AD's English Literature : Critical Analysis of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem “Where The Mind Is Without Fear”

Friday, October 28, 2011

Critical Analysis of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem “Where The Mind Is Without Fear”

RabindranathTagore's writing is highly imagistic, deeply religious and imbibed with his love of nature and his homeland. RabindranathTagore’s poem, ‘Where the Mind is Without Fear’ ,included in the volume called Naibedya, later published in English ‘Gitanjali’ is a prayer to a universal father-figure, presumably, God to elevate his country into a free land. Here Tagore defines Freedom as a fundamental system of reasoning of a sovereign state of mind, established or accepted as a guide for governing the man in a nutshell. A freedom fixes the limits and defines the relations of the moral, ethical and powers of the state of mind, thus setting up the basis for life.

The first line of the poem is one of the most significant sub clauses which go to build up the poem. The ‘World of Freedom’, which Tagore envisions for his countrymen, can only be attained if we possess a fearless mind. Only a fearless mind can hold its head upright. So attain true freedom one has to have a mind which is ‘Without fear’. Thus, the poet wishes to be awakened to a heaven where the mind can work fearlessly and the spirit can hold its head high and again its knowledge is crystal clear reasoning:
 “Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high;
 Where knowledge is free;”

A free country means where one can acquire knowledge in all freedom of choice. The big world of man is fragmented or restricted to small mutually exclusive compartments. The poet preaches that our minds, instead of being engulfed in such prejudices and narrow superstitions, must be enriched by thoughts and actions, which are worthy and beneficial for the sake of the country:

Where the world has not been
broken up into fragments by narrow
domestic walls;
Where words come out from
the depth of truth;

In an ideal free country everybody speaks his/her heart clear, where actions flow in the form of various streams moving from success to success, where petty conventions do not stagnant the course of judgment. Tagore entertains a system of thought that emphasizes the role of reason in obtaining knowledge. He also emphasizes the role of experience, especially sense perception. Tagore also attempts to tie various perceptions of the world together in some way. The comparative study of variegated knowledge would led to the reconstruction of a hypothetical parent Ideal to account for striking similarities among the various perceptions of East and west:
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

According to RabindranathTagore, attainment of ideal freedom was definitely an arduous but the most dreamy of situation in our country, in the pre−independent India. Studies commissioned by Tagore did determine with near certainty that declining moral values reflect cultural bias in the country, in the sense that post independent India scores such bloodshed in the name of religion. Here, Tagore remains an accurate predictor of Indian sociology.  One must possess a fearless mind with one’s head hold high in self-esteem. Knowledge gained by the countrymen ought to be free from prejudices. The world should not become fragmented through internal strives and feuds. The mental make-up should be free from the superstitious, narrow and gloomy practices. The poet, finally, conceives of a situation, where the mind is guided by the Divine One to awaken ourselves from the errors of our commitments.


Drop any query, suggestion or comment here.

About Me

My photo

An English Teacher;    M. A.(English) , D. Ed., B. Ed., UGC- NET Qualified

"Dear Readers/ Students, I am a huge fan of books, English Grammar & Literature. I write this blog to instill that passion in you."