First Indian to be Honoured with Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize is a prestigious award given every year to those who make exemplary contributions to the world in their field of work.

It was first launched in 1901 in the name of Alfred Nobel, Swedish businessman and the inventor of dynamite. He contributed all his wealth to the fund which gives the prize to deserving scholars.

This year’s Nobel Prize for different categories was announced yesterday. On this occasion, let’s revisit the time when an Indian received the Nobel Prize for the first time.

In 1913, Rabindranath Tagore, the legendary poet, playwright, writer and thinker from Bengal became the first Indian to win a Nobel Prize. He also became the first non-European to win a Nobel Prize. He was awarded the prize in the category Literature.

It is said that he received the prize largely for Gitanjali, a book on his collection of poems.

As per the Nobel Prize website, Tagore was given the Nobel Prize “because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West.”

Tagore was born on May 7, 1861 in Kolkata and was lovingly called Rabi as a child. His mother passed away when he was a child so he was raised by servants. Since his childhood, Tagore avoided classroom education and preferred to roam around the cities.

As an 11-year-old boy in 1873, Tagore travelled with his father around the country. He examined the poetry of classical Sanskrit author, Kalidasa. He married Mrinalini Devi in 1883 and had five children with her.

He established a school named Shantiniketan close to the Bolpur city of Bengal which adopted a unique curriculum and became a prominent centre for arts and literature.

The work of Rabindranath Tagore was originally in Bengali but he rewrote it in English. His inspirational work received wide acclaim in English.

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