‘Where the mind is without fear’ was written by Rabindranath Tagore. He was considered the greatest writer of Modern English Literature. He was a Nobel Laureate. He received his knighthood in 1915. He surrendered his knighthood in protest of the British troops massacring hundreds of Indian demonstrators in 1919.
Tagore writes in this poem about the many shackles that bind the people of India. This poem was written before the independence of India, capturing the minds and the condition of the Indians in slavery. The colonization of India by England had devastating effect on the minds of the populace. This poem is a prayer to the Lord Almighty, praying for a country different from what it was then.
Tagore pleads for a country in which the minds of the people will not be controlled by fear, and in which the people will walk with their heads held high, and not cowed down by fear. He asks for a nation which would provide knowledge free of cost for all its people. The poet prays that the various segments into which his country has been divided must change. He envisions a nation that is not compartmentalized by caste, religion, race, or language. Petty domestic disputes have ravaged the country, people hiding behind narrow walls that they have built for themselves. They refuse to come out of it, scared, confused, and without hope.
Rabindranath Tagore wants a country that has people without fear, people who can speak their minds out without fear of repercussions. Indians tell lies, in fear of the British oppression. He wants this situation to change, with people living the truth and striving to move their efforts towards fruition and perfection. People are so used to living in enslaved conditions that they are robbed of their very sense of reason. They do things in a mechanical way, devoid of interest or purpose. Their entire lives become an automated pathway in which they exist pathetically. There is no sense of life in any of them. Their habits are monotonous. The poet desires all these things to change, for the better. He longs for the people of India to have their reasoning abilities intact, with their habits towards freedom.
Tagore longs for the people’s minds to be led by God, so that they can be free to explore their minds, have different thoughts, and put those thoughts into action. When the people are led by God, their thoughts and actions will be pure and tethered to progress. Tagore believes that such a progressive nation would be heaven to live in. He prays to God that India should wake up one day to a country such as the one he has prayed for.