The Enchanting Friendship of Helen Keller and Rabindranath : A Beautiful Tale of Two Unwavering Souls

Dr. Sushil Rudra

The most beautiful and good things in the world cannot be seen or touched. They must be understood with the heart.” The words may not be unusual, as anyone of taste or knowledge can say. But if the words are from Helen Keller, they are perhaps even more thought-provoking.

Helen Keller Bio: Friendship of Helen Keller and Rabindranath

Full name Helen Adams Keller. He was born on June 27, 1880 in Alabama, USA. Father Arthur Keller, mother Kate Adams. Helen was born as one of five children with normal vision and hearing. Helen was born on June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama, USA.

  Father Arthur Keller was an officer in the military department. Raised in the love and care of her mother, Kate Adams, Helen was very restless as a child. But his excitement didn't last long. An unfortunate incident occurred in his life at the age of one year and seven months. 

Baby Helen suddenly fell from her mother’s arms in the bath. His mother discovered that her beloved child had completely lost his sight and hearing after being temporarily knocked unconscious by the injury.

   Desperate parents then seek refuge with the doctor. After many tests, the doctor said that the cause of his physical disaster was brain and stomach damage. And so baby Helen's power to speak, hear and see left her life forever. 

The parents tried many treatments and tried to restore the girl’s life, but her ability to speak, hear and see was lost. His parents contacted various doctors, none of whom could offer much hope.

         At the age of six, Helen's parents took her to the famous Washington scientist Alexander Graham Bell, whose name we know as the inventor of the telegraph. Graham Bell examines Helen and realizes that with a special training program, she can taste a normal life despite her disability. 

According to Graham Bell, Helen’s father accepted Helen into the Perkins Institute in Boston. The head of this department, Dr. Ho, was responsible for Helen’s education. After her sudden death, her most important friend and teacher – Ann Sullivan – entered Helen’s life.

Without seeing Anne, Helen began to learn about the world by touch. She explained the difference between the touch of light and the feeling of darkness.

She identified the liquid flowing in her hand as tap water. One by one, she got to know various pieces of furniture, tables, chairs, beds, etc. Little by little, Helen began to learn everything under Sullivan.

Helen began to learn to read through the Braille system invented by Luis. After a few years, Helen knew English, Latin, Greek, French and German. Later, he learned to write Braille on a typewriter.

At the age of 11, Helen began to practice speaking very persistently with a special method invented in Norway. Gradually, her speech became normal with treatment. At the age of 20, Helen entered Radcliffe College.

While studying at the university, he wrote his first autobiographical work, Optimism. After four years, he graduated with top marks. After the death of Dr. Bell in 1922, Helen entered Bell’s institution according to her last wishes. Working with blind children, Helen often visited schools with her teacher and colleague Ann Sullivan.

Dr. Bell loved Helen as his own daughter. Dr. Bell’s passion was travel. He followed Helen and Annie to Europe. This is the beginning of a new chapter in knowing the world.

Helen’s talent earned her unconditional love and respect from people in the countries she traveled. Thus, the number of his fans in the country and abroad continues to grow. From statesmen to ordinary people, everyone was mesmerized by the talent of this extraordinary woman.

. In the midst of all this, Helen got an offer from a director to act in a film. The name of the movie was ‘Deliverance’. Helen played the title role in this film about the irony of the cursed life of the visually and hearing impaired.

Helen had an amazing ability to enjoy music even though she was deaf and blind. Enjoyed music more than normal people. He could tell what kind of tune was being played by placing his hand on the instrument.

Singer-songwriters could easily tell what music was being sung by putting their hands on their voices. She had such an amazing ability that he could tell his identity by shaking hands with long-time acquaintances.

Despite being blind, he could sail a boat, swim in a river, play chess and cards. He could even sew!

Anne Sullivan breathed her last in 1936—Helen could not accept the loss of her beloved partner, temporarily broke down. But life doesn’t stop. World War II begins.

At the request of US President Roosevelt, Helen Keller used to visit war-affected sailors and soldiers in various hospitals. She used to tell them the message of peace and hope to return to life.

After the war, he started a global awareness movement for the hearing and visually impaired. Although deeply religious in personal life, he was progressive in political thought. He supported the American Socialist Party. Out of the Dark (1913) expresses his views against capitalist society and inequality.

