Gitanjali is a collection of poems authored by Rabindranath Tagore. Originally written in Bengali, the poems were based on medieval Indian lyrics of devotion. Their translation to English in 1912 garnered wide popularity among European audiences.
The publication of Gitanjali in English led Tagore to become the first non-European to win a Nobel Prize for Literature. The committee summed up their reasons as follows:
because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West.
The award also gave rise to attacks from some literary figures, however. D H Lawrence argued that Tagore was a fraud and his idolisation was ‘disgusting’.
In spite of this, the negative responses were often overshadowed by Tagore’s apparent lionisation. Due to his early success as a poet, Tagore was able to tour continents with his work and became a close associate of intellectual powerhouses such as W B Yeats, Albert Einstein and Mahatmas Gandhi – bonding over subjects including music, art and the Indian nationalist movement.
 D H Lawrence to Lady Ottoline Morrell, quoted in Kripalani, Krishna, Rabindranath Tagore (Calcutta, 1980), p. 291.