Rabindranath Tagore & his famous friends

May 7, 2022

By Madhavi Pothukuchi

Rabindranath Tagore, India’s first Nobel Laureate, was a writer, poet and artist who changed how the world looked at India. Not much is known about his personal life, apart from his autobiographies, but we do know of his famous friendships. On his 161st birth anniversary, let’s look at some of his most celebrated friends.

Image source: Pexels

Mahatma Gandhi

Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi were unlikely friends. They respected and admired each other’s work despite disagreeing on many topics like politics, religion, and ethics.

Image source: Alamy

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein and Tagore first met on July 14, 1930 in Berlin. The scientist and the poet would go on to have one of the most intellectually stimulating conversations about philosophy and science, which was later published as a book, ‘Science and the Indian Tradition: When Einstein Met Tagore.’

Image source: Alamy

Helen Keller

Writer Helen Keller met Tagore in New York in 1930, while he was touring the US. She said, "Sitting beside Rabindranath Tagore and sharing his thoughts is like spending one's days beside the Sacred River, drinking deep of honeyed wisdom.” They remained friends after, too.

Image source: Alamy

Image source: Alamy

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose

Two of West Bengal’s most famous historical figures were good friends. Not surprising, but what was unexpected was their absolute polar opposite views on life, art, and politics.

Image source: Alamy

Victoria Ocampo

Victoria Ocampo was a prominent Argentinian writer, best known for her literary magazine ‘Sur’. She and Tagore met during his tour of South America when he stayed in Ocampo's family estate. They became close friends who would discuss literature and poetry.

Image source: Alamy

Jawaharlal Nehru

Rabindranath Tagore and the first Prime Minister of free India were good friends. They often met and spoke about the Independence movement, philosophy, and politics. 

Image source: Alamy

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