In 1912 he joined the activities of the Industrial Workers of the World. An advocate of world peace, Helen also spoke out against America’s involvement in World War I. He was always vocal on various social issues like women’s suffrage, caste discrimination etc.

In 1950, a grand reception was held in Paris to honor Hélène’s fifty years of service. In 1959 he was awarded a special honor by the United Nations.

The name Helen Keller is a symbol of confidence to any person with a physical disability today. The example left behind by this noble woman shows that they are not helpless people who fall back on obstacles, they are ‘specially capable’.

Overcoming physical disabilities with perseverance and mental strength, Helen became a thoughtful-creative personality, as well as an inspiration to many ‘specially abled’ people.

Helen’s sense of touch was extraordinary. By placing his hand on the instrument, he could understand what tune was being played. She developed a wonderful relationship with the sound or sound waves.

She became a mysterious connoisseur of Western music even if he could not hear it! He established several associations and schools for visually impaired children by petitioning, collecting funds, giving speeches at various places.

The international organization called ‘Helen Keller International’ is still working for specially abled people. In 1977, the ‘American Association for the Overseas Blind’ was formed mainly in memory of her life and work.

Overcoming all obstacles, she was involved in various constructive activities for the society throughout her life, and also left her mark of talent in the field of literature.

Her notable works are ‘The Story of My Life’ (1903), ‘Let Us Have Faith’, ‘The World I Live In’ (1908), ‘My Religion’ (1927).

She had a good relationship with Rabindranath. When he met Helen in New York in 1930, the poet put his finger on her hand and ‘read’ his poem – we don’t know which poem. But don’t you want to think, maybe the poet wanted to hear him “And let me see in the darkness”, or “I saw in the light of the eye outside the eye…”!

Poets like Langston Hughes wrote poems about him; Another world famous writer Mark Twain referred to Helen Keller as ‘Miracle Worker’ in his writings. The movie that was made about this noble woman in 1962 was also called ‘The Miracle Worker’.

Anne Bancroft played the role of Anne Sullivan in this film. And Petty Duke played the title role. When the film was ‘remade’ in 1979, the actress reprized the role of Anne Sullivan, Helen’s teacher and companion.

And in India, Rani Mukerji and Amitabh Bachchan’s performances are remembered in the famous film ‘Black’, based on the life of a fictional character like Helen. The performance speaks as if it were the image of a poem written by Helen Keller-

‘What might have been my sight, they took away, But I remember Milton’s paradise,
What could have been my hearing, they took away, yet Beethoven came and wiped away my tears.
What might have been my voice, they took away, But when I was young I talked to God,
So I believe, He will not allow them to take away my soul.

Social Works : Friendship of Helen Keller & Rabindranath

Helen strives to create social awareness and public support for the hearing and visually impaired people in the society. He also achieved great success in this. During his lifetime, he received the support of all the presidents of the United States and famous people like Alexander Graham Bell, Mark Twain, Charlie Chaplin.

Helen founded an international company called Helen Keller International in 1915 with George Kessler. The organization is still working for the hearing and visually impaired.

When World War II began in 1941, at the request of US President Roosevelt, Helen Keller would visit the war-affected sailors and soldiers in various hospitals and preach peace and hope. After the war, he tried to build a worldwide movement for the hearing and visually impaired.


Helen has also written on political issues. Helen was a supporter of the American Socialist Party. She joined there in 1909. She wanted to see equitable distribution of income.

Her desire was to see the end of the inequality of the capitalist social system. In her book ‘Out of The Dark’ she has written different essays on this subject.

He received the support of Eugene V Debs in every presidential election. In 1912 he joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Helen was a Pacifist and was against America’s involvement in World War I.

Literary works

The number of books written by him is 12. Major books are The Story of My Life (1903), Let Us Have Faith, The World I Live In (1908) [4], Open Door etc. He also produced a film (Deliverance-1919) on the irony of the cursed life of the hearing and visually impaired. He played himself in his own role in the film.

A poem written by Helen

“They took my sight away

Where it should have been

But I recall Milton’s Paradise Mine,

They took away my hearing

Where it should have been

Beethoven came and wiped my tears.

They removed my tongue

Where it should have been

when i was little

How much talk with God,

Fully fed

He will not allow them

To take away my soul.”

Helen Keller & Rabindranath : Friendship of Helen Keller & Rabindranath

Rabindranath suddenly came as the light of Helen Keller’s dark life

January 4, 1921. A girl is eagerly waiting to meet the world famous poet. Is the girl chanting a song in her heart? Saying in a hushed tone—

‘Yes Master, I forget,
I ever forget, that the
Gates are shut every
Where in the house
Where I dwell alone!

