Friday, January 20, 2012

How Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize

Here is an interesting story on How Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Rabindranath Tagore {1861-1941}
  When in 1913, Thomas Sturge Moore, a member of the Royal Society of London sponsored Rabindranath Tagore {1861-1941} for the Prize; the Nobel Committee took it upon itself as a privilege to honor a great name that created ‘Gitanjali’ a collection of poems. 

  At the time, the committee was about to consider another candidate, a French literary historian and moralist Emile Faguet. But a written statement by a member of the Committee Verner von Heidenstam {1859-1940} worked wonders for Tagore.

Carl Gustaf Verner von Heidenstam
  Heidenstam wrote, “I read them with deep emotion and I cannot recall having seen for decades anything comparable in lyric poetry… and if ever a poet may be said to possess the qualities which entitle him to a Nobel Prize, He is precisely the man… we should not pass him by… the privilege has been granted us to discover a great name before it has time to be paraded for years up and down the columns of the daily newspapers. If this discovery is to utilized we must not delay and lose our chance by waiting another year.”

  This statement, evidently won enthusiastic support from hesitant members of the Committee, which, eventually won him the Prize in 1913 for his Gitanjali. His citation speaks, ‘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 literature of the West.’

            An excerpt from Gitanjali
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action...
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

  Thanks to Thomas Sturge Moore, who revealed his wisdom and foresight in sponsoring Rabindranath Tagore. Otherwise the finest gem in the field of literature would have been lost to the world.

  Rabindranath Tagore was the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize for his collection of poems called Gitanjali in 1913. And this Nobel Prize in Literature for Rabindranath Tagore was acclaimed in India with the greatest applause the world ever heard of.


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