ac.uk to discuss its removal from this page.

1861-05-07 00:00:00

Birth of Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore was the youngest of thirteen surviving children. He was born in the Jorasanko mansion in Calcutta, India to parents Debendranath Tagore (1817–1905) and Sarada Devi (1830–1875).

1868-02-01 00:00:00

Rabindranath's Schooling

Rabindranath Tagore is first taught at home. He starts going to school when he is seven years old. He first goes to the Oriental Seminary and shortly after to Normal School. At home he is tutored rigorously in languages, gymnastics, wrestling, classical music, drawing etc. In 1871/1872, Rabindranath Tagore is enrolled in a new school called Bengal Academy, yet he begins to play truant.

1869-02-01 00:00:00

First verses

Rabindranath Tagore writes his first verses, inspired by a Bengali translation of Bernardin de Saint-Pierre's 'Paul et Virginie'.

1873-02-01 00:00:00

Journey with his Father: First visit to Santiniketan and to the Himalayas

In 1873 Rabindranath and his father went on a journey. They visited Santiniketan, Amristar, and finally, in mid-April, Dalhousie hill station. Tagore read biographies on the way and his father tutored him in Sanskrit, history, and study of the Upanishads and the poetry of Kalidasa. They stayed for several months in Dalhousie and adopted a strict daily regime. His father also gave him lessons in Sanskrit, English and astronomy.

1873-02-01 00:00:00

Upanayan

Rabindranath Tagore’s Upanayan (Brahminical sacred thread ceremony and initiation into Gayatri prayers)

1874-02-01 00:00:00

Last school: St Xavier's

Tagore is admitted to his last school, St Xavier’s School, which he attends only for a few months. The school record confirms that he attends school only irregularly. He formally drops out in 1876.

1874-12-01 00:00:00

First published poem "Abhilasha" (Desire)

Tagore’s first poem, entitled Abhilasha (Desire), is published anonymously in the journal “Tattvabodhini Patrika.”

1875-02-01 00:00:00

Rabindranaths mother dies

Death of Sarada Devi, Rabindranath Tagore's mother.

1875-02-01 00:00:00

Rabindranath Tagore recites a patriotic poem at a Hindu fair

1876-02-01 00:00:00

Secret Society

Rabindranath Tagore joins a short-lived Secret Society, supposed to have been modelled after Mazzini's Carbonari

1877-02-01 00:00:00

First literary criticism

Rabindranath Tagore receives his first literary criticism on a book of Bengali poems, entitled “Bhuban Mohini Pratibha”, which is published in Jnanankur.

1877-02-01 00:00:00

First acting role

Rabindranath Tagore acts on stage for the first time. He plays the principal role of a comedy written by his brother Jyotirindranath. The show is performed privately at their home.

1877-02-01 00:00:00

Ahmedabad and Bombay

Rabindranath Tagore spends eighteen months in Ahmedabad and Bombay, where he studies English and lives as ward of his elder brother Satyendranath.

1877-02-01 00:00:00

Verses published as Bhanu Singha

1877-03-18 00:00:00

“Bhikharini” [The Beggar Woman].

Rabindranath starts writing short stories. The first one, published in 1877, is “Bhikharini” [The Beggar Woman].

1878-03-01 00:00:00

Kabi Kahini [Tale of a Poet]

Rabindranath Tagore's first collection Kabi Kahini [Tale of a Poet] is published in 1878.

1878-09-20 00:00:00

Studies in England

On 20 September 1878, when Rabindranath Tagore is seventeen, he is asked to go to England with his brother Satyendranath. His father wants him to become a barrister, so he is enrolled at a public school in Brighton and briefly reads law at University College London. He then opts to independently study literature and takes classes in English Literature at the University of London. Rabindranath feels lonely in London but spends some time in the cottage of his elder brother Satyendranath and his sister-in-law in Torquay in Devon. In February 1880, Tagore is called back to Bengal by his father, without having received a degree, but having learnt a lot about European culture that he resolves to merge with his Indian tradition in his own artistic endeavours.

