Where the Mind is Without Fear – Rabindranath Tagore | Bikram Adhikari

 Where the Mind is Without Fear – Rabindranath Tagore

Literal Comprehension: The speaker wishes his country to awake into heaven, and presents a list of characteristics of that heaven. In that heaven, the mind is without fear, men live a respectable life, and knowledge is free. These people are not selfish and so they think of the whole community. People speak the truth there, and man’s labor ends in perfection. Reason guides people, who are not misled by their deadly habit. And finally, God leads people to ever-widening thought and action there.

Interpretation: This poem presents the speaker’s wish for his country. The speaker wishes that his country should awake into a heaven of a certain kind. He does not want his country to awake in any kind of heaven. The heaven that the speaker wants his country to awake is of a specific kind. It is a heaven where the mind is free and people’s head is held high with a sense of self-dignity. There, knowledge is free, and people think of their country and community. People speak truth there, their attempts for something lead them to perfection, and they are guided by reason and rationality. Similarly, people are under the care of God himself, who leads them to an ever-widening thought and action.

Critical Thought: This poem presents the poet’s patriotic ideas and feelings. From what he expresses in this poem, the poet appears to be a visionary and a dreamer. He has a certain vision and dreams for the advancement of his country. He wants his country to prosper, but he makes it clear that this prosperity should not make his countrymen selfish. They should be the people of a country, where all think for the whole of the community. The poet also makes it clear that he wants his country to have God himself as to its patron. He requests God to constantly guide his country and countrymen to lead them to wide thought and action. The poet’s feelings and ideas offer a list of good attributes for the betterment of his country and countrymen. However, they also present him more as a dreamer than a real man. Presenting a good dream alone is not sufficient for the goodness of any country. One should also present a realistic plan for it.

Assimilation: This poem reminded me of how poets present visions about the future of their country. I have read at several places that a country's material prosperity itself is guaranteed by the spiritual message that the poets of the country give to the country. The poets are said to be the prophets of the society, and thus they offer the visions that lead their society forward. After reading this poem, I came to understand that all these are true. The poets are really visionary, and they inspire their countrymen with their ideas. Rabindranath Tagore was a great poet of India, so the Indians must have had a great reverence for him. I believe the progress that the Indians are making now must have resulted from their commitment to such visionary ideas.

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