Not many people know that Nobel laureate and revered poet Rabindranath Tagore Ji was inspired by Sikhism and the valour of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji so much that he wrote three beautiful poems titled ”Gobind Guru”, ”Veer Guru” and ”The Last Lesson” on Guru Sahib.
He has also written a composition titled ”Bandi Veer” about Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and an essay on Guru Nanak”s Sacha Sauda at the age of 21 years for a Bengali children”s magazine called ”Balak”. Isn’t it amazing – Banda Bahadur never set foot in Bengal, but Tagore’s work enshrined his name in Bengali literature.
I read in a book that Rabindranath Tagore had studied the Sikh Religion deeply and was very impressed by the splendid philosophy of Sikhism and the Sikh way of life. The fact that he returned his Knighthood back to Britishers hen the ‘Jallianwala Bagh Massacre’ took place shows how much respect he had for Sikhs and how deeply he was pained at the way Sikhs were treated.
I feel that Tagore must have bonded with Sikhism from his childhood days when he visited Amritsar with his father. Marinating in the peaceful ambiance of Sri Harmandir Sahib must have cemented his bond with the Sikh legacy. One can even see the impact of Gurbani in Tagore’s own poetry like –
“Jodi e amaro hridaya –
duaro bandha rahe go
Kabhu dwar bhenge
Tumi asho, more prané,
Phiria jao na, Prabhu!”
I want to tell people that the inspirational poem on Banda Singh Bahadur written by Rabindranath Tagore is taught in Bengali schools. Ironically, it has never been translated into Hindi or English or even Punjabi and is not a part of school curriculum in North India!
As I get ready to visit West Bengal, I pay tribute to the great poet and social reformer of India. His legendary work and beautiful compositions are timeless treasures of our nation.