Tagore sings12

There was once a little boy who was very beautiful to look at and very smart, with many talents. He was talented even at a tender age. His father was very rich and well-respected; he owned vast plots of land and had many, many servants. The little boy used to spend most of his time with the servants. He was the youngest in the family and they all adored him.

One day, the boy was singing a song that he had composed himself. The song expressed the idea that, “The eye cannot see You, although You are inside the eye. The heart cannot know You, although You are inside the heart.” He was singing it most soulfully, and the tune was simply excellent.

The father heard him singing from another room and was deeply moved. He asked his servants to go and bring the little boy to him. Then the father said to his youngest son, “Can you sing the song for me again?”

The boy didn’t often get the opportunity to come to his father, because the father was so great and very busy. He could not approach his father any time he wanted to. So although it was a great honour that his father had called him, he was also afraid of his father and he felt shy. The father said, “I am your father. Please don’t feel shy. Just sing the song that you were singing before, my child.”

The boy sang a few times and the father was so deeply moved that he entered into trance. When his trance ended, the father entered his office and wrote the boy a cheque for 500 rupees. In those days, 500 rupees for a child was really something. When he gave it to the boy he said, “In the past, the Mogul Emperors used to honour talented people with great gifts. Now the Mogul Emperors are no more. But your talent is so remarkable that I know you rightfully deserve honour from the king. Unfortunately there is no king here to honour you. But I am your father, and I am giving you 500 rupees.”

The son was so excited and delighted. He ran with the cheque and showed it to his servants. The servants lifted him up into the air. They were so proud that their little hero had become such a great poet.

Indeed, this heroic soul became the poet of poets. He became India’s greatest poet ever and won the Nobel Prize. Many people have got the Nobel Prize and many poets have been honoured, but in India he remains matchless. He composed about 1800 songs, many of which are sung all over India, including India’s national anthem, Jana Gana. Truly, Rabindranath Tagore was a creative genius who excelled in every field of the arts. In the latter part of his life he even took up painting. As poet, singer and playwright, he won love and respect not only in India but all over the world. He remains in the vanguard of poets for his lyrics, songs, plays and stories. India’s Tagore will eternally remain unique. In 1961, on his birthday, the whole world observed his centenary.

GIM 52. 15 January 1979