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Tagore was Depressed?

by Kathy Jones on December 31, 2011 at 5:19 PM
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 Tagore was Depressed?

A new biography indicates that Rabindranath Tagore apparently led a very lonely life and suffered from frequent bouts of depression.

The new biography has been written by Sabtasachi Bhattacharya and is titled Rabindranath Tagore: An Interpretation.

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Tagore, who is often referred to as Bengal's Shakespeare, wrote poems and stories, and composed both the Indian and Bangladeshi national anthems. He died in 1941.

According to the biography, Tagore suffered from bouts of depression in 1914, a year after he became the first non-European to win the Nobel literature prize for his collection of poems titled 'Gitanjali'.
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"In January 1915 Tagore again speaks of a 'breakdown', 'deep depression', but in February he claimed to have been healed in the solitude of the boat he inhabited on the banks of the Padma [river] in north Bengal," the BBC quoted Bhattacharya as saying in his book.

The book also claims that the celebrated poet was lonely since his childhood.

"I was very lonely - that was the chief feature of my childhood - I was very lonely. I saw my father seldom: he was away a great deal... I was kept in the charge of the servants of the household after my mother died," Tagore wrote to a confidant.

Bhattacharya quotes Tagore as having written to a friend that he would sometimes "pass many months absolutely alone without speaking, till my own voice grew thin and weak through lack of use".

The biography claims that the poet's loneliness was due to the hostility that he felt from his people, especially Bengalis.

"disappointment with the support he received from his people, especially the Bengali people, a sense of loneliness in his life as an institution-builder in a society, and a mindset that was hostile, or at best apathetic".

After winning the Nobel Prize in 1913, Tagore wrote that the celebrations by his countrymen were a "momentary excitement" as he felt that only a few people truly appreciated his work.

The biographer writes that one of his most memorable songs, 'Ekla Chalo Re', was written in 1905 when he felt isolated.

"His mind was in turmoil caused not only by the partition of Bengal but also by his failure to gain the attention and support of the mainstream nationalist leaders in the anti-partition agitation," Bhattacharya added.

Source: ANI
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