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Where the Mind is Without Fear written by Rabindranath Tagore is a patriotic poem and also a prayer which was written at the time when British were ruling over India and the latter was struggling for independence.
This poem was originally written in Bengali Language with the title Chitto Jetha Bhayshunyo. You can read the summary in Bengali here.
In the poem, the poet praying to God that his country may prosper and we may get rid of all types of ills which are prevailing in the society. In order to make it easy to understand the lines, we have divided the poem into four parts.
In order to understand the poem, we must first read the last four lines which make it clear that it is a prayer that is written by the poet for a better future.
Let us now begin from the first line. The poet prays that we need a world in which the mind is without fear i.e. we may live without fear and courageously. And we may keep our head high i.e. we may always have high ambitions and think of success.
Next, the poet prays that the knowledge should be free and available to all because he knew that knowledge is one of the strongest tool which can make the country prosper and develop. Moreover during that time only rich people could afford to educate their children.
In part 2, the poet prays that the world which he desires for himself and his countryman should not be broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls.
“Fragments” refer to division and “Narrow domestic walls” refers to the barriers like caste, creed, religion, sect, colour, language, area etc. So, the phrase means a country which is not divided into such barriers and all the people should be united.
Next, he prays that the words should always come out from the depth of truth i.e. the people of our country should always speak the truth and never lie.
Next, the poet prays that he desires his countryman to keep striving i.e. struggling and stretch their arms (work hard) without feeling tired and take the country towards perfection.
In our country the scientific, rational and thinking mind which is like clear stream should never lose its way into the dreary desert (i.e. superstitions) of dead habit which is hopelessness.
In other words, the poet desires that the people should always have logical and rational mind and they should never heed to superstitions which makes us hopeless and ignorant.
In the final part, the poet prays to Almighty (thee) should guide and lead the mind of people towards ever-widening (progressive) thoughts and actions so that we may be able to make our country heaven of freedom.
In the last line, the says “My Father” i.e. God, “awake my country” which according to the poet is still sleeping and is indulged into ill habits.