• Kumkum BhattacharyaEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Education book series (BRIEFSEDUCAT)


Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) spanned almost two halves of two centuries that stood as witness to change in India and the world on an unprecedented scale in almost all spheres of life was himself an architect of that change. He believed that the principal means of effective and sustained change would come through education, and therefore, it was important to think seriously and deeply about its nature and form. This chapter explores the forces that drove a world-renowned poet and also a prolific artist in his later life to take up the art and craft of education for more than half his life. Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913, the first Asian to be so honoured. We need to situate Tagore’s ideas in the light of the colonial rule. The core of Tagore’s educational ideas was built around the need for self-determination; strengthening the nation from the grass roots; the ‘universal man’; need for sensitivity to the aspirations, struggles and distress of his countrymen; and the need to resolve conflicts between the old (traditions) and the new (modern). The other core idea centred round his conviction that the beginning of education was best in mother tongue or the vernacular. His approach to education was both knowledge generation and dispensation. He was keenly aware of the need for appropriate and surplus reading material for students that he provided through his many writings. This chapter provides glimpses into the different phases of Tagore’s educational thoughts and their translation into institutions as well as the various practical measures that he adopted in order to sustain them.


Alternative education Self-determination Mother tongue and education Universal man 


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© The Author(s) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Visva-Bharati UniversitySriniketanIndia

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