Rabindranath Tagore’s Vision of India

These threads from Rabindranath’s poem are the vital strands from which a fulfilling vision of India 2020 can be woven.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high.
Where knowledge is free.
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls.
Where words come out from the depth of truth.
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection.
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit.
Where the mind is led forward by Thee
Into ever-widening thought and action.
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country

Rabindranath Tagore

 

The vision articulated by Rabindranath Tagore is all encompassing in every sense. It has laid down what he considered to be the basic constituents of the “heaven of freedom”. We can identify eight components of this vision reflected in the poem quoted earlier, which we can attempt to translate into operational terms for India’s vision 2020.

Where the mind is without fear – Peace and security, internal as well as external, is the first and most essential foundation for the nation’s future progress. Fearlessness can only be attained when this security extends to cover, over and above our physical safety, our social rights and economic well being, to eliminate all forms of vulnerability and discrimination.


Where the head is held high – Self-respect and self-esteem are the psychological foundations for the development of individuality and individual initiative, which are the means through which the nation builds its strength and fulfils its aspirations. The nation prospers through the development and flowering of all its citizens as individuals. Health, education and employment opportunities for all, and awareness of our rich spiritual and cultural heritage are the essential bases for fostering self-respect and self-esteem.

Where knowledge is free – Development takes place when people become aware of opportunities for advancement and acquire the knowledge needed to convert those opportunities into practical accomplishments. Knowledge in the form of education, technology and access to a wide range of information is a catalyst for individual and social progress. The free flow of knowledge is the basis for a free and prosperous society.

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls – The spirit of globalisation which is rapidly reshaping the world today cannot be better expressed. The accelerated flow and exchange of trade, capital, technology, information and people will create unprecedented opportunities for the progress and prosperity of all countries that can transcend the narrow confines of national boundaries. India can however realise its full potential in the wider world only when it is internally united, surmounting all the centrifugal forces that overlook our common heritage and accentuate our differences.

Where words come out from the depth of truth — Integrity, honesty and trustworthiness are the essential foundations for a successful democracy and a prosperous society. Both good governance and commercial success demand rigorous standards of transparency, accountability and reliability in word and action.

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection – Prosperity is the result of productivity and efficiency which require the highest level of productive skills, technological excellence and human effort.

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit – Nations develop by choosing the best the future has to offer, while being willing to discard outmoded ideas and behaviours that retard future progress and even threaten to undermine the country’s unity and strength.

Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening thought and action – Education, innovation and creativity are the ultimate driving forces for the continuous advancement of scientific knowledge and material accomplishment.

 

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