eJournal | “Where the mind is without fear”: Tagore, Gitanjali and the Nobel Prize

Source: “Tagore, Gitanjali and the Nobel Prize” by Nilanjan Banerjee in
India Perspectives (24 No. 2/2010) | More about Tagore and rural education >>
Freedom: Accountability, Democracy, Education & Rights of Indigenous Peoples >>

Where the mind is without fear (Bengali: চিত্ত যেথা ভয়শূন্য, romanized: Chitto Jetha Bhoyshunno, is a poem written by 1913 Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore before India’s independence. It represents Tagore’s vision of a new and awakened India. The original poem was published in 1910 and was included in the 1910 collection Gitanjali and, in Tagore’s own translation, in its 1912 English edition. Where the mind is without fear is the 35th poem of Gitanjali, and one of Tagore’s most anthologised poems. […]

Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabindranath_Tagore
Date visited: 29 September 2020

In his play Muktadhara (The Waterfall), Tagore robustly employs this element of freedom. The play relates the story of an exploited people and their eventual release from it. [Today, when] tribal populations across India are being uprooted with impudence Tagore’s message of freedom, in all its shades, is of utmost relevance.

Bhaswati Ghosh in Freedom in Tagore’s Plays | Learn more >>

Amnesty International says it has been forced to halt its India operations due to “reprisals” from the government. […]

Amnesty’s announcement comes amid growing concern over the state of free speech in India. The development, activists say, could dent India’s long-standing reputation of being a thriving democracy. “India does not stand in good company with these moves it is making. We operate in over 70 countries, and the only other country previously that we had been forced to shut operations in was Russia in 2016,” says Mr Khosla. “I hope people around the world sit up and take notice. We are doing this with a very heavy heart, and a deep sense of anguish and grief.”

Source: “Amnesty International to halt India operations” by Yogita Limaye
(BBC News Mumbai, 30 September 2020)
URL: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-54277329
Date visited: 30 September 2020

Society as such has no ulterior purpose. It is an end in itself. It is a spontaneous self-expression of man as a social being. It is natural regulation of human relationships, so that men can develop ideals of life in cooperation with one another.

Rabindranath Tagore quoted in Santiniketan: Birth of Another Cultural Space by Pulak Dutta (Santiniketan, 2015) p. 42 [from The English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore, Vol. II, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, 2004, p. 421] | Free download of Santiniketan: Birth of Another Cultural Space >>

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

He who has not surrendered his free will and abdicated his intelligence and independent thinking, who does not blindly act on the teachings of others, who does not blindly accept anything without critically analysing and examining its veracity and usefulness, who is always prepared to protect his rights, who is not afraid of ridicule and unjust public criticism, who has a sound conscience and self-respect so as not become a tool in the hands of others, I call him a free man.

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (who was more than the “drafter of the Constitution”), quoted by Goldy M George in Journal of People’s Studies (Volume 1, Issue 4 June 2016, Page v)

Note: in a modern educational context, we may think of any “free person” – including “free girls and boys” – as being meant by Ambedkar.

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“A teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself. A lamp can never light another lamp unless it continues to burn its own flame.” – Rabindranath Tagore, poet, social reformer and composer of India’s national anthem who founded Santiniketan amidst Santal communities >>

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