Diving deep into Tagore’s poem: Where the Mind is Without Fear

What is mind? What is fear? And, what is mind without fear? To look into these things or even to be able to do that, we will have to analyse a few scenarios very minutely. Psychologists may do that in a different way and scientists may do it in a way that would require samples and physical tests. However, a person who can imagine, a person who can write or simply a poet can envision such things in an entirely different manner. Rabindranath Tagore did the same thing in his famous poem, taken from Gitanjali, Where the Mind is Without Fear. You can read the poem and just wonder how wonderfully the poet has foretold what mind can do if there is no fear… fear from certain things and ideas.

The poem is all about unlocking the full potential of the mind. However, Tagore also involves the blessings from Ishwara, Bhagwan or God in his vision and the poem takes a tone similar to prayer. Basically, the poet is requesting his deity to bestow upon his (ours) country the qualities, the progress and the wonderful attitude in the countrymen that could lead the country to progress and prosperity. The poem was written with a perspective of freedom and Indian independence was at the centre of the poem, as a vision or as a dream.

From Tagore’s poem, we can learn many things. The first thing that we learn is that for a wider audience, we do need a language that can communicate with one and all. And Tagore did the same. He translated the entire collection of poetry in English from his native tongue Bengali and that could certainly fill the void generated between his talent and his audience. His poetry reached massive reception that was otherwise missing with only Bengali version of Gitanjali in the book world. So, this is the first and the most important lesson that one can draw from this poem.

The second most important thing that we learn from this poem is that we need to have a vision first. Once we have the vision, then only we can do anything important. Moreover, the vision needs to be translated into actions and then rendered into the reality that we strive for. Tagore gives us the entire map for an India which lives upon its glorious traditions and helps the citizens strive for perfection all the days and each moment of their life. Can we make such India happen?

The poem has been rendered into a plain translation and it does carry a part of the original soul of the poem in the Bengali language. You can read the original version if you understand Bengali and then you can compare these two to see what changed and what remained. All the best to everyone! Enjoy poetry!

Keep reading and stay safe.

Article by a contributor to Intellectual Reader

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