Here’s How School Dropout Rabindranath Tagore Established Visva Bharati University

Visva Bharati University, one of India’s most renowned universities, is celebrating 100 years of its formal establishment. It was founded in 1921 by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore who did not even complete his formal education. One of the country’s oldest Central universities was declared as an institution of national importance by an Act of Parliament in 1951. The Prime Minister of the country remains the chancellor of the university since 1951. In December last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the centenary celebrations of the university in Santiniketan in Birbhum district of West Bengal.

The renowned poet, writer and social reformer Tagore left for the heavenly abode on August 7, 1941. Today is his death anniversary.

Tagore, who founded this university, himself dropped out of school and college several times. He had never passed the matriculation examination. Despite this, Oxford University officials came to Santiniketan to give him a doctorate degree. Writer and poet Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.

Tagore was first admitted to the Oriental Seminary School in Calcutta (now Kolkata). At the age of 7 years in 1868 he decided that he will never go to school, a place where students are being punished and beaten with sticks. He dropped out of school only after a month of his admission.

In 1876, Tagore was admitted to St Xavier’s School. He could stay there for only six months and then left the school. But the good memories of this school always stayed with Tagore. In 1927, Tagore had presented a statue of Jesus Christ to the school.

Tagore was also given admission to Presidency College. However, he did not attend college after one day of his admission. Writers who wrote about Tagore believe that Tagore was dissatisfied with formal education, especially classroom teaching. He was of the view that education in an open environment is more accurate. He believed that studying within four walls closes the mind.

Though the Visva Bharti University was formally established in 1921, it was started in 1863 when Tagore was only 2 years old. Before the university came into formal existence, he founded Brahmacharyasram School in which classes were held in open air under the trees where man and nature entered into a harmonious relationship.

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