Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was the youngest son of Debendranath Tagore, a leader of the Brahmo Samaj, which was a new religious sect in nineteenth-century Bengal and which attempted a revival of the ultimate monistic basis of Hinduism as laid down in the Upanishads . He was educated at home; and although at seventeen he was sent to England for formal schooling, he did not finish his studies there. In his mature years, in addition to his many-sided literary activities, he managed the family estates, a project which brought him into close touch with common humanity and increased his interest in social reforms.He also started an experimental school at Shantiniketan where he tried his Upanishadic ideals of education. From time to time he participated in the Indian nationalist movement, though in his own non-sentimental and visionary way; and Gandhi, the political father of modern India , was his devoted friend. Tagore was knighted by the ruling British Government in 1915, but within a few years he resigned the honour as a protest against British policies in India .
Tagore had early success as a writer in his native Bengal . With his translations of some of his poems he became rapidly known in the West. In fact his fame attained a luminous height, taking him across continents on lecture tours and tours of friendship. For the world he became the voice of India 's spiritual heritage; and for India, specially for Bengal, he became a great living institution.
Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore's Speech on 20th May 1934 at the founding of Sri Palee
My heart goes out to these simple people from the neighbouring villages and I feel Happy that I am not able to speak to them in their own language, but I hope that they will realize that they have my heartiest blessings and I wish them well. It reminds me of my own work in Bengal, this institution which you have started and I feel that this will be a channel of communication of hearts between your island and our institution in Bengal.It makes me feel so happy. This rural problem is a world problem, not merely your own national problem.And all over the world civilisation suffers from the lack of balance which has been
created through the predominance of towns which drives away life from the villages and the life is centralised in those big towns creating a sort of congestion which is not natural and is against nature. I believe that some of the great civilisations have perished owing to this.
In India in the olden days our civilisation rested upon the villages. Our culture did not desert the village. In fact this culture had its proper home there because the villages were the cradle of life and now the towns are substained and maintained by the villages. Their produce and their necessary raw materials is sold and we are prosperous. We have our education, our sanitation, and various other advantages for which we owe everything to the villages, and yet, how small is the return which we offer them. The return for all the services which they have rendered to the towns almost seems nothing and they are neglected. In the long run we shall pay for it. There is no doubt about it and that is why I feel so happy that you have started this institution which is a protest against the one-sided civilisation and the advantages one-sided and presently limited only to towns.