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Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-European to win a Nobel Prize for Literature. He has been called one of the outstanding thinkers of the 20th century and the greatest poet India has ever produced. His Nobel followed publication of Gitanjali, his English version of some of his Bengali poems. WB Yeats and Ezra Pound were great supporters. Tagore was born in Calcutta in 1861 and educated partly in Britain; King George V knighted him, but Tagore renounced this in 1919 following the Amritsar Massacre. A key figure in Indian nationalism, Tagore became a friend of Gandhi, offering criticism as well as support. A polymath and progressive, Tagore painted, wrote plays, novels, short stories and many songs. The national anthems of India and Bangladesh are based on his poems.


Chandrika Kaul
Lecturer in Modern History at the University of St Andrews

Bashabi Fraser
Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Edinburgh Napier University


John Stevens
Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow at SOAS, University of London

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

43 minutes


Chandrika Kaul at the University of St Andrews

Bashabi Fraser at Edinburgh Napier University

John Stevens at SOAS, University of London

The Bichitra Tagore Online Variorum

Rabindranath Tagore – Wikipedia



Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson, Rabindranath Tagore: The Myriad-Minded Man (first published 1995; I.B.Tauris, 2008)

Bashabi Fraser, A Meeting of Two Minds: Geddes-Tagore Letters (Word Power Books, 2005)

Krishna Kripalani, Rabindranath Tagore: A Biography (UBS Publishers’ Distributors Ltd, 2008)

Ashis Nandy, Return from Exile (first published 1999; Oxford University Press, 2004), especially his essay ‘The Illegitimacy of Nationalism’

Rabindranath Tagore (trans. William Radice), Gitanjali (first published 1910; Penguin Books, 2011)

Rabindranath Tagore, Gora (first published 1910; Sahitya Akademi, 2003)

Rabindranath Tagore (trans. Ketaki Kushari Dyson), I Won’t Let You Go: Selected Poems (first published 1992; Bloodaxe Books Ltd, 2010)

Rabindranath Tagore, Nationalism (first published 1917; Penguin Classics, 2010)

Rabindranath Tagore (trans. William Radice), Selected Poems (Penguin, 2005)

Rabindranath Tagore (trans. William Radice), Selected Short Stories (Penguin, 2005)

Rabindranath Tagore (trans. Joe Winter), The Golden Boat: Selected Poems (first published 1894; Anvil Press Poetry, 2008)

Rabindranath Tagore, The Home and the World (first published 1916; Penguin Classics, 2005)

Rabindranath Tagore, The Post Office (first published 1912; Kessinger Publishing, 2010)

Rabindranath Tagore, The Religion of Man (first published 1930; Martino Fine Books, 2013)

Rabindranath Tagore (ed. Uma Das Gupta), My Life in My Words (first published 2006; Penguin, 2010)



Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Chandrika Kaul
Interviewed Guest Bashabi Fraser
Interviewed Guest John Stevens
Producer Simon Tillotson


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