Rabindranath was married in 1883, at the age of 22 when his wife Bhabatarini (renamed Mrinalini ) was 11. Their first child a daughter, Madhurilata (Bela) was born in 1886 and the second child , Rathi on 27th Nov 1888 at Jorasanko.Madhurilata (Bela) and Rathindranath had their early education at Jorasanko from Abinash Basu, a Kindergarten trained teacher, and his wife.
Now Rabindranath decided to bring them to Selaidah for schooling because he had no faith in Indian Schools. He brought all of them to lead a family life in a lonely village, Selaidah, from the luxurious building at Jorasanko and started a residential school at Kuthibadi, Selaidah for his children in 1898 while a school building was being constructed in Santiniketan, a centre for culture of Brahma Vidyalaya (the first name of the present Viswa Bharati University). He appointed three teachers there;
1. For English ; Allen Lorence,
2. For Mathematics; Jagadananda Roy,
3. For Sanskrit; Sibdhan Vidyarnab.
He himself devoted much time for bringing up his own children.
After three yrs. Rabindranath established a school, Brahmacharyashram, at Santiniketan at his father’s ashram on 22nd Dec,1901 with five students and five teachers, one of them being his son, Rathindranath, The five students were renamed as ;
Satyabrata, Abhoybrata, Punyabrata, Mangalbrata, and Brahmabrata. They had to pray at least once in a day and recite Gayatri Mantra.
The teachers are;
1.Brahmabandhab, 2. Reba Chand, 3, Sibdhan Vidyarnab, 4. Jagadananda Roy, and 5. Allen Lorence.
Brahmabandhab didn't take classes regularly. He frequently went to Calcutta and while he stayed at Shantiniketan he simply advised Rabindranath on how to enforce discipline in the School. Within 4/5 months, Brahmabandhab resigned and a graduate teacher, Monaranjan Bhattacharya, joined as Headmaster. Rabindranath wrote to Pravat Kumar Mukhopadhyay that within few days the number of students rose to 12 and for this increase of students extra teachers and increased accommodation became necessary. A boarding house was constructed for the accommodation of students.
At first the school was free but the fees for foo ding and lodging were charged from July 1902, after about six months.
Rathindranath being a founder student of Santiniketan, we get important information from him. He mentioned that Jagadananda Roy could explain difficult science topics in a very simple manner, though his mind was very soft and could not bear simple punishment given to a student. Rebachand taught English well but was very strict. He was a good cricket player and wanted to implement discipline of a cricket game which Rabindranath did not like. The building planned by Balendranath and constructed later was a single storied building with one hall room which was partitioned into three. At one end there was teachers accommodation and at the other end it was students hostel. The middle portion was meant for class room.
He described the daily routine of the students.
Usually the students got up from bed at half past five and went for their morning duties. As there was no sanitary latrine they had to go to Bhubandanga Dam where they finished their Mathkara (popularly known term, even at present) and came to their hostel after bathing in the dam..
They had to put on aprons of different colours based on their castes. but after a few days distinction of castes were removed and all of them put on orange (garua) apron as their school dress. Rathindranath said that it helped them to hide their dirty and torn clothes. They had their usual breakfast as Halua made up of suji.
Rathindranath and Santosh Kumar Majumdar were the students of the school at Shantiniketan reading in Class X (Entrance Exainaion). But the school was not affiliated to the Calcutta University upto the standard of Entrance Examination. For that they had to sit for the examination as a private student. Their test examination for sitting in the entrance exam. would be held separately in District level to be organised by the authorities. As because Jagadananda Roy was having his residential place in Krishnanagar, Rabindranath wanted that they should sit for the test exam. in Krishnanagar. Rabindranath wrote to Manoranjan Bandopadhyay at the end of the month "Kartick' that the arrangement for them for sitting in the exam. might be done aat Krishnanagar.
Accordingly Manoranjan, Jagadananda, Rathindranath and Santosh Chandra, all of student class X, along with an attendant came to Calcutta on 9th January, 1903 and went to Krishnanagar to sit for test exam.
