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Summary of Where the Mind is Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore

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 was written by Rabindranath Tagore during the time when India was under the British Rule and people were eagerly waiting to get their freedom from the British Rule. This poem had given a lot of strength to the people who were struggling for India’s independence. It is a prayer to the Almighty for a hassle free nation free from any kind of manipulative or corrupted powers. Go through the summary of where the mind is without fear!

About the Poet – Rabindranath Tagore reshaped Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art during the 19th and early 20th centuries. He became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913, and he won it for his collection of verses and songs known as Gitanjali. Tagore introduced new prose and verse forms, and also popularised the use of colloquial language in Bengali literature. As a result of this, Bengali literature was now freed from traditional models based on classical Sanskrit. Tagore was also instrumental in introducing the best of Indian culture to the West and vice versa. He is generally regarded as the most outstanding creative artist of the modern Indian subcontinent.

A Pirali Brahmin from Kolkata, his family is said to have emigrated here from its ancestral gentry roots in Jessore. Tagore started writing poetry from the age of 8. At 16 he released his first substantial poems under the pseudonym Bhānusiṃha (meaning “Sun Lion”), which were seized upon by literary authorities as long-lost classics. He started writing his first short stories and dramas—and also signing them with his birth name—by 1877. As a humanist, and a strident nationalist, he denounced the Raj and advocated independence from Britain. As an exponent of the Bengal Renaissance, he produced a vast oeuvre that comprised paintings, sketches and doodles, hundreds of texts, and some two thousand songs. His legacy endures also in the institution he founded, Visva-Bharati University.

detail analysis

His novels, stories, songs, dance-dramