Rabindranath Tagore, a prominent cultural icon, our national poet, novelist, playwright, philosopher, and a Nobel laureateof India was born on May 7, 1861 in Kolkata to ‘Sarala Devi and Debendranath Tagore’. He grew up in a very wealthy family and his house (the Tagore House) was the center of cultural and social activities at that time. Instead of formal education, Tagore was tutored at home by several teachers. Tagore largely avoided classroom schooling and preferred to roam the manor or nearby ‘Bolpur’ and ‘Panihati’, idylls which the family visited. His brotherHemendranath tutored and physically conditioned him-by having him swim the Ganges or trek through hills. Hemendranath also initiated young Rabindranath into gymnastics, practicing judo and wrestling. He learned drawing, anatomy, geography and history, literature, mathematics, Sanskrit, and English-his least favorite subject. Tagore loathed formal education-his scholarly travails at the local Presidency College spanned a single day. Years later he held that proper teaching does not explain things; proper teaching stokes curiosity: In his own words; ‘”[It] knock[s] at the doors of the mind. If any boy is asked to give an account of what is awakened in him by such knocking, he will probably say something silly. For what happens within is much bigger than what comes out in words. Those who pin their faith on university examinations as the test of education take no account of this’ After he underwent an ‘upanayan’ (thread ceremony) initiation at age eleven, he and his father left Calcutta in February 1873 for a month-long tour. They visited his father’s Santiniketan estate and rested in Amritsar en route to the Himalayan Dhauladhars, their destination being the remote hill station at Dalhousie. Along the way, Tagore read biographies; his father tutored him in history, astronomy, and Sanskrit declensions. He read biographies of Benjamin Franklin among other figures; they discussed Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; and they examined the poetry of Kalidasa. In mid-April they reached the station, and at 2,300 metres (7,546 ft) they settled into a house that sat atop Bakrota Hill. Tagore was taken aback by the region’s deep green gorges, alpine forests, and mossy streams and waterfalls. They stayed there for several months and adopted a regime of study and privation that included daily twilight baths taken in icy water. Debendranath wanted his son to become a barrister; thus, in 1878, Tagore enrolled at a public school in Brighton, East Sussex, England. He stayed for several months at a house that the Tagore family owned near Brighton and Hove, in Medina Villas; in 1877 his nephew and niece-Suren and Indira Devi, the children of Tagore’s brother Satyendranath-were sent together with their mother, Tagore’s sister-in-law, to live with him. He briefly read law at University College London, but again left school. He opted instead for independent study of Shakespeare, Religion, Medici, Coriolanus, and Antony and Cleopatra. Lively English, Irish, and Scottish folk tunes impressed Tagore, whose own tradition of Nidhubabu-authored kirtans and tappas and Brahmo hymn was subdued. In 1880 he returned to Bengal degree-less, resolving to reconcile European novelty with Brahmo traditions, taking the best from each. In 1883 he married Mrinalini Devi, born Bhabatarini, 1873-1902; they had five children, two of whom died in childhood. In 1901, he established the ‘Santineketan school’ (the abode of peace), which is now called ‘VisvaBharati University’. TAGORE AND HYDERABAD ‘Nizam’ of Hyderabad was the largest donor of all to ‘Santiniketan’ having given Rs. 100,000/- (One Lac) TAGORE AND BANGALORE In 1928, Rabindranath Tagore was on his way to Oxford, UK to a deliver the Hibbert Lecture (an annual series of lectures on theological issues sponsored by the Hibbert Trust). But that year, Tagore couldn’t make it to the Hibbert lecture as he fell ill. “Tagore was asked to come to Bangalore for a change of scene and climate. He stayed with Prof Brajendranath Seal, the then vice-chancellor of Mysore University.” While here, Tagore wrote one of his eternal classics, ‘ShesherKobita’, a love saga. The novel narrates the intense romance between Amit Roy, an Oxford educated barrister, and ‘Labonya’, an upper class girl. “It is a blend of scintillating dialogues and poetic exchanges between the lovers who choose to separate just to keep their love alive,” says Biswas. On June 25, 1928, Tagore got into a creative frenzy and wrote all night, completing this novella in the wee hours of the morning. The following day, he read it out to his acquaintances Prasanta Mahalanabis, the famous statistician based in Bangalore, and his wife Rani.