At this Rabindranath wrote to Manoranjan that he was satisfied to learn that they had a good healthy accommodation there in Krishnanagar and Jagadananda Roy might be able to arrange for their food.
Rathindranath deposited his fees of Rs. 10/- as his fee for Entrance exam. on 19 January which Rabindranath intimated to Manoranjan Bandopadhyay
Manoranjan Bandyopadhyay came to Santiniketan, Brahmmacharyashram as a teacher to help Rathindranath in his preparation for Matriculation Examination. But he resigned from his duty as a teacher and left the school before the examination of Rathindranath started. Rabindranath wrote him on 25 Feb, 2003,
"You have joined the Brahmavidyalaya as a Head Teacher since the opening of the school. You have resigned on the ground of your health and I could not stand in your way. I have no other way to express my gratitude to you for the trouble you have taken with your efficient teaching capacity to make ready for final examination of the two students of the school to sit for the Matriculation examination."
It was not expected that Rathindra and Santosh could appear in the examination this year and it was you who made Rathindra ready for examination within a year and made Santosh ready for examination in less than a year time. I had gathered faith in you for your sincerity and efficiency as a teacher for the quality you possess. If opportunity comes again I would ask you to join.
The entrance examination of Rathindranath started from 2 March and for that he came to Calcutta on 25th ,February,1903. Informing this Rabindranath wrote to Priya Nath Sen that Rathi had come to Calcutta
"Because the growth of this school was the growth of my life and that of a mere carrying out of my doctrines, its ideal changed with its maturity like a ripening fruit that not only grows in its bulk and deepens in its colour, but undergoes change in the very quality of its inner pulp."
After passing the Entrance Examination in first division in 1903 , Rathindranath was preparing for higher studies independently with the help of some teachers of Santiniketan.This way he undertook lessons from Satish Chandra Roy. He also took lessons in English literature from Mohit Chandra Sen who got a role in the theatre for the 3rd time.
Rathindranath gave a funny story about his acting.
Satish Babu read the drama, 'A midsummer's night dream' written by Shakespeare and thought to stage it. With tremendous excitement we jumped onto it. It was decided that none should be left out.The role of ' Mr.Wall' was given to our Mathematics teacher Jagadananda Roy because there was very little dialogue in this role.
"In this same interlude thus befall that I ..." uttering this Jagadananda Babu looked vacantly to the other actors present on the stage, hoping that if anyone gives him the proxy After lapse of some more time he could remember the portion of the dialogue --. he began to say,
" And thus have I, Wall, my/ part discharged so...", completing his dialogue he quickly got his exit and the audience and spectators burst into laughter.
Though Jagadananda Roy failed performing his first acting but subsequently he showed his talent in drama.
After going to Puri, Mazaffarpur and Himalaya he came back to Santiniketan and fell ill. Rabindranath took him to Calcutta on 11 July..
Rabindranath wrote in his book "My School",
"Fortunately for me I had a place ready to my hand where I could begine my work. My father, in one of its numerous travels, had selected this lonely spot as the one suitable for his life of communion with God. This place, with a permanent endowment, he dedicated to the use of those who seek penance and seclusion for their meditation and prayer. I had about ten boys with me when I came here and started my new life with no previous experience whatsoever." ( Rabindranath Tagore, 'My School' reprint, London, Macmillan.)
Literary work of Rabindranath was as usual, not only in writing poetry, he wrote one novel 'Noukadubi'. In fact, in his early youth he had been to Gazipur and his happy remembrance had been described here nicely.
He also mentioned his concern in the letters written to Kunjalal and Satish Chandra Roy. The letter written dated 5.4.1903 by Satischadra was important as it contained the methods of teaching of the ideals of Brahmacharyashram and how he was applying them in Santiniketan. He wrote,
" the students were, now, absorbed in literature. According to their choice Hembabu's poems were better than that of Michael Babu's.I read before them the similar poetry when I used to teach them a poetry........I didn't prescribed anything about philology."
