A Brahmo Hindu from Calcutta with ancestral gentry roots in Burdwan District and Jessore, Tagore wrote poetry as an eight-year-old. At the age of sixteen, he released his first substantial poems under the pseudonym Bh?nusi?ha ("Sun Lion"), which were seized upon by literary authorities as long-lost classics. By 1877 he graduated to his first short stories and dramas, published under his real name. As a humanist, universalist, internationalist, and ardent anti-nationalist, he denounced the British Raj and advocated independence from Britain. As an exponent of the Bengal Renaissance,
he advanced a vast canon that comprised paintings, sketches and
doodles, hundreds of texts, and some two thousand songs; his legacy also
endures in the institution he founded, Visva-Bharati University.