Where The Mind is Without Fear
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
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
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
-- Rabindranath Tagore
I had read this poem when I was in the ninth class, it was a part of the English curriculum. It had an instant effect, a deep connection almost to the very soul. Teenage is a time when the mind is the most impressionable,ideas surge forth and the personality slowly starts its very own assertion. I read it often and each time
it touched me more deeply.
When one is young one's worldview is limited, it is the view of a child/adult one who has to yet step out, one who is protected by the peripheries of ones family and school. There is much to read,more to enjoy with friends and family and an awful lot of study to do. I too went out for movies, plays, holidays and did a bit of study in between. Our head was always high, we were truthful to a fault, we strove for perfection in our own ways, not necessarily in the ways our parents and teachers would have wanted but that makes another story.Our minds were not without fear, many of us had mortal fear of the various tests and exams and the results which followed.Knowledge was not free but then there has always been a tuition fees, after all we were modern young teenagers, not living in Vedic times weren't we? So then why was Tagore praying for a freedom which we had already attained. I mulled over this often and could not come up with the answer.
In time I forgot about the poem,it remained in some corner of my mind but did not surface again.
Graduation happened and the search to find a job. Another goal which was achieved after some struggle. That was when the real growing up began. It was not as if I had lived in a cocoon as a child, the difference was that now we were the part of the young work force with ideas and opinions which, of course, were always right and which we passionately discussed and put forth.
Slowly but surely the world around me became more apparent with all it inequalities,the dead habits" which I remembered hazily showed themselves, and the ideal picture started dissolving into a larger canvas of corruption inequality disparity. The idealistic bubble however refused to burst.
To be contd... tonight most probably.