Ranbindranth's method of teaching was also like that of Satish Chandra. He liked Satish Chandra for that reason.
Santiniketan was declared closed due to excessive heat of the Summer. Keeping Rathindra and some other students of the school after the vacation under the charge of Satish Chandra Rabindranath decided to go to Almorah with Renuka who was suffering from Tuberculosis. He wrote to Srish Chandra that after passing the Entrance examination Rathi would be sent to Japan for training in Mining or would be sent to some other places for training in the subject with practical classes.My intention was to make him trained in some technical subject which he would teach the students of Santiniketan. Santosh also coul;d be sent for similar purpose. Expenses for this training was not much, only rs. 60/- per month. There was facilities for being trained in any subject. He again wrote that he was thinking about the accomodation Rathi should be provided to make him sit for F.A, examination.He was asking Subodh to bring the information about the feasibility of sitting for the examination, privately, from Bolpur.But he could not get information till now. If it was possible to sit for the examination from Bolpur, then it would be better. Moreover, Santosh and Rathi would read together. After three years both of them were sent to America for being trained in Agriculture. Before that they were trained in Santiniketan with special attention.
Rabindranath informed Manoranjan Bandyopadhyay his latest decision. He was happy to see that arrangements could have been done For Raathi to study from Santiniketan. He gave up the temptation of getting Rathi graduate because he had other plan for Rathi
Even after he had gone to Almorah with his ailing daughter Renuka,, Rabindranath could not get himself free from thinking about the school and Rathindranth. He wrote to Manoranjan Bandyopadhyaya,
"I've not yet settled about Rathi. But if I have to send him to Europe or America, it is useless for him to waste time by sitting for F.A examination. If he starts just now then during these two years he may proceed to some steps in his studies.Though he has no examination just now, his studies should not be neglected. So far as I know he is going on with his studies attentively."
He wrote to Satish Chandra, " I'm sure that the studies Rathi undergoing under your guidance are going on smoothly.Rathi's lesson in literature might be taken care by you and not by any other person. Not only in literature you can also teach him about humanity."
On the same day, Rabindranath wrote a long letter to Rathi also, " I hope that you are going on well with your studies and you are doing this with great care and discipline. ......."
Rathindranath and Santosh Chandra remained in Santiniketan during Summer vacation. This time they became very close to Satish Chandra. By this time Rathindranath acquired some brilliancy in Bengali, English and Sanskrit
Rathindranath and Samindranath came to Calcutta to see their ailing sister Renuka for the last time. After 9 days (14th Sept.) Renuka expired. The news was circulated to Bolpur and Phooltala, mother-in-laws house through telegraph. Rathindranath and Samindranath went to Bolpur well in ahead.
During winter vacation of the school at Santiniketan Rabindranath took Mira, Sami, Rathi, Santosh Chandra, and the teacher of the school Subodh Chandra Majumdar to Selaidah
Rathindranath, Santosh Chandra, and Dinendranath remained in the hostel under the guardianship of Satish Chandra. The scientist and poet Surendranath Moitra came to Santiniketan during this time. Rathindranath had drawn a beautiful painting as a memento to his father.
Rabindranath reached Calcutta on 5 Jan.
On 7th Jan he went to Selaidah with Mira, Sami, Rathindranath, Santosh Chandra and a school teacher Subodh Chandra Majumdar.
In the mean time the school teacher Manoranjan Bandyopadhyay who sat for BL exam. and had gone through the examination. The news of his success came to Selaidah via Santiniketan. At this Rabindranath said,
Two of your student Rathi and Santosh and Prof. Subodh were swimming in the river when I informed them the news . On hearing the news they were so delighted that they made the water of the river blown in twice the speed they were doing earlier.
Bhupendranath Sanyal joined the school as a teacher after the Puja vacation. Satyaranjan Basu wrote ,
' Narendranath Bhattacharya and Nagendranath Aich joined as professors in Selaidah (the school was temporarily shifted there). Naren Babu was a poet and an artist. He was a teacher of Bengali. Nagen Babu was teacher of drawing.'
