Arts & Culture

Where the mind is without fear…


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People are nowadays bonded by the shackles of rigid dogmas and are blinded by thoughts that are no more relevant. We need to look around not only with open eyes but with open mind. An openness of our mind will resolve most of the problems, the crises, the conflicts that we are seeing all around. In the present scenario of conflicts and crises across the globe, I remember the famous poem of Asia’s first Nobel laureate, Rabindra Nath Tagore. This poem is also a part of “Gitanjali” for which he was awarded Nobel prize in 1913 for Literature.

According to Wikipedia, this poem was composed most likely in 1900; it appeared in the volume Naivedya (July 1901). The English translation was composed around 1911, when Tagore was translating some of his work into English after a request from William Rothenstein. It appeared as poem 35 in the English Gitanjali, published by the India Society, London, in 1912. In 1917, Tagore read out the English version, (then titled ‘Indian Prayer’) at the Indian National Congress session in Calcutta, 1917.

We learned this poem and also used to recite daily in our school as a part of our daily assembly.

চিত্ত যেথা ভয়শূন্য, উচ্চ যেথা শির,
জ্ঞান যেথা মুক্ত, যেথা গৃহের প্রাচীর
আপন প্রাঙ্গণতলে দিবসশর্বরী
বসুধারে রাখে নাই খণ্ড ক্ষুদ্র করি,
যেথা বাক্য হৃদয়ের উত্‍‌সমুখ হতে
উচ্ছ্বসিয়া উঠে, যেথা নির্বারিত স্রোতে
দেশে দেশে দিশে দিশে কর্মধারা ধায়
অজস্র সহস্রবিধ চরিতার্থতায়,
যেথা তুচ্ছ আচারের মরুবালুরাশি
বিচারের স্রোতঃপথ ফেলে নাই গ্রাসি—
পৌরুষেরে করে নি শতধা, নিত্য যেথা
তুমি সর্ব কর্ম চিন্তা আনন্দের নেতা,
নিজ হস্তে নির্দয় আঘাত করি, পিতঃ,
ভারতেরে সেই স্বর্গে করো জাগরিত॥

The thought, the words are more relevant nowadays. I reiterate the English translation of the poem below.

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.

This poem has inspired many Indians with its image of a free-thinking, undivided, dynamic nation. This remains as our goal on this earth.

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Please share with me your thoughts and comments. Thank you!

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