Where The Mind Is Without Fear
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.
A Poet’s Analysis
The title is powerful and impactful. It instills an instant zeal in the minds of the reader. It awakens in the dormant minds, a surge of inspiration, and a fire of liberation. If we analyze the title, it talks about fearlessness. The reason for this lies in India’s history. A time when India was under British rule. For years, India had lost its sovereignty and associated freedom. Its inhabitants were not citizens of an independent nation, but slaves of a colony. One can imagine the difference between the two. The latter was the situation that prevailed for more than a century.
Restrictions and impositions existed of every kind, in every walk of life. They made one feel purposeless and fearful. An individual thrives the most when he is free from all kinds of shackles. Oppression creates distress, prolonged distress creates fear, and fear weakens one’s existence. The only way to live again is to remove this fear. When one becomes fearless, one becomes alive again. The poem stresses this very aspect of humanity.
Rabindranath Tagore talks about knowledge and freedom. Knowledge comes to us from all directions. But a restricted and enslaved individual can not access knowledge free. Enslavement means abiding by the commands of the oppressor. This is the crumbling of an individual’s identity and a dismantling of the very framework of life.
Humanity connotes an omnipresent existence on this planet. But humans overpowered with their dark vices, cloud this light of omnipresence. The greed for power and money restricts the mind to think consciously. It makes one reckless and insensitive. One oppresses the other, starts conquests, and wages wars. These actions fragment mother nature divided by unnatural walls. This restricted scenario creates even more distress and animosity. This keeps churning inside one’s core like a tempest. A time comes when this kind of oppression is not tolerated at all.
This moment comes from a deep awakening. A sense of clarity sets in, where the soul makes the truth visible glaringly. A situation where one rises above habitual existence. An existence that had muddled the thought process. An existence that had created chaos within. An existence that had dimmed the light within. But now an individual sees through this mess. He tries to reason the obscured reality. He gains a sense of clarity about his purpose in life.
The next step is concrete action. A stage where the individual is ready to act on this purpose and live his true self. A stage where the individual is truly awakened.