1879-03-18 00:00:00

Europe-Prabasir Patra

Tagore publishes his "Letters on a Sojourn in Europe" in serialized form in the journal Bharati. His elder family members are not pleased about this series.

1882-02-01 00:00:00

Mystic Experience - Nirjharer Svapnabhanga

Tagore has a mystic experience of cosmic unity that inspires his poem "Nirjharer Svapnabhanga" (The Awakening of the Fountain).

1883-12-09 00:00:00

Wedding to Mrinalini Devi

Rabindranath Tagore marries Mrinalini Devi, born Bhabatarini (1873–1902), on 9 December 1883, according to their fathers wishes. She is only ten years old, Rabindranath himself is twenty-two years. The wedding is hurried and falls on an unfortunate day as Rabindranath’s sister Saudamini Devi’s husband Saradaprasad Gangopadhyay dies on this day. For this reason, Rabindranath’s sister, his father, and his brother Satyendranath are not present at the wedding. Mrinalini Devi and Rabindranath Tagore will have five children together, two of whom will die in childhood.

1884-12-01 00:00:00

Suicide of Kadambari Devi

Kadambari Devi, Rabindranath’s sister-in-law, who he was very close to and who inspired him in his literary work, commits suicide. He will dedicate three of his books to her, including an anthology called Saisab Sangit (Songs of Childhood).

1884-12-01 00:00:00

Secretary of the Adi Brahmo Samaj

Rabindranath Tagore is appointed Secretary of the Adi Brahmo Samaj.

1885-12-01 08:14:42

Formation of the Indian National Congress

The Indian National Congress is formed under Allen Octavian Hume and meets in December 1885 in Bombay for the first time.

1886-10-01 00:00:00

Birth of Tagore's first child Bela

Rabindranath and Mrinalini's first child Madhurilata, nicknamed Bela, is born.

1886-12-01 21:36:49

Indian National Congress session in Calcutta

Rabindranath Tagore presents a song to delegates.

1887-01-01 08:14:42

Queen Victoria becomes Empress of India

Queen Victoria is proclaimed Empress of India in Delhi. She is represented by Viceroy Lord Lytton.

1888-12-01 21:36:49

Birth of son Rathindranath

Tagore’s oldest son and second child Rathindranath is born on 27 November 1888. Rathindranath will become one of his father’s first pupils at Shantiniketan. He will be an agriculturist, carpenter, architect, writer, painter, teacher of genetics at Visva-Bharati and its first vice-chancellor after it becomes Central University.

1890-02-01 00:00:00

Bisarjan and Manasi

Tagore considers the publication of his drama "Bisarjan" and the collection of poems "Manasi" as turning point and as first publications of his mature works.

1890-08-22 00:00:00

Journey to England, Italy and France

Tagore travels to England and stays there from August to September 1890. He visits the British Parliament and notes the bustle of English life. After his time in England, he tours Italy and France, accompanied by his brother Satyendranath and his friend Loken Palit. In Paris, he climbs the newly erected Eiffel Tower. Tagore uses his time in Europe to intensify his familiarization with western music. He is also drawn to European fine arts, visiting the National Gallery and French exhibitions. Tagore maintains a travel diary for this journey that is published in 1891. He returns home from his second tour to Europe on November 4, 1890. Written by Indra Nath Choudhuri

1891-02-01 00:00:00

Tours of North Bengal and Orissa estates

His father gives Rabindranath new responsibilities regarding his estates in North Bengal and Orissa. He begins to visit these places.

1891-02-01 00:00:00

Sonar Tari

Tagore writes the poem "Sonar Tari" in late 1891 or early 1892. This poem has been seen as a turning point in his creative life. It is first published in 1893 and again in 1894, in a book that bears the same title as the poem.

1891-07-10 11:28:44

Birth of third child Renuka

His daughter Renuka is born in July 1891.

