Timeline

Rabindranath Tagore

This is a timeline of events through Rabindranath Tagore’s lifetime. It has been developed from Kristine Kulpner’s Tiki-Toki timeline and added to from a variety of information sources. Where a precise date and only a year has been known, the date has been marked as 1st January followed by the year. We hope you enjoy it.

 

Timeline of Rabindranath Tagore

1st January 1861

Timeline of Rabindranath Tagore

This timeline of Rabindranath Tagore is a work in progress. The content has been written by Christine Kupfer (2015), unless otherwise mentioned. This timeline is divided into three categories: context and events in the family, biographical events and Tagore’s works.  In the absence of a particular date for a given event the timeline entry simply expresses 1st January to indicate the year.

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Birth of Rabindranath Tagore

7th May 1861

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).  

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Rabindranath’s Schooling

1st January 1868

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.

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He Writes First Verses

1st January 1869

He Writes First Verses

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

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Upanayan

1st January 1872

Upanayan

Rabindranath Tagore’s Upanayan (Brahminical sacred thread ceremony and initiation into Gayatri prayers). Upanayana (Sanskrit: उपनयन upanayana-) Janai or janeau (Sanskrit: जनै, जनेऊ is one of the traditional saṃskāras (rites of passage) that marked the acceptance of a student by a guru (teacher or tutor) and an individual’s entrance to a school in Hinduism.

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Journey With His Father: First Visit to Santiniketan and to the Himalayas

1st January 1873

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.

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Last School: St Xavier’s

1st January 1874

Last School: St Xavier’s

1874 – 1876: 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.  

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First Published Poem: ‘Abhilasha’ (Desire)

1st January 1874

First Published Poem: ‘Abhilasha’ (Desire)

Tagore’s first poem, entitled Abhilasha (Desire), is published anonymously in the journal “Tattvabodhini Patrika.” Tattwabodhini Patrika (Bengali: তত্ত্ববোধিনী পত্রিকা) [Tattwabodhini (“truth-searching”) Patrika (“newspaper”)] was established by Maharshi Devendranath Tagore on 16 August 1843, as a journal of the Tattwabodhini Sabha, and continued publication until 1883. It was published from Kolkata, India

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Rabindranath Tagore Recites Patriotic Poem at a Hindu Fair

1st January 1875

Rabindranath Tagore Recites Patriotic Poem at a Hindu Fair

Utsava‘ is the Sanskrit word for Hindu festivals, it refers to “religious practices. Todumal or Todumal or Todumal is derived from the Sanskrit word, Utsava. The Sanskrit word Utsava comes from the word “ut” meaning “removal” and “sava” which means “worldly sorrows” or “grief”.

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Rabindranath’s mother dies

1st January 1875

Rabindranath’s mother dies

Death of Sarada Devi, Rabindranath Tagore’s mother.

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Secret Society

1st January 1876

Secret Society

Rabindranath Tagore joins a short-lived Secret Society, supposed to have been modelled after Mazzini’s Carbonari. The Carbonari (lit. ’charcoal makers’) was an informal network of secret revolutionary societies active in Italy from about 1800 to 1831.

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“Bhikharini” [The Beggar Woman] Published

1st January 1877

“Bhikharini” [The Beggar Woman] Published

Rabindranath starts writing short stories. The first one, published in 1877, is “Bhikharini” [The Beggar Woman]. The story was first published in 1877 in Bharati and was the first short story written in Bengali language. This was also Tagore’s own first short story, and he was 16 years old at the…

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Verses Published as Bhanu Singha

1st January 1877

Verses Published as Bhanu Singha

Tagore mentioned Bhanusingha Thakur in several of his writings, describing him as an “ancient Vaishnav saint”. But he would express his inability to share more details about him — which he once sarcastically blamed on the “absence of documented Indian history”, an issue that he felt strongly about.

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Ahmedabad and Bombay

1st January 1877

Ahmedabad and Bombay

In 1877 and 1878 Rabindranath Tagore spends eighteen months in Ahmedabad and Bombay, where he studies English and lives as ward of his elder brother Satyendranath.

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First acting role

1st January 1877

First acting role

In 1877 Rabindranath Tagore acts on stage for the first time. He plays the principal role of a comedy written by his brother Jyotirindranath. He plays Valmiki in Valmii Pratibha.

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First Literary Criticism

1st January 1877

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.

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Kabi Kahini [Tale of a Poet] is published

1st January 1878

Kabi Kahini [Tale of a Poet] is published

Rabindranath Tagore’s first collection Kabi Kahini [Tale of a Poet] is published in 1878. Kabi-Kahini is a poetry book written in Bengali when Rabindranath was the age of 16.

