Sunday, August 16, 2015

Where the mind is without fear

Yesterday, India celebrated it's 69th Independence Day and the mood everywhere was patriotic. When I was browsing through Facebook, I came across a friend sharing Rabindranath Tagore's famous poem: Where the mind is without fear:

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;

This got me thinking. This poem was written in 1910 and Tagore must have hoped for this future based on the World/India back then. Much has happened since then:

India achieved its freedom; became a democratic republic; became world's largest democracy; ushered in green revolution to become self sufficient in agriculture, white revolution to become self-sufficient in milk; made rapid strides in science and technology, became world's biggest provider of human capital, underwent massive economic reforms - lifting millions out of poverty; adopted telecom/mobile revolution to become world's second biggest mobile subscribers country and is today widely recognized as an economic superpower.

So, if Tagore were alive today would he feel his dream has turned into reality? To me, the answer is a big NO. Let's see:
Neither is the mind without fear nor is the knowledge free; the world is as fragmented as ever by religion, race and economic inequality; it is difficult to speak freely for fear of political/ideological backlash; it is difficult to find reason in everything that's happening around us and the mind isn't being led forward.

In summary, while India (and the world) has made rapid economical and technological progress, the basic principles of freedom of speech/life and easy access to Roti, Kapda and Makaan still remains a dream to millions around us.

Hope Tagore's dream turns into reality some day..