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On May 7, 1861, Rabindranath Tagore, India’s first Nobel laureate, was born in Kolkata. He was a poet, playwright, composer, philosopher, social reformer, and painter in addition to being a poet. Tagore was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913, and the second non-European after Theodore Roosevelt, for Gitanjali, his best-known collection of poetry.

Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature “for his profoundly sensitive, fresh, and beautiful verse, by which he has consummately skillfully made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of Western literature.”

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Is it true that Rabindranath Tagore returned the Nobel Peace Prize?

On the 157th anniversary of Tagore’s birth, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said, “Rabindranath Tagore had returned his Nobel prize in protest against the British.”

This is not the case. The Nobel Prize for Literature was not returned by Rabindranath Tagore.

In 1919, he renounced the title of Knight in protest of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

Rabindranath Tagore was a poet who turned down the title of knight.

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In 1915, King George V knighted the Bengali poet; however, after the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre, he revoked his knighthood.

In a letter to Lord Chelmsford, the then British Viceroy of India, Tagore renounced the knighthood, writing, “We are convinced that the disproportionate severity of the punishments meted out to the unfortunate people, as well as the methods used to carry them out, are unprecedented in the history of civilised governments… The time has come when badges of honour make our shame glaring in their incongruous context of humiliation, and I, for one, wish to stand alongside my countrymen, stripped of all distinctions.”

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The Nobel Peace Prize was stolen from Rabindranath Tagore.

Tagore’s Nobel medal and citation, as well as several other personal belongings of the poet, were stolen from the Visva Bharati University museum in Santiniketan’s safety vault on March 25, 2004.

The Swedish government presented the Visva-Bharati University with two gold and bronze replicas of Tagore’s Nobel Prize in December 2004.

Pradip Bauri, a baul singer from West Bengal’s Birbhum district, was arrested in November 2016 on suspicion of being involved in the theft. The theft was masterminded by a Bangladeshi national named Mohammed Hossain Shipul, and two Europeans were also involved.

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