Where the Mind is without Fear


Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) composed & published the poem Where the Mind is without Fear in Geetanjali in 1910. In it, the poet prays to God that in his country there should be an atmosphere of fearlessness. Knowledge should be free to all. The countrymen should not be divided over caste and creed. They should speak the truth and lead a perfect life and not get tired of working. They should have the power to reason out the bad and useless customs. Only God can help by guiding the people. God should make India a paradise on earth.

Central Idea: The poem is a reflection of the poet’s good and ideal nature. He has the utmost faith in God. He prays to God with all his heart that he should guide the countrymen to work hard, speak the truth, and be forward and logical in approach. The poet aspires to see the country and his people to be in peace and prospering.


In the poem Where the Mind is without Fear, the poet R. N. Tagore draws a picture of free India. He dreamt of a country with no boundaries. It is his idealistic dream about India. The poet prays to God for the welfare of the country.

Indian art is a fusion of many cultures. The life of Indian people can not be seen without art. There is nothing personal in
Indian art and architecture. Indian art is not devoid of life. In his essay, The Wonder that was India A. L. Basham says that Indian people still love the tales of the heroes of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. In our ancient culture, much that was useless has already stopped. In the real sense, the whole face of India has changed without losing its cultures tradition.

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It is sometimes claimed that Vedic literature of India is the most ancient literature in the world. There are four Vedas – the Rig Veda, the Sam Veda, the Yajur Veda and the Atharva Veda. Besides these, there are some more treatises on Vedas. All the treatises on Vedas are indeed the sacred doctrines full of philosophic contemplation. The influence of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata on the mind and life of Indian people has been considerable. The Ramayana by Maharshi Valmiki deals with the story of Lord Ram who is the eighth ‘avatara’ of the Hindus. The Mahabharata by Ved Vyas, tells the story of Bharat dynasty. Both the epics show the victory of good over evil.

After the downfall of Mughal Empire, the British began to work through wars and diplomacy. They aspired for establishing the British Empire in India. Hence, they started to exploit the Indians. After a great sacrifice, India got Independence on August 15, 1947. Mahatma Gandhi with his disciples left Sabarmati for Dandi to break the Salt Law imposed by the British Government. It was indeed a great challenge for the British Government. Subhash Chandra Bose compared the salt March to “Napoleon’s March to Parish on his return from Elba.” After the independence, our leader thought to frame a constitution so they formed a constituent committee. The main goal of our Constitution is to set up a democratic and secular state. Thus we have a democratic pattern in our constitution.

Communism has succeeded in some measure by giving content to man’s life but it fails because of its rigidity and because it ignores certain essential needs of human nature. Socialism aims at equality and according to Nehru it is not only a way of life but a certain scientific approach to solve social and economic problems. Fundamental Duties are incorporated in our Indian Constitution by an amendment. There are ten Fundamental Duties for an Indian citizen. Each Indian is obliged to follow.

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Mirza Ghalib felt surprised at seeing the varied wonders of fate. His life became very difficult after 1857 muting. In the

days of looting his house was left by the “looters”. To keep body and soul together he had to sell the clothes. He was not only worried about himself and his wife but his servants also. He thought that his distress would end either in death or in beggary. Rajah’s Diamond by R.L. Stevenson is a story of an accursed stone (diamond) that over the years passed on from one person to another person and ruined the life of its possessors. The Prince was the last person who was also accused of theft this diamond. At last, he threw it into the river. However, he was a wise and pious king. In the poem Tree, the poet Tina Morris describes the importance of trees. If trees are not taken care of, there will be no charm in human life. No life can be imagined without trees.

Questions and Answers

Q. Is reason, in the poem Where the Mind is without Fear, compared to a stream? Why?
Answer: Yes, reason, in the poem Where the Mind is without Fear, is compared to a stream because like the stream, reason is very clear and flowing.

Q. What is meant by “knowledge is free” in the poem?

Answer: The poet desires that there should be no restriction for getting knowledge. It should be free to all castes and creeds so that all may acquire it.

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Q. What is meant by “narrow domestic walls” in the poem?

Answer: It means that the world should not be divided into small parts on the basis of caste, creed or colour.

Q. Give the two qualities of mind described in the poem.

Answer: Ever widening thought and action are the two qualities of mind described by Tagore in the poem.

Q. Why does the poet compare ‘dead habit’ to ‘dreary desert sand?’

Answer: The poet compares dead habit to dreary desert sand because the dead habits are like dreary desert which is lifeless and of no worth, so is the case with dead habits as they stop progress.

Q. To whom does the poet address his poem?

Answer: The poet addresses his poem to God.

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