The girl’s three senses are closed. However, in the path of a certain light, the sound of his heart wakes up in his chest – ‘I will pass the words of my closed door in the room’! The day was the day of meeting with that light. The girl is Helen Keller and the name of that light is Rabindranath Tagore. Today’s talk tells the story of a girl’s journey from the source of darkness to the path of light and the story of an Indian poet who guides her.

One day Rabindranath came as the light of this girl’s dark world. First came in the form of words.

Helen Keller was fascinated by Rabindranath’s writings in Braille. There was a commotion in his silent world of thought. Like light, like sound Brahma, Rabindranath came to Helen’s closeted heart. Helen found Rabindra Bhavana’s thoughts similar to her own. Awaited to meet the god of eternal life.

Then the day came. Helen describes that precious day in the chapter ‘Varied Chords’ in her book ‘Mid Stream My Later Life’. Helen Keller became curious about Rabindranath after reading the discussion in newspapers.

Rabindranath came at that time to collect money for Visva Bharati. To match the tide of life of the greater world with the life of Santiniketan. Rabindranath read the article ‘The meeting of East and West’ in the community hall two days before the meeting.

Helen Keller read two books ‘Gitanjali’ and ‘Gardener’ in depth. Rabindranath himself was eager to meet Helen Keller. Helen Keller was excited to see Rabindranath. The gathering was filled with songs, poems and discussions. Helen touched Rabindranath’s face, lips and voice as if he actually touched Rabindranath’s heart.

Later this girl will write, ‘Serene. Gracious. He saluted me in a monotone. Almost like a prayer…’. Touching Rabindranath while listening to the poem ‘caged bird’, he said quietly that his world was surrounded by dark walls.

Rabindranath sang the song, ‘Ami Chini Go Chini Tomare–‘. And he said, ‘I am restless, I am thirsty from afar’. Then I realized that the fickle girl trapped in a dark world uttered silently in her mind – ‘O Sudur, Vipul Sudur, you play the bakul bansari – / In the room I will pass the words of my closed door.’

Rabindranath became one with light near Helen. Helen Keller wanted to know the meaning of three words to Rabindranath — God, light, love! Both Rabindranath and Helen Keller understood friendship as light. Helen loved walking in the dark holding her friend’s hand. He had a keen memory. There were etymologies in Latin, French, German and Greek.

Suffering he endured, he clung to Gitanjali’s voice. Even after the death of his mother, he lived up to the straw of the novelistic thought, which is also taken from the collection of Rabindranath’s words.

Helen Keller is an activist. Over the course of his long life, his dependence on God gradually turned into an obsession with Rabindranath. Will meet again in the galaxy, filled with this desire, Helen Keller moved forward, from darkness to light.

Rabindranath and Helen Keller had two unequal friendships. Rabindranath’s world is a world of light, there was a wonder Helen Keller. But in Helen’s dark world, the sun rose every day by uttering words written by Rabindranath. Helen seems to have been an occult yogi. Having closed the doors of the three senses, he worshiped truth and beauty in silence.

Time has passed by its own rules. I want to think that a girl named Helen sitting on the other side of the galaxy is silently writing a letter to her dear poet — “My poet friend, Please look for me in the nurseries of Heaven…”

Time stands still.

Helen Keller is a name that symbolizes a confidence to blind, disabled, disabled people. May the example left behind by this noble woman be the mantra for all. Helen Keller is a shining example of where strong will can take people. Overcoming all physical disabilities with great mental strength, Helen became a thoughtful-creative man, a man who always said,

“Not blindness, but ignorance and insensibility is the only impenetrable darkness in the world.” You Might Like: 1. sabrina-pasterski-the-new-einstein-in-the-world-of-physics/ 2.the-homecoming-a-world-class-short-story/

By kalpataru

I'm Dr. Sushil Rudra, residing in Durgapur City West Bengal, India . Studied in The University of Calcutta and did M.A , Ph.D . Also another M.A from Sridhar University. Taught in College and University ( RTU) . Love to write, traveling, singing Rabindrasangeet and social work. Have some books authored by me. Vivekananda and Rabibdranath both are my favourite subject. I have written more than 150 articles in my blog( and now I'm writing in my new " blog.

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