Saturday, December 24, 2011

Where the Mind is Without Fear by 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 led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Tagore, Rabindranath (1861-1941), poet, philosopher, teacher, founder of schools and Nobel laureate, was born in Calcutta. He began to write poetry very young; 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 composed hundreds of songs. In 1929 he began painting.

Tagore wrote primarily in Bengali, but translated many of his works into English himself. In 1915 he was knighted by the British king George V. yet he renounced his
knighthood in 1919 following the Amritsar massacre of 400 Indian demonstrators
by British troops.

He believed in a world based on transnational values. He willingly allowed his composition of songs to be used by three nations for their national anthem: India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

In 1901 Rabindranath Tagore founded a school at Santiniketan, West Bengal, India, which later developed into an international institution called Visva Bharati, where he tried to revive the famed "Gurukula" system: in which students spent much time at their teacher's house and studied there. Later, he utilized nature as a place for students to study.

* The copy of the painting above is "The Boy" found in Gitanjali - find this and other paintings with poems here


Akhtar Wasim Dar said...

Beautiful and uncomplicated poetry.

CN said...

Yes - a great poet and one of my heroes since childhood.

I'd love to know your favorite poets.