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Where The Mind Is Without Fear

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Fran Shala

on 5 November 2013

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Transcript of Where The Mind Is Without Fear

Where The Mind Is Without Fear
Rabindranath Tagore

Text
Where the mind is without fear
And the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up
Into fragments by narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

Background
Rabindranath Tagore wrote his poem Where The Mind Is Without Fear in the first decade of the Twentieth century.
It is the 35th song in his famous book Geetanjali which was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913. He wrote this poem during the peak hours of the cruel and brutal British Rule in India.
It is his Utopia, in which he prays God to let his country wake up to a blissful heaven of freedom that is his dream. The distance between his dream and the real state of affairs in his country is far, and he skilfully brings to world's attention the state into which his great nation has been fallen into by the British Empire.
He does this without offending anyone and as is expected from an England- educated noble genius.
6 years before India achieved Independence, Tagore had died without seeing a free India.
In the present times, this poem not only tells us about the horrible downtrodden position to which his country and it's heritage was brought to by Britain but also acts a measure whether India has progressed any after half a century of her independence.


The poem is a masterpiece - it beautifully captures foundational principles that any nation should adopt - or a concise description of what the constitution of any country should look like or what a free country should look like. In his view, it would be a country where people can express their views freely without fear of repercussions,

people share and spread knowledge freely,
people are open minded and willing to listen to each other's perspectives,
people are true to each other, value their integrity, and honest in their dealings,
people work hard and strive for perfection in quality,
people are driven by reasoning and scientific temper, instead of fallacies, hypocricies, or ideologies.
people are open to change and don't succumb to inertia or continue age-old orthodox customs and practices that do not meaningfully apply anymore,
people are progressive, think of bigger goals and accomplish them, constantly raising the bar.
When such a vision is accomplished, such a country would be free, and a heaven to live in.


The poet then denotes that spoken words no more come out from the depth of truth, the meaning of which anyone can guess.
The ancient stream of reason which once flowed clear and unhampered through the ages has now lost it's way into the desert sand of Unending dead habits.
A God-fearing nation has now become captain less and the once-ever widening thought and action of a mighty nation, have got stuck where it was decades back.
So he prays to God to raise his country into that heaven of freedom where everything is opposite.


In the poem, ‘Where The Mind Is Without Fear’, Tagore sketches a moving picture of the nation he would like India to be. Where everyone within the fold of the brotherhood is free to hold up one’s head high and one’s voice to be heard without having any tension of fear of oppression or forced compulsion.  Where the knowledge is not restricted by narrow ideas and loyalties. The British rule had robbed India of its pride and dignity by reducing it to a subject nation. The India of Tagore’s dream is a country where her people hold their heads high with their pride in knowledge and strength born of that knowledge. Where all countrymen must come out the aged-old world of people who have lost the vision of one humanity by the narrow loyalties of caste creed and religion. Prejudice and superstitious which narrow the mind and divide people would be a thing of the past. Where the words of truth come out from the depths of the heart and are spoken out courageously in the open for the world to hear. People would work for perfections in the clear light of reason leaving aside all superstitious rituals.
              

In the poem, ‘Where The Mind Is Without Fear’, Tagore sketches a moving picture of the nation he would like India to be. Where everyone within the fold of the brotherhood is free to hold up one’s head high and one’s voice to be heard without having any tension of fear of oppression or forced compulsion.  Where the knowledge is not restricted by narrow ideas and loyalties. The British rule had robbed India of its pride and dignity by reducing it to a subject nation. The India of Tagore’s dream is a country where her people hold their heads high with their pride in knowledge and strength born of that knowledge. Where all countrymen must come out the aged-old world of people who have lost the vision of one humanity by the narrow loyalties of caste creed and religion. Prejudice and superstitious which narrow the mind and divide people would be a thing of the past. Where the words of truth come out from the depths of the heart and are spoken out courageously in the open for the world to hear. People would work for perfections in the clear light of reason leaving aside all superstitious rituals.
              

In the poem, ‘Where The Mind Is Without Fear’, Tagore sketches a moving picture of the nation he would like India to be. Where everyone within the fold of the brotherhood is free to hold up one’s head high and one’s voice to be heard without having any tension of fear of oppression or forced compulsion.  Where the knowledge is not restricted by narrow ideas and loyalties. The British rule had robbed India of its pride and dignity by reducing it to a subject nation. The India of Tagore’s dream is a country where her people hold their heads high with their pride in knowledge and strength born of that knowledge. Where all countrymen must come out the aged-old world of people who have lost the vision of one humanity by the narrow loyalties of caste creed and religion. Prejudice and superstitious which narrow the mind and divide people would be a thing of the past. Where the words of truth come out from the depths of the heart and are spoken out courageously in the open for the world to hear. People would work for perfections in the clear light of reason leaving aside all superstitious rituals.
              

Summary
Where everyone is free to toil and work hard for anything they desire either for their own or for the good of the nation. Everyone is encouraged to strive tirelessly till they attain full satisfaction in reaching their goals and perfection.  Where blind superstitious habits of thought and action have not put out the light of reason. Where people’s mind should not dwell in the mistakes of the past nor be possessed by it. On the other hand they should be led by the power of reasoning to be focused on the future by applying scientific thought and action. Tagore’s only prayer to the Supreme Ultimate is leading the nation to such an ideal state of heaven.  It is only by the universality of outlook and an abiding passion for the realization of great human ideals that India will achieve her true freedom. This way alone she will realize her destiny.
Where the Mind is without Fear consists of eleven lines and somewhat resembles the style of a sonnet. In a sonnet, the first eight lines usually present an idea, are argumentative, put a proposal or a problem. If we look at the first eight lines of Where the Mind is without Fear, we find that the lines are a form of a prayer and it does present an idea. The first few lines have the repetition of the word ‘where’ which denotes a particular place but it not revealed then and there. We get to know about the place in the last line of the poem. The place is described as a place full of positive qualities, such as, fearlessness, knowledge, unity, truth, reason, perfection etc. in the last line the poet reveals the place as ‘that heaven of freedom’ and asks God to allow his country to reach there.
Analysis
ALLITERATION in Where the Mind is Without Fear:
Tagore has used alliteration in his poem, Where the Mind in without Fear. Alliteration is the repeated use of the same consonant sound at the beginning of each word in a lin of verse. Here, in this poem, the examples of alliteration are as follows,-
‘head held high’, ‘where the world’, ‘dreary desert sand of dead habit’ and ‘where words.’

METAPHOR:
A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action that does not literally denote in order to imply a resemblance. In simpler words, comparing two words but not clearly stating. Examples of metaphor in the poem,-
‘clear stream of reason’ and ‘dreary desert sand of dead habit’.

PERSONIFICATION:
“a tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection” is an example of fine personification in the poem. Personification refers to attribution of human qualities to inanimate ideas. Here the ‘tireless striving’ has been personified like a human being stretching his arms to reach his goal through perfection.

STYLE:
Where The Mind Is Without Fear was included in the volume called ‘Naibedya’, the original poem bears the title ‘Prarthana’ meaning prayer. The poem is a prayer to God. The poem is a form of a prayer to the universal father-figure, presumably God. Tagore prays to the father-figure for a country where the people should be free from fears, where knowledge would be free to all individuals and the people from all religions should be united. He wants India to awake in such a heavenly state.

ANAPHORA: WHERE
Different Figures Of Speech ...
Where The Mind Is Without Fear
Rabindranath Tagore
Made by: Fran Shala
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