Narendranath was an old teacher. This was his second time of joining here. But could not continue for long time.
Nagendranath Aich (1878- 1956) was a man of Khulna District, recently traind in Vernacular. He worked in a school for a long time.
Bhupendranath was a religious man. He was a real teacher in Brahmacharyasram and to implement the ideals of Rabindranath. His sacrifice was well known. He looked after the children as his son which was narrated by his beloved student in their autobiography. Rabindranath tried a new experiment with his help.When Rabindranath established the school , he preached them the spiritualism. Now he wanted to preach them the ancient ideals of India. They choose three of them , 1. Santosh Chandra, 2. Rathindranath,3. Sarojchandra (Bhola). Rabindranath, Mohit Chandra and Bhupendranath initiated them.
Bhupendranath wrote that they paid special attention to the three boys about their work and advised them about Brahmacharya. It was decided that these boys would lead an ideal life and will be in charge of the other boys to see that all would obey the same principle of Brahmacharya of thee ancient India
In another letter written to Sushila Devi, wife of Mohit Chandra, Rabindranath expressed his anxiety for his friend Mohit Chandra.He informed that the students were engaged for his nursing. If he was not cured then he would be brought in Jorasanko for his treatment.
In the opinion of Rabindranath 'journey to different places is a part of education.' He was remembering the journey to the Himalayas and the journey the ganges and Padma with his father.He also took Rathi to different places.Now Rathi had been given the facilities going round the world. Rathindranath and Dinendranath went to Calcutta from Selaidah and then they went to Puri. After their return Rabindranath sent him to Badrikasram under the guidance of Swami Sadananda of Ramkrishna Mission.
When he was at Calcutta, he went to the house of Jagadish Chandra where he met Nivedita who arranged him to meet Swami Sadananda who was going to Badrikasram with a few student. Rabindranath sent Rathindranath and Dinendranath with them.
this year Je Sano or Sano San, another Japani Carate teacher joined the school. Rathindranath and Santosh began to take lesson from him about Carate.
Rabindranath decided to send Rathindranath to America for getting him trained in Agricultural Science. He surely had started communication earlier with Urbano Agricultural College. The expenses for purchasing some emergency materials for going to America was found in the official cash book dated 25 Feb 1906. The farewell of Rathindranath and Santosh Chandra was arranged on 12 March at Santiniketan. They had some acquittance with Anushilan Samity after joining in the Movement for withdrawal of the order of "Division of Bengal". Jibantara Halder wrote ;"After few days RathinThakur, Nagen Ganguli and Santosh Majumdar started for America for getting themselves trained for "Introduction of National Education" in our country." A meeting was arranged at the central office (49 Corrnwallis Street) for bidding the farewell. Rabindranath was present on the occasion, delivered his welcoming address and took dinner with the members of the Samity."The autobiographer of Rabndranth wrote that Rathindranath and Santosh Chandra started for America via Japan in a steamer on 3rd April 1906
Rathindranath entering into practical field;
Rabindranth wrote another big letter to Satyaprasad (standing right) on 16 Kartick (2nd Nov 1909). the glorious persons those who rtayed in Maharshi Bhavan, Jorasanko, had gradually started to settledown in separate residence. Satyendranath, Gnanadanandini, and Jyotirindra lad left Jorasnko for long ago, Dwijendranath was staying, at present, in Santiniketan and for the last two decades Rabindranath living in Jorasanko off and on. The childrens of Dwijendranath and Hemendranath were staying there, buty they did not take the responsibility of the maitenance of the building at jorasanko. Satyprasad, as a estate manager, lived there with his mother, and his children and took the full responsibility. When he ,himself,wanted to go to Kashi-Allahabad, the area of his daughter's father-in-law, Rabindranath wrote him with broken heart;
"Let me open the true picture before you. I am not at all satisfied with your decision of leaving Jorasanko cutting off all the relations. For, number one, the relation with you is a life long bondage, which had been mingled with the bricks, walls etc , secondly, the relation that had been developed with you was depedable. In a word, Jorasanko is now almost empty. if you stay here, at least, it seems to be domestic building-my childrens too consider you as near and dear ones, they donot get any other person as you . If you leave , the house will appear as a rest house. Moreover Rathi has to live in villge for his work, then it will be difficult to say a dwelling place. For all these reasons, you are asked to stay so long as you can. It may by true that you have a family and that is not only these bricks and walls.If your relatives stay otherwise, then it is painful to keep you here. You will have to be relieved. jorasanko has become meaningless to us and if you will leave then that will be confirmed."
