TEACHERS AND BUILDERS
All of you know our national anthem, Jana gana mana. How many of you know who wrote it? A great poet called Rabindranath Tagore wrote it.
Rabindranath was born in Calcutta. His father, Devendranath, was a wealthy and very wise man. People respected him greatly and called him Maharshi. Rabindranath was not only a poet but also a man of vast learning and goodness.
The whole country respected him and called him Gurudev. Rabindranath started writing poetry when he was a very young boy. What he wrote was so beautiful that well-known writers of the day were full of admiration for him. One of them, the famous novelist, Bankim Chandra Chatterji, once took a garland that had been put round his neck and gave it to Rabindranath. He said that it was more fitting that the garland should sit upon Rabindranath, the rising sun. Rabindranath was only a boy when this happened.
Rabindranath wrote not only poetry, but plays, dance-dramas, stories, novels and thoughtful books in Bengali and English. He was a great lover of all the arts. He wrote numerous songs, composed music for them, and sang them in his melodious voice. In later years, he also became a painter.
What kind of thoughts did this great man have? Earlier you have read about many great writers and thinkers who wanted our people to change for the better, to shake off their laziness and make their country as great as it had been. Tagore came after these thinkers, but he expressed his thoughts with such force and beauty in his writings that the whole country felt a new wave of enthusiasm. Tagore's books were translated in all the Indian languages and began to be read in all parts of the country. Thousands of people became his followers.
His fame spread all over the world. Through his beautiful poetry people in other countries became aware of the richness of India's mind. A famous prize, which is given to the world’s outstanding authors and scientists, the Nobel Prize, was awarded to Rabindranath Tagore.
Tagore wanted India to become great, but he believed that India could not become great by herself. He was convinced that India should take what is best from other countries also. He wanted people to love not only their own countrymen but also all mankind. That is why he is called an internationalist.
Tagore was not satisfied only with writing songs and books. He built a university called Santiniketan where fine arts and other subjects were taught in the way he thought was best suited to India. Tagore also believed that our villages should be cleaner, better and happier. He built another institution, Sriniketan, to work for village uplift.
Rabindranath Tagore lived to be eighty-one years old. He not only was a sage, but looked a sage, with his majestic figure and his flowing silvery beard. Gandhi was very fond of him, and the two regarded each other as brothers.
Another famous poet who sang of the greatness of India was Muhammad Iqbal. He wrote in Urdu and Persian. Many of you must know his famous Urdu song, Sare jahan se accha Hindostan hamara, which means, “Fairer far than all the world is Hindustan, this land of ours.”
MADAN MOHAN MALAVIYA
You have already seen that in the year of the Great Revolt, three universities were started in India. In course of time more universities were set up. There was a well-known scholar who believed that the only way in which the nation could stand on its own feet again was through education. This man was Madan Mohan Malaviya. He collected lakhs and crores of rupees and with this money he founded the Banaras Hindu University. Madan Mohan Malaviya was a great patriot and became the President of the Congress.
One of the people who helped Madan Mohan Malaviya to set up the Banaras Hindu University was Annie Besant. Although born in Britain, Annie Besant made India her home. She read all the religious books of our ancient sages. She said that there was good in every religion, and the best should be taken from all religions. The faith, which Annie Besant practised, is called theosophy. Theosophy influenced a large number of Indian leaders of her time.
Annie Besant felt that the British had been unjust to India and she demanded that India should rule itself. For such beliefs she was even put in jail. Annie Besant also became a President of the Congress. She died in India at the age of 87.
JAGADISH CHANDRA BOSE
You have heard of many leaders, writers, and educationists. But a country cannot progress very far without scientists. One of our famous scientists was Jagadish Chandra Bose. He was three years older than Tagore, and like Tagore he was respected all over the country. Jagadish Chandra Bose was a scholar in physics, and did much work on the wireless. Later he came to be greatly interested in plant life. He made the discovery that plants not only needed food, sunlight and air, like all human beings, but that they also had feelings just like people.
Another famous scientist of modern India was P. C. Ray. His special subject was chemistry. He is remembered for the research work he did and for his great love for his country. You have heard of the swadeshi movement. P.C. Ray taught that we should use only things made in India.
Two other scientists from the southern part of India also won fame all over the world Ramanujan and C.V. Raman.
Ramanujan never passed any university examination. He was only a clerk in an office, but he was a brilliant mathematician. He could solve sums, which even the leading professors of the world could not. His genius came to be recognized and a British University invited him. Ramanujan was in poor health. He died soon after going to England. He was still a young man when he passed away.
C. V. RAMAN
C. V. Raman is another famous name in science. He started life as an accounts officer in Government service but soon gave up his job to devote himself to physics. He taught first in Calcutta, and then in Bangalore. C.V. Raman also won the Nobel Prize, the second Indian to do so.
A country becomes great only if its people learn more and do more. Indian leaders thought that just as we needed more colleges, we also need more factories. It was not right to depend on foreign countries for the goods that we wanted. By making them within India our people could get jobs and our money would stay within the country. One of the most famous people who set up mills and factories was Jamshedji Tata. He wanted India to produce steel and it is because of his efforts that we now have the great steel mill at Jamshedpur.
These poets, scholars, scientists, and teachers gave our people pride and hope. India had been great in the past and she could be great again if her people were prepared to learn and work. All these great people helped us to become a free nation.