My School By Rabindranath Tagore

About The Author
Rabindra Nath Tagore(1861-1941), a man of versatile genius, was an authority of art and literature. He always kept on burning the lamp of light and knowledge throughout his life. He won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913 for his poetical work Gitanjali. Besides his achievement in the field of verse, drama, essay, novel, dance, painting and music, his extraordinary genius can also be traced out in the aesthetic and poetic presentation of his short stories.

In 1900 he started a small school at Shanti-Niketan on the pattern of the ancient Indian forest schools where the pupils led simple lives and learnt the truths of life from Nature and their gurus. This school developed into a university called Visva-Bharti in 1921. In this extract from a lecture which Tagore delivered in America in 1915, he explains the circumstances in which he started his school. He has mingled his art and music in the present short story. He has also weaved his theme of social consciousness, social reality and spiritual issues through the medium of art and beauty. Like all his short-stories, the present story also bears the impress of his literary craftsmanship.

Summary of My School

The present story is an extract of a lecture that Tagore delivered in America in 1915. In it, he explains the circumstances in which he started his school. In 1900, he started a school at Shanti-Niketan. He was chiefly a writer and hence people doubted about its future. He was inexperienced in matters like this. His idea of the school was based on the pattern of the ancient Indian forest schools. He wanted to bring up his students in the atmosphere of living aspiration. He wanted his students to lead simple lives and learn the lessons of life from Nature and their teachers. Then students used to live in their master’s home. They were treated as the children of the house by their masters. The students were not expected to pay anything. That was the ideal education system.

Tagore started his school to provide his students with an intimate vision of eternal life. According to him the purpose of education must be the fullest growth and freedom of soul. Education should free man’s soul from the bondage of any kind. It should give us the wealth of inner light and love. It should give us spiritual wisdom. The object of education should be the eternal welfare. He pondered over it and found that the whole country was in need of such education. Tagore chose a place for his school in Bengal, which was dedicated by his father to the seekers of peace. Thus he started his school in the lap of nature with ten boys. Initially, he often went through a grave crisis. His resources were very small and he was greatly indebted. Contrary enough, his poverty itself gave him the full strength. In his ashram, there were disciples from all religions. It was free from any religious creed or dogma. In Shantiniketan, Tagore carried out his theory of education. It was based upon his experience of children’s minds. He believed in the power of the subconscious mind of children. As Tagore was nourished in the free atmosphere, he tried various experiments at his school. He was of the opinion that during the early period of education children should learn their lessons through natural processes. His students learnt singing, dramatic performances, drawing, painting and music directly through persons and things. To cultivate the spirit of ‘self-help’ and self-control was the motto of his school. It was totally a different school than any formal school.

Important Questions of My School

1. Where did Tagore start his school?
Ans. Tagore start his school in Bengal

2. What was not expected of Tagore?
Ana. To start a school.

3. What was the question often asked to Tagore?
Ans. The question was, “What was the idea upon which his school was based? ”

4. What, according to Tagore, is the ‘idea’ like?
Ans. The idea is more like a seed which cannot be separated and pointed out directly it begins to grow into a plant.

5. What, according to Tagore, is still cherished in memory in India?
Ans.The tradition of the forest colonies of great teachers.

6. What was the primary object of the ancient Indian schools?
Ans. Not teaching but giving shelter to those who lived their life in God.

7. Where did the students live during the ancient Indian schools?
Ans. In their master’s home like the children of the house.

8. What, according to Tagore, should the purpose of our education?
Ans. According to Tagore, the purpose of our education should be the fullest growth and freedom of soul.

9. What, according to Tagore, will emancipate us from the bondage of the dust and give us the wealth?
Ans. the ultimate truth

10. Which treasure do Indians inherit?
Ans.the treasure of spiritual wisdom


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