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Where the Mind is Without Fear

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Here, we attempt a crucial analysis of Where the Mind is without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore. Where the Mind is without Fear consists of eleven lines and somewhat resembles the style of a sonnet. In a sonnet, the first eight lines usually present an idea, are argumentative, put a proposal or a problem. If we look at the first eight lines of Where the Mind is without Fear, we find that the lines are a form of a prayer and it does present an idea. The first few lines have the repetition of the word ‘where’ which denotes a particular place but it not revealed then and there. We get to know about the place in the last line of the poem. The place is described as a place full of positive qualities, such as, fearlessness, knowledge, unity, truth, reason, perfection etc. in the last line the poet reveals the place as ‘that heaven of freedom’ and asks God to allow his country to reach there.

The poem is composed in lucid language, simplified diction, images and other poetical devices. We recommend you go through our summary of Where the Mind is Without Fear before reading this analysis if you’re not clear with the idea of the poem.

Analysis of Where the Mind is Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore

The verse form of the poem is free verse, having no metrical patterns or rhymes. He was credited for having discovered this new form of composing poems, called prose poems.

ALLITERATION in Where the Mind is Without Fear:
Tagore has used alliteration in his poem, Where the Mind in without Fear. Alliteration is the repeated use of the same consonant sound at the beginning of each word in a line of verse. Here, in this poem, the examples of alliteration are as follows,- ‘head held high’, ‘where the world’, ‘dreary desert sand of dead habit’ and ‘where words.’

A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action that does not literally denote in order to imply a resemblance. In simpler words, comparing two words but not clearly stating. Examples of metaphor in the poem,- ‘clear stream of reason’ and ‘dreary desert sand of dead habit’.

“a tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection” is an example of fine personification in the poem. Personification refers to attribution of human qualities to inanimate ideas. Here the ‘tireless striving’ has been personified like a human being stretching his arms to reach his goal through perfection.

Where The Mind Is Without Fear was included in the volume called ‘Naibedya’, the original poem bears the title ‘Prarthana’ meaning prayer. The poem is a prayer to God. The poem is a form of a prayer to the universal father-figure, presumably God. Tagore prays to the father-figure for a country where the people should be free from fears, where knowledge would be free to all individuals and the people from all religions should be united. He wants India to awake in such a heavenly state.

Portrayal of the British Rule:
Through the poem, the poet has revealed subtlety the miserable condition of India during the British Rule. The state of India can be understood by the opposites of the phrases used in the poem. Following few are the examples of the phrases used,-

* Mind without fear implies a mind full of fear

* Head held high implies head bowed down (no dignity)

* Perfection implies imperfection

* Truth implies lies

*Knowledge for free implies restricted knowledge

The above opposites implies the state of the country under the British Rule and therefore the poet’s earnest prayer to the Lord to reverse the current condition of the state.

FREEDOM expressed in Where the Mind is Without Fear
Where the Mind is without Fear was written when India was under the British Rule. Tagore wanted his motherland to attain freedom from all levels- religious, political, moral and intellectual. The following are the kind of freedom Tagore insisted upon.

*Freedom from oppression

* Freedom of thought and expression

*Freedom to acquire knowledge

*Freedom to speak truth

*Freedom of mind

*Freedom to attain perfection

The title of the poem is very significant and appropriate to convey the expressions and thoughts in the poem. Hope you’ll share this analysis of Where the Mind is Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore.

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