I am quoting below, from a poem that I studied as a child. My 13 year old son is studying it now, and he loves it.
“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 domestic walls
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 and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake”
I really don’t have too much to add to this, and neither does Hira Singh. The only thing that we have to add, is a bit of lamentation. This poem speaks to the heart. It is a dream of what we, as a country, should be like.
The poem was written in 1940, or thereabouts, when India was fighting for it’s freedom. Much though we disagree with Nehru, Gandhi and others today, what is lamentable, is that we have forgotten the principles for which they fought. They forgot that the soul of a country awakened on the 15th August, 1947.
We have forgotten the words of Tagore in our rush and desire for possessing shiny things. Maybe, I am being a sentimental old fool, but some things – like the concepts and thoughts and dreams that Tagore wrote about – are worth fighting for.
In today’s world, his words are relevant not only for India, but for other countries of the world.
Today is 15th August, the day we gained independence in 1947, and were born as a splintered, fractured, wounded but free nation. It is time to recall that magnificent poem of Tagore, and to dwell upon what he wrote all those years ago.
Please do read it, and reflect upon what he wrote.