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Studies in England

20th September 1878

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.

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Europe Prabasir Patra is Published

1st January 1879

Europe Prabasir Patra is Published

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

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Mystic Experience Inspires Nirjharer Svapnahanga

1st January 1882

Mystic Experience Inspires Nirjharer Svapnahanga

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

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Marriage of Rabindranath Tagore and Mrinalini Devi

9th December 1883

Marriage of Rabindranath Tagore and 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.

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Appointed Secretary of the Adi Brahmo Samaj

1st January 1884

Appointed Secretary of the Adi Brahmo Samaj

In 1884 Rabindranath Tagore is appointed Secretary of the Adi Brahmo Samaj. Founded in 1861, with the publication of Hemendranath Tagore’s “Brahmo Anusthan” (or Brahmo Code of doctrine and practice), Adi Dharm refers to the religion of Adi Brahmo Samaj the first development of Brahmoism.

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Suicide of Kadambari Devi

21st April 1884

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).

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The First Meeting of the Indian National Congress

28th December 1885

The First Meeting of the Indian National Congress

The first meeting of the Indian National Congress is held from 28th to 31st December 1885 in Bombay. It was formed as a voice of Indian opinion to the British government.

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Birth of Tagore’s First Child ‘Bela’

25th October 1886

Birth of Tagore’s First Child ‘Bela’

Rabindranath and Mrinaiini’s first child Madhurilata, nicknamed Bela, is born in Jorasanko. Tagore was twenty six years old while her mother Mrinalini was thirteen.

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Rabindranath Presents Song at Second Annual Indian National Congress

28th December 1886

Rabindranath Presents Song at Second Annual Indian National Congress

At the inaugural session of the second annual conference of the Indian National Congress held in Calcutta (now Kolkata). Rabindranath sings the song – Amra milechhi aaj mayer dakey.

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Queen Victoria Becomes Empress of India

1st January 1887

Queen Victoria Becomes Empress of India

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

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Birth of Son Rabindranath Junior

27th November 1888

Birth of Son Rabindranath Junior

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.

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Publication of Bisarjan and Manasi

1st January 1890

Publication of 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.

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Journey to England, Italy and France

22nd August 1890

Journey to England, Italy and France

From 22nd Aug 1890 Rabindranath Tagore travels to England and stays there from August to September 1890. He visits the British Parliament and notes the bustle of English life.

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Tours of North Bengal and Orissa Estates

1st January 1891

Tours of North Bengal and Orissa Estates

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

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Birth of Third Child Renuka Devi

1st July 1891

Birth of Third Child Renuka Devi

Renuka Devi was one of Rabindranath’s daughters. She died when she was only thirteen years old. According to Kripalani, Tagore was very attached to Renuka (or Rani, as she was called), who “was a remarkable girl with a will of her own”.[1] In 1901, when Renuka was ten and a half years old, her father married her to a husband she had never met.

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Tagore Writes Sonar Tari

1st December 1891

Tagore Writes 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.

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Summer at Santiniketan

20th June 1892

Summer at Santiniketan

Rabindranath Tagore spends the summer in Santiniketan.

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Birth of Daughter Mira

12th January 1894

Birth of Daughter Mira

Mira Devi (also called Atasi), Rabindranath’s daughter, was born on 12 January 1894. On 6 June 1907, when Mira was thirteen years, she was married to Nagendranath Ganguli (Gangopadhyay). They had a son called Nitindranath (Nitu) (1912- 32), who was Tagore’s only grandson, and a daughter named Nandita, born in 1916.

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Rabindranath Becomes Editor of Magazine Sadhana

1st December 1894

Rabindranath Becomes Editor of Magazine Sadhana

Sadhana journal, first appeared in the month of Agrahayana, 1298 BS (December 1891) and continued for four years. Though the name of Sudhindranath (1869-1929), the third son of dwijendranath tagore, appeared as the editor for the first three years, in reality rabindranath tagore (1861-1941) was the main force behind it. In the fourth year, Rabindranath became editor. After a year, the journal ceased publication (Kartik, 1302 BS).

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Rabindranath Writes Chitra

1st January 1896

Rabindranath Writes Chitra

In 1896 Rabindranath writes Chitra, a one-act play which was later to be published in English in 1913 by the India Society of London. The play adapts part of the story from the Mahabharata and centers upon the character of Chitrangada, a female warrior who tries to attract the attention of Arjuna.

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