Strong female characters from Tagore’s tales, ahead of their times.

Tagore is one of the the greatest poets and authors from India, known for his deeply thoughtful creations. Here are 4 women characters from his stories, who defied the patriarchal norms of the society.  These were strong and free spirited women, icons of women empowerment. The challenges and issues they faced then, still remain in today’s ‘modern’ world.

Tagore’s tales are relevant to this day. These stories have later been adapted to cinema by some of the best directors of our times .


1. Binodini defies the norms of widowhood in the story  ‘Chokher Bali’:

Binodini  is a young girl who is left on her own when her sick husband dies soon after their marriage. As a widow, she enters the household of Mahendra and his wife Ashalata causing a lot of tensions. Soon, she is attracted to Mahendra, and  wins over him with her beauty and wits only to regret about it later. She finds true love in Mahendra’s friend Behari .

Choker Bali was also made into a film by Rituparno Ghosh.



2. Suman  defies the caste system in ‘Tyaag’:

Tyaag is a story about the Indian cast system and its interference in true love.Relevant in India, even in this space age, the story surrounds an inter caste marriage between a Kayastha orphan girl and a Brahmin boy, wherein the true caste is of the girl is kept hidden by her uncle. The girl refuses to accept the relationship based on lies. In the end, the boy proclaims that his love for his wife is important to him than his caste and background.

3. Charulata does not hesitate to convey her feelings in  ‘Nastanirh – A Broken Nest’:

The character of Charulata  married to a journalist, but is left lonely as he has no time for her.  She connects with  her brother-in-law through their shared passion for music and eventually the two fall in love.In the end, the brother in law moves away, and Charulata confesses her love, in front of her husband, leaving a  broken household (A broken nest as the name suggests)

A film based on Charulata with the same title, was made by Satyajit Ray and remains one of his finest works till date.

4. Mrinmoyee is the epitome of a free spirited woman in  ‘Samapti’:

Mrinmoyee is the free spirited girl who does everything the society would not want a bride-to-be to do. She is the tom-boy who climbs trees, plays cricket with a group of boys and refuses to wear jewellery. She cannot adjust to the societal norms of the girl adjusting after marriage, and question them.

A film based on ‘Samapti’ was made by Satyajit Ray as the final part of the ‘Teen Kanya‘ series.

teen kanya