Satyaprasad was granted a pension of Rs.150/- only p.m.and he is getting his pension from the month of Paush.
Rabindranath was at Calcutta for some days. Rathi (Rathi returned back from America after successfully comleting his study on Sept, 1909), too was staying in Caclcutta. Rabindranath was busy to give charges of the main estate on 13th nov., 1909 and to make his own future plan and programme.On that day, he went to Patisar via Selaidah early in the morning with Rathi. He travelled with Rathi a long distance through boat to make Rathi , the new Zamindar, known with the tenant because they have some holdings in the district of Rajsahi. He had come to this place with Rathi earlier.
On the next day, Rathindranath wrote Nagendranath Gangopadhyay form the boat on the Padma;
"we again returned back from Kaligram by boat . My father was dropped at Goalanda . He went to Calcutta from that place on the day after tomorrow. He had to deliver a lecture at YMCA.
In the month of Paush from 17th, Rabindranath was at Calcutta for arranging negotiation for marriage of Rathindranath. This was known from a letter written by Jyotirindranath dated 4th Jan (20 Paush).
"Got a letter from Rabi - he requested me to remain present at the marriage ceremony of Rathi."
The marriage was settled with the widow daughter, Pratima Devi (5.11.1893-9.1.1969) of Binayini Devi and Seshendra Bhusan Chattopadhyay. Binayini Devi was the sister of Gaganendranath. After her birth Mrinalini Devi wanted her to be married with her son, Rathi.But as the Guardians were not willing to delay more, the negotiation did not proceed.She was married with the son, Nilnath, of Nirode Nath Mukhopadhyay, a classmate of Rabindranath, on Phalgun, 1310.But after two months, on Baisakh, 1311 Nilnath died suddenly by drowning in the Ganges.
In the context of marriage of Rathindranath, Pratima came, at first, in the mind of Rabindranath.Purnima Chattopadhyay, the daughter of Gaganandranath wrote,
"Rathikaka having come back from foreign, Rabidada said to my father, you ought to think of Pratima to get her married again. Ask Binayini not to disagree because Pratima has to pass so many days before her and it is very difficult ,at this age, to neglect all the temptations. Moreover, her parents are alive now, but after their death to live in the family of her brothers will be a difficult task.It is not at all desirable. Think, hat iit is better to get her married again.
My elder aunt said, 'I shallbe boycotted in the society then. I possess more children and has to get them married.'
My father said, 'don't be afraid, I'm always with you. If you are boycotted by society, I too shall boycot the society. But in this way, we cannot allow to go away with the life of our child Moreover, the groom is not an unknown person, He is our Rathi. Rabikaka likes to get him married with Pratima. Our child will remain in our house. Donot disagree. We have to take Pratima's opinion. She has to realise '
At the outset, she does not agree. My father made her agreeable after many trials.My father said, you think that it was a dream. Now you have to start a fresh.
Ignoring the then society My father get her married in his own house with his constant guard. There were many obstructions, but my father ignored all of them."
Jyotirindranar wrote in his diary, "I had talks with Samar and Gagan. It was encouraging. "
Rabindranath wrote to Nagendra residing in America, "Hope you know it ws a widow marriage. At first there were some problems, but ignoring them all were solved.
