The reasons for rejecting the knighthood of Tagore

The reasons for rejecting the knighthood of Tagore

Question: Discuss the reasons for Tagore’s rejecting or renouncing knighthood.

Or, discuss Tagore as a patriot.


Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) is the greatest literary figure in the history of Bengali Literature. He wrote a letter to the erstwhile British imperial general Lord Chelmsford rejecting his title ‘knighthood’ given him in 1915. The writer has shown a number of reasons for renouncing his title which prove him as a vehement patriot.

Protest against massacre

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place on 13th April 1919. It is also known as the Amritsar massacre. A huge number of people were killed by the British army in Amritsar of Jallianwala Bagh of Punjab without any specific reason. The people gathered on the occasion of Pahela Boishakh and these disarmed and poor people were killed. All walk of people of India became united and stood against this inhuman brutality. Tagore also protested by rejecting his title given by the British government. He was perfect and accurate and is now considered a vehement patriot because of his such decision.

Inequality between the British and Indians

Rabindranath Tagore who is a master of using crafty language has mentioned in his essay written in form of a letter that the British government has created a big gap between the Indians and British people. The British government has given a huge punishment to the Indians on a trifling matter such as local disturbance of Punjab but on the other hand, the British are enjoying a flawless life in India. Such inequality has forced him to reject his title.

“The punishments inflicted upon the unfortunate people and the methods of carrying them out, we are convinced, are without parallel in the history of civilized government.”

Political inexpediency

This is one of the reasons for which Tagore renounces his ‘knighthood’. The essayist believes that the government has lost all kinds of political expediency because of neglecting the agony of the Indians. The authority has not shown any moral justification to the Indians too. Rather, the culprits have been congratulated and rewarded. Therefore, he could not hold his title given by a despotic government.

“the universal agony of indignation roused in the hearts of our people by our rulers- possibly congratulating themselves for what they imagine as salutary lessons.”

Click Here: For All Notes Of Essay

Role of media

The hateful role of media is another cause of Tagore’s decision. He mentions that the powerful Anglo-Indian papers have made fun of the pains and sufferings of the Indians. The media has praised the cruelty and callousness of mass killing. So, Tagore rejects his title because of having a humanitarian heart.

Government’s indifference to justice

Justice means good governance which is excellently not presented in the British authority. The appeals of the Indians have been suspended by the government. The authority is revengeful that has blinded the nobler visions of the government. So, there is no reason for a title provided by the British. Thus, Tagore proves to him that he is also with his countrymen not with the British.


In termination, it is obvious that Tagore’s rationality, humanity, and patriotism have well been expressed in his letter. The transparent reasons are well enough to reject ‘knighthood’ that is really an expression of patriotic zeal.

Ruhul Huda
Ruhul Huda

You can call me Mr. Huda. I am a researcher and doing this work for years. I like to learn everywhere. So, feel free to share your experience with me.

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