In the poem "Where The Mind Is Without Fear," we find the poet dreaming of India as a country with independence and self-respect. Standing in the 21st century, do you think the poet's dreams have...

In the poem "Where The Mind Is Without Fear," we find the poet dreaming of India as a country with independence and self-respect. Standing in the 21st century, do you think the poet's dreams have been fulfilled?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tagore would feel that modern India has a ways to go in order to achieve the vision outlined in "Where the Mind is Without Fear."

The second line of the poem is one example where Tagore would feel that the dream for modern India is in limbo. "Where knowledge is free" suggests there should be open access to education for all Indians.  This is not the case in India today.  Education access is not open to all people.  Gender, class, and caste restrictions play a role in preventing an educational system "where knowledge is free."  

Another area where Tagore would say that the dream of modern India isn't being fulfilled appears in the very next line.  Tagore writes that he envisions a world
"Where the world has not been broken up into fragments/ By narrow domestic walls."  While India has come very far in its vision of inclusiveness, there are areas where fragmentation prevents Tagore's unified vision.  Even though India is in the midst of 21st century advancement on so many levels, this development is not being experienced everywhere.  Rural India is not growing as fast as its urban counterpart, evidenced by the rising number of farmer suicides and the decrease in agricultural initiatives.  While globalization has improved the lives of many, there is a very large disparity between rich and poor.  In Mumbai, the palatial mansion of the Ambani family resides next to slums.  The wealthiest of people in India live in opulent splendor while millions of children go hungry.  This would be a world of "fragments" marked by "walls."

Tagore's perfect India is a realm "Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way/ Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit."  The wide ranging political corruption in the Indian government could be described as a "dreary desert."  The world's largest democracy has rampant corruption within it.  This state of affairs has been ongoing.  As a result, the Indian public seems to have become accustomed to this state of affairs.  The lack of effective, organized activism against corruption could be seen as a "dead habit" where people just accept that their government will not be fully responsive to their needs.  Tagore would criticize this reality.  In order for India to emerge into the vision Tagore outlines in the poem, this reality must change.