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Tagore, Jyotirindranath (1849-1925)  playwright, musician, editor and painter, was born on 4 May 1849 in the Tagore family at Jorasanko in Kolkata. debendranath tagore was his father, dwarkanath tagore his grandfather and rabindranath tagore his younger brother. He was educated at St Paul's School, Montague Academy and the Hindu School. After passing the Entrance examination from Calcutta College in 1864, he enrolled for FA classes at the Presidency College, but abandoned his studies for the stage. He formed a home theatre group and staged Krsnakumari and Ekei Ki Bale Sabhyata (Is this civilisation?) by madhusudan dutt. He was also instrumental in organising the hindu mela in Kolkata and wrote the opening song for the organisation in 1868. He was elected a secretary to the organisation in its ninth year of existence.



Jyotirindranath Tagore was influenced by western thought. He instituted a secret society called Sanjibani Sabha (1876) dedicated to the improvement of the country. He also pioneered the publication of the famous literary magazine bharati (1877) and worked as the vice-president of the vangiya sahitya parishad for a year (1902-1903). He was the organiser of the literary convention called Bidvajjan-Samagam (1874). He worked actively in a literary organisation called Saraswata Samaj (1882), dedicated to enriching Bangla language and literature.

Jyotirindranath is also noted as a writer. He has 46 volumes of published works to his credit, including translations. He wrote popular plays such as Purubikram (1874), Svapnamayi (Lady of Dream, 1882), Sarojini (1875), Ashrumati (Woman in tears), etc. His noteworthy satires include Alik Babu (Strange man, 1900), Eman Karma Ar Karba Na (I will never do such a thing again), etc. A few of his works have been translated into other Indian languages such as Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, etc and some of his plays have also been staged at the great national theatre.

Jyotirindranath is principally remembered for works that introduced French and Sanskrit literatures to Bangla-speakers. He translated stories, novels, poems, philosophical treatises, history volumes, and travel accounts from French into Bangla at a relatively young age. He also translated a number of Sanskrit plays into Bangla.

Another branch of art he excelled in was music. He was skilled in playing the Sitar, violin, harmonium, piano and other such instruments. He composed many songs in classical tunes and devised a means of musical notation. He composed love songs as well as patriotic ones. He published a volume of his songs as Swaralipi Gitimala (1897); Brahmasangit Swaralipi, compiled by Kangalicharan Sen, has also many songs written by him. Moreover, he earned fame as a composer. He founded the Bharatiya Sangit Samaj (Indian music society, 1897) to work on Indian music and founded two monthly music magazines called Vinavadini (1897) and Sangit Prakashika (1901).

Jyotirindranath was secretary to the Adi Brahmo Samaj (1869-88) and to Brahmodharmabodhini Sabha. He founded the Adi Brahmo Samaj Sangitvidyalay (School for Brahma songs) to make brahma sangit popular.

He was very adept in stage performance and painting. He selected some of his paintings for a volume which was published from London in 1914. Most of his 2000 paintings are now preserved in the Rabindra Bharati Samiti collection. He was also involved in businesses such as trading in jute, indigo and the running of a local steamer service.

Jyotirindranath was in the forefront of the movement for women's education and emancipation. He not only arranged for the education of his wife, Kadambari, but also taught her horse-riding in the public grounds of Kolkata, defying the conservative society of the time. He staged ramnarayan tarkaratna's Nabanatak, ridiculing the polygamy of Brahmins, at the Jorasanko auditorium. He died in Kolkata on 4 March 1925. [Shipra Dastider]



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