1892-02-01 00:00:00

Summer at Santiniketan

Tagore spends the summer in Santiniketan.

1892-12-01 07:21:06

Birth of daughter Mira

Mira Devi (also called Atasi), Rabindranath’s daughter, was born on 12 January 1894. The photo shows Rabindranath Tagore's son Rathindranath Tagore & his daughters Madhurilata Devi (Bela), Mira Devi and Renuka Devi.

1894-02-01 00:00:00

Becomes editor of magazine Sadhana

1896-01-01 00:00:00

Chitra

1896-12-01 00:00:00

Nadi

1896-12-11 07:21:06

Birth of youngest child Samindranath

Rabindranath Tagore’s son Samindranath, called Sami, was, as Dutta and Robinson write, “a beautiful boy who had already shown signs of being the child who would take after his father.” He will die of cholera when he is only eleven years old.

1897-01-01 00:00:00

Panch-bhuta

1898-02-01 00:00:00

Becomes editor at magazine Bharati

Rabindranath Tagore begins his work as editor of Bharati. He also contributes a number of poems, short stories and essays.

1898-02-01 00:00:00

Balendranath makes plans for school in Santiniketan

Balendranath draws up plans for setting up a school at Santiniketan for imparting religious education according to the Brahmo Samaj.

1899-01-01 00:00:00

Kanika

1899-02-01 00:00:00

Silaidah

Lunch at Kuthi Bari at Silaidah with family members. Tagore moves with his wife and children to Silaidah in 1899. The family lives there until Tagore moves to Santiniketan to found his school in 1901.

1901-02-01 00:00:00

Naibedya

Enter story info here

1901-06-01 00:00:00

Arranged marriage of daughters Bela and Renuka

Madhurilata is married at the age of fifteen to advocate Saratchandra Chak of Mazaffarpur (son of the poet Biharilal Chakraborty, who inspired Tagore when he was young) on 15 June 1901. Renuka Debi (Rani) is married to Satyendranath Bhattacharya in August 1901, one and a half months after her elder sister Madhurilata got married. At the time of her wedding, Renuka is only 10 years and 6 months old. Her father marries her to a man she has never met before. This is surprising, as Tagore also speaks out against child marriages as early as 1887. In a letter to his wife (20 July 1901), he argues that the Tagore family's education, taste and language differ so much from other Bengali families that he deems it necessary for his daughters to be separated from the family when they are still quite young in order to learn to appreciate their husbands’ families' ways. There might have been a number of other reasons for this radical step. Financial worries might have meant that marrying while Rabindranath's father was still alive, he would pay all wedding expenses and dowry. Dutta & Robinson further mention a strong dislike for the current family atmosphere at Jorosanko and further emphasize Tagore's wish to completely focus on his new idea of his school at Shantiniketan that made it necessary for him to disencumber himself from family commitments. Bizzarely, Tagore writes Nashtanirh (The Broken Nest) at the same time, when he was arranging his daughters' marriages – a novella that describes the agony child marriages can cause to those involved. Dutta & Robinson ask: “Was he conscious of the grotesque contradiction – or did the two activities dwell in distinct mental compartments? There is no way of knowing. In later life, however, Rabindranath betrayed many guilty feelings about the marriages of his three daughters.”

1901-12-22 00:00:00

Foundation of school in Santiniketan

Tagore establishes a school at Santiniketan with his father's consent and blessings. He builds his school on the model of ancient forest schools (tapovan) of India but combines it, particularly later, with an open and scientific outlook.

1902-02-01 00:00:00

History of Bharatvasha (essay)

1902-11-23 00:00:00

Death of Rabindranath's wife Mrinalini Devi

1903-01-01 00:00:00

Shishu/ Sisu

Tagore writes Sisu for his daughter Renuka when she is ill.

1903-04-01 00:00:00

Smaran

Tagore dedicates Smaran to the memory of his wife Mrinalini.

Timeline of Rabindranath Tagore

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