Ninety-five years ago, Rabindranath Tagore (May 7, 1861 – Aug. 7, 1941), a Bengali polymath, poet, musician and artist, made his second visit to Myanmar. He made his first visit in 1916 and his third and final visit in 1927.
Tagore received a red-carpet welcome on all of his visits. The governor of British India, Sir Spencer Harcourt Butler, hosted a lunch for Tagore on his second visit.
Myanmar politicians organized a welcoming ceremony at Jubilee Hall, and the Bengalis Association also welcomed him at Sooneran Hall in Yangon, then known as Rangoon.
Tagore stayed at a building that later housed the Guardian Newspaper on Merchant Street in Yangon. In honor of his stay, the building put up a plaque with an excerpt from one of his poems that read as follows:
“In Remembrance of the immortal Poet Rabindranath Tagore who during his sojourn in Rangoon stayed here on 24th March 1924.
Thou hast made me known to friends, whom I knew not
Thou hast given me shelter in houses not my own
Thou hast brought the distant near
And made a brother of the stranger.”
Tagore’s works have influenced Myanmar readers, and many were translated by famous Myanmar writers into Burmese.
Prominent Myanmar modern artist Bagyi Aung Soe studied at Shantiniketan’s Visva-Bharati University, which was established by Tagore.