Read "Freedom" by Rabindranath Tagore. Provide relevant background information about the poet as well as his country and culture during the period in which the poem was written. Are there...
Read "Freedom" by Rabindranath Tagore. Provide relevant background information about the poet as well as his country and culture during the period in which the poem was written. Are there connections between the poem and this background?
Rabindranath Tagore's Background and Beliefs
The poem "Freedom" illustrates many of its author's political ideals as an Indian philosopher and political activist. Rabindranath Tagore was an active part of the Indian national movement, and a close friend of Mahatma Gandhi. The Indian nationalist movement was a direct reaction to British colonial control and influence in India at the time of Tagore's writings. For a significant portion of India's history, the British government taxed Indian citizens and imposed restrictions that prevented the country from operating as a sovereign nation. Tagore and the other Indian nationalist thinkers longed for a free, independently ruled India that did not owe the British government money through taxation nor any part in its national identification.
The entire body of Tagore's work can be seen as an extension of his political thoughts and beliefs. His work focuses on India as a nation and "Freedom" is no exception. Consider the following excerpt from the poem:
I claim for you my motherland!
Freedom from the burden of the ages, bending your head
In this excerpt, Tagore is describing his longing for his motherland, India, to break free from Colonial rule. The "burden of the ages" refers to the long subjugation of the Indian people and government by a foreign power. Tagore also suggests that the Indian people must break free of the subjugation within their own minds as well as that which comes from external forces.
Freedom from the shackles of slumber wherewith
you fasten yourself in night's stillness,
mistrusting the star that speaks of truth's adventurous paths;
freedom from the anarchy of destiny
Here, the reader is encouraged to break free of the "shackles of slumber" that accompany political oppression. When Tagore mentions "mistrusting the star that speaks of truth's adventurous paths," he is referring to his belief that his nation has forgotten the promise that freedom holds if it stands peacefully against the occupying British forces. Tagore believed in peaceful activism and the tenets of Hinduism can be found throughout his work, complementing his political ideals.