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'Where the mind is without fear' is the 35th no. in Tagore's English 'Gitanjali'. 'Gitanjali' means 'song-offerings', and this is one such song--a prayer to God, the Father.
The poem was written when India was under British colonial rule, struggling for freedom. But for Tagore, freedom was more than merely political; it was to be truly spiritual. The present poem reads like a prayer for that spiritual freedom.
True freedom means liberation from the shackles of fear. The head 'held high' is a manifest posture of that liberated mind.
The whole world of man must be re-integrated; narrow, parochial walls fragmenting the world are to be demolished for achieving this holistic oneness.
Words must issue forth from 'the depth of truth'; that is to say, language shall have to be liberated from the half-truths and lies of expediency.
Untiring efforts should be directed towards the goal of perfection.
Reason is like a 'clear stream', the transparency of which should not have been swallowed up by outdated and irrelevant customs--'the dreary desert sand of dead habit'.
True freedom lies in the mind which is always led forward by the universal mind of the Father into 'ever-widening thought and action'.
Tagore prays for 'that heaven of freedom', seeks the grace of the Father, to be awakened to a new spiritual consciousness.
The poem combines patriotic zeal with fervent spritual longing. The urge for political freedom is enhanced and tranformed into a moral-intellectual freedom of the mind. The poem is also remarkable for its simplicity of diction and images.
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