Ambani

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WHERE THE MIND IS WITHOUT FEAR – RABINDRANATH TAGORE (1861-1941) A SPECIAL INTRODUCTION ‘Where the Mind is Without Fear ‘is taken from Rabindranath Tagore’s most famous poetical work ‘GITANJALI’ or ‘Song Offerings’. Originally written in Bengali, it appeared in the volume ‘Naivedya’ in July 1901. The English translation of the poem was composed around 1912, when Tagore began to translate some of his works into English after a request from William Rothenstein, a celebrated British painter. The poem appeared as song 35 in the English ‘Gitanjali’ published by the Indian Society, London in 1912, and with a special introduction to Tagore’s work by the famous Irish poet, William Butler Yeats. The following year, in 1913, Tagore became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature for his ‘mellifluous music and vague sweetness’ of his Song Offerings. Tagore had a religious bent of mind and profound humanism. His spiritualism was not about living a secluded life and attain personal salvation, but it was about doing everything in life with faith in God. Therefore in all his works, especially poems (and in song 35), we see his firm faith in the Almighty and prays to Him for the Upliftment of All. Tagore was a patriot and an internationalist too. As a true patriot, he dreamt of a country, free from the shackles of foreign rule and from all other obstacles like fear, superstition, casteism, regionalism, narrow-mindedness, imperfection and irrationality. As an internationalist and a widely travelled man whom nations had applauded, Tagore saw that the future of humanity lay in the abandonment of narrow patriotism and nationalism and in the growth of an international outlook. He wanted an awakened India to take the lead in the promotion of international goodwill, rising above the narrow bounds set by nations and creeds. The poem was written when India was under the subjugation of the British. The British rule had robbed...
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