Yesterday I wanted to go to your place for handing over your invitation card of the marriage of Rathindranath. But I beecame tired after going to different places. My health too is not keeping well. Moreover,I could not get time before 11 Magh (24 Jan , he delivered a lecture at Maghotsab, Calcutta, on Biswabodh). Now it is very difficult to meet all the works about the marriage.Please don't take otherwise, if I am not able to invite you by presenting myself. I think, you also may not be able to attend the ceremony physically for your pre-occupation. But Arun should come. The marriage will be held on 14th Mag (27, Jan. 1910, at 9 pm. and the first eating rice of the new bride will occur on 17th Magh, at midday.)
On 14 Magh (27 Jan), at 9 pm Rathindranath (21years) was married with Pratima (16 years). Jyotirindranath wrote in his diary,
"This is the end of the marriage of Rathi...Pratima (bride) looks very beautiful -- her age is 16 only. This is the first incidence of a widow marriage in our family.The marriage took place at the house of Gagans."
To make the occasion remarkable Rabindranath dedicated his book, Gora, to Rathindranth mentioning the date on the book. On the same date Jagadish Chadra presented a copy of his book "Plant response as a means of Physiological Investigation" to Rathindranath.
On 17th Magh (30th Jan), Jyotirindranath wrote in his diary, " This is the day of first taking rice of the bride of Rathi. Lahorini and Nagendrabala of Harhkata Lane also came." Lahorini" Saratkumari Choudhurani presented a valuable gift to Rathindranath. Due to his economic stringency Rabindranath disposed off 'all his belongings for the development of Brahmacharyasrama, even the books of his own library', to different persons But he did not sell the golden pocket watch received by Rathindranath as a gift in his marriage ceremony. It was so nice that on putting on a switch, two doors became automatically open and within the cover the letters R.T. were inscribed.- This watch was once bought by Saratkumari Choudhurani from Rabindranath.
Rabindranath’s second child Rathindranath Tagore was his eldest son and was born on 27 November 1888. Rathindranath was married on 27 January 1910 to Pratima Debi (2nd from right). Pratima Debi was born in the year 1893. At the time of their marriage, Rathindranath was 21 years 2 months of age and Pratima Debi was about 17 years .
Pratima Debi was Gaganendranath and Abanindranath Tagore’s niece. (Her mother Binayini Debi was their sister). Before her marriage to Rathindranath, Pratima Debi had been married to Nilanath Mukhopadhyay but, was widowed later. Rathindranath and Pratima Debi’s marriage was the first instance of a widow marriage in the Tagore family
First rice taking ceremony of Pratima was held on 30th Jan, 2010 and Rabindranath handed over the charge of his family to her with a sum of Rupees 50/- as family expenses on 2nd Feb, 2010, just after 3 days she came to her father-in-law's house. Rabindranath wrote to his son-in-law, Nagendranath,
" Hope you have got the news of my daughter-in-law. Everybody likes her very much. It is Santi who is charmed and Dhiren (both are brothers of Nagendra) too is so. They are of opinion that this time her beauty surpassed that of Bela even. Not only in outward beauty, her behaviour is also sweet. Her face appears so calm that she looks gracious and erveryone becomes attracted."
In that letter, written to Nagendra, he described the duties alloted to Rathindranath. After the completion of his course Nagendranath might join in the same field of work. Rabindranath described him in details the socio-economic perspective of contemporary India.
" Now,our main duty is to try to develop the economic condition of the downtrodden of our society.If you want to be a co-worker of Rathi then there are ample scope. You can cultivate land in co-operation with the farmers, can open Banks, to build healthy dwelling place for them, to pay up their debt, to arrange for the education of their kids, to provide means of livelihood for their old age, to costruct roads and dams, to remove scarcity of drinking water, to fasten each other with bondage on the basis of co-operation, and so many similar works.If we became successful to form an ideal village of this type, then the whole country will get an example to do likewise. I did not find persons to do this type of basic work. Everyone wants excitement. There are very few persons for real work, for real sacrifice."