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Briefly explain the important lines of Rabindranath Tagore's poem Where the mind is...

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samze | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 24, 2009 at 4:21 PM via web

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Briefly explain the important lines of Rabindranath Tagore's poem Where the mind is Without Fear.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 24, 2009 at 10:55 PM (Answer #1)

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Based on your own reading of the poem and your own understanding of its themes, I think that you might have to determine for yourself where the important lines in the poem lie.  I think it is difficult to determine this from an outside source as the identification and justification have to be developed from one's own criteria of importance.  I think that if the overall meaning of the poem can be seen as a search for elevated notions of truth and justice, then the second line of "where knowledge is free" helps to set the tone of seeking to strive beyond what is into what can be.  The opening line that indicates the present setting causes individuals to not embrace this realm of transcendence and capitulate into what is might be another moment where the feeling of the poem is fundamentally established.  The second to last line which brings together thought and action is very powerful as it indicates a sense of praxis, that theory and realization must be linked together in order for change to happen to a social order.

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 30, 2015 at 12:36 PM (Answer #2)

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Rabindranath Tagore is a well-known poet and writer who combines the best of his Eastern culture with his expansive education and western influences. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 and even received a knighthood in 1915 although he resigned his knighthood four years later after the British massacre at Amritsar. His genuine desire was for world peace and for a universal humanity encompassing all cultures, races and religions. His philosophy transcends all the differences and strives to unite mankind.

In his prayer / poem  Where The Mind is Without Fear, Tagore expresses his vision of a future of informed individuals who are united by "ever widening thought and action." Tagore acknowledges the restrictions and debilitating effects of "narrow domestic walls" which represent the self-imposed boundaries that people place upon themselves and particularly upon the mind which do not allow for the free flow of thoughts. In the place where "knowledge is free," every man can be proud and as "the head is held high" there is no judgment and there is a sincerity because "words come out from the depth of truth."

For Tagore, an ideal model exists for India when "tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection" indicating the value of deep thought and consideration without clouding the mind with "dreary desert sand" which suggests that the danger lies in a failure to recognize what makes sense and what doesn't (what is logical and what is not). It is essential to follow "the clear stream of reason" and to be guided by "my father." The ending reveals Tagore's aspirations for his people as he implores "let my country awake."  

     

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