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Rabindranath Tagore, India (1861-1941)
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.
"Where the mind is without fear" is a patriotic (loyal/Inspired by love for your country) poem, composed by Rabindranath Tagore, the great Bengali poet. This poem is based on idealism. The poet is inspired by the feeling of patriotism. He wished his country to be taken into the heaven of freedom where one feels fearlessness and honored. He wants to make his country as the place where truth exists and people get perfection of work, where all people are reasonable with ever ending thoughts. (Where one feels fearless and honored, where knowledge is free, where the whole world is united, where one expresses sincere feelings, where one tries so reach perfection continuously, where new ideas are not disturbed by dead tradition and where the mind is directed to generous thought and action, let my country awake in such heaven of freedom. In the world our mind should be fearless and we should be respected.)
The poet wishes that his mind would be fearless of anything else. He can hold his head high if there is no any fear. According to him, knowledge should be free and country should not be broken into fragments by the unseen domestic walls. He wishes that the people of his country would not lie to each other. They should be laborious to lead the nation towards the way of development. He wants his people to use their reason and creative thoughts to solve the problem. Thus he prays the god to make his country like heaven where there is only peace and freedom. (Knowledge should be free there. The world should not be divided into smaller parts by the narrow conception of nationalism. The reality should be sincerely represented. We should aim to reach perfection. Our mind should be led towards selfless thought and action. In such an ideal place our country should be awakened. The poem might be trying to show the value of knowledge, courage, self-dignity, altruism, sincere, and reasonable thought. If all these qualities are found in the countrymen of a particular country, the country itself will be the heaven.)
The speaker is requesting the god almighty to guide his people and his country to the world of eternity where everything is free to everyone. The speaker wishes every freedom to his people and to the whole humanity. He wants to take his people to such land where people don't need to have any fear, where education to every people is free, where people live happily together without being divided into groups, where the people always head to the perfection. To get such Promised Land, the speaker pleads the god.
The poet may be trying to tell us that fearlessness, knowledge, honor, wide mindedness, truth and reason are supremely important to take the country to the climax of prosperity. The poet has lost himself in the dream of heavenly country. He still find his country fallen into slumber (be asleep) and prays the god to let his country awake in such heaven of freedom. The poem is a patriotic poem considering the freedom and eternal happiness of life of the people as the most important factor. If people are deprived of such basic requirements, then there remains no place to feel the life. As a result, the society is full of social unjust and discrimination. Thus the poem asserts the fact that society must be free from all such social evils. For this, the speaker requests the god to create a very ideal and heavenly society.
Critical Thinking:
It is the most admirable thought of a citizen to lead his county towards prosperity. The poem with a nationalistic feeling is successful to impress the reader. The poem has run away from the harsh reality and tried to establish an imaginary heaven. Will it be possible for us to create such an ideal place here on earth? How can we fight to remove evils if we run away from everyday life? Is such an ideal desire alone enough to face the reality?  So far his point in the poem is concerned; we may not easily accept him. The country naturally consists of people of various castes and creeds (Any system of principles or beliefs), and in such situation, there arises various thoughts and ideas. So it is useless to talk about one nation. Similarly the poet seems too much spiritual and believing on the mercy of god. It, in no way, is acceptable in case of ruling the country as well as imposing the rule over the people. On the other hand, he pleads the divine power but up to now no man is blessed by him.
The poem describes how we should live fearlessly and proudly. It has also pointed out the cause of war between nations – the artificial borderline. Freedom is lovelier than life. People want to fight for freedom if their rights are grabbed. This poem took me back to the movement of 2046 B.S in Nepal. Before democracy came to Nepal, people were spending their sorrowful days in the darkness of autocracy Panchayat system. People could not speak and work freely. The corrupted leaders of that time tortured people without reason. Many people lost their lives for the sake of democracy. But conscious people began to struggle in all respect. They challenged the autocracy system and its rulers and the king was compelled to declare multiparty system. Thus, people could breathe in freedom. But democracy is still in danger due to the selfishness of the leaders of different political parties. Let's see what will happen in the future.

1.     What is the critical appreciation of the poem where the mind is without fear by Rabindranath Tagore?

2.     What does Rabindranath Tagore mean by the phrase "Where knowledge is free" in the poem "Where the mind is without fear"?


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