Where The Mind is Without Fear ( Rabindranath Tagore )

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 lead forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action--
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

This poem was in my english text book and I was too young to appreciate it. But now I am awed by the simple words which mean so much. I found a french translation which i added.

Là où l'esprit est sans crainte et où la tête est haut portée,
Là où la connaissance est libre,
Là où le monde n'a pas été morcelé entre d'étroites parois mitoyennes,
Là où les mots émanent des profondeurs de la sincérité,
Là où l'effort infatigué tend les bras vers la perfection;
Là où le clair courant de la raison ne s'est pas mortellement égaré dans l'aride et morne désert de la coutume,
Là où l'esprit guidé par toi s'avance dans l'élargissement continu de la pensée et de l'action -
Dans ce paradis de liberté,
Mon père, permets que ma patrie s'éveille.

-- R. Tagore, Gitanjali, traduction française d'André Gide


Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Indian poet, philosopher, and Nobel laureate, was born in Calcutta. He began to write poetry as a child; his first book appeared when he was 17 years old. After a brief stay in England (1878) to study law, he returned to India, where he rapidly became the most important and popular author of the colonial era, writing poetry, short stories, novels, and plays. He composed several hundred popular songs and in 1929 also began painting. Tagore wrote primarily in Bengali, but translated many of his works into English himself. He was awarded the 1913 Nobel Prize in literature, and in 1915 he was knighted by the British king George V. Tagore renounced his knighthood in 1919 as a protestation against the British, following the Amritsar massacre of 400 Indian demonstrators by British troops.

The painting is also by Tagore.

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