Where the Mind Is Without Fear

The poem below is a masterpiece – it beautifully captures foundational principles that any nation should adopt – or a concise description of what the constitution of any country should look like. It was written by Nobel prize winner Rabindranath Tagore, before India’s independence. A must-read for any senator, politician, public servant, or any dutiful citizen. 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 Summary: The poem describes Tagore’s vision of how his country could offer a heavenly experience to it’s citizens, or what a free country should look like.

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In his view, it would be a country where, * people can express their views freely without fear of repercussions, * people share and spread knowledge freely, * people are open minded and willing to listen to each other’s perspectives, * people are true to each other, value their integrity, and honest in their dealings, * people work hard and strive for perfection in quality, * people are driven by reasoning and scientific temper, instead of fallacies, hypocricies, or ideologies. people are open to change and don’t succumb to inertia or continue age-old orthodox customs and practices that do not meaningfully apply anymore, * people are progressive, think of bigger goals and accomplish them, constantly raising the bar. When such a vision is accomplished, such a country would be free, and a heaven to live in. Easily said, than done? Not quite, there are countries that have woken up to much of Tagore’s vision. Ironically, India hasn’t woken up yet, but not in deep slumber either – let’s hope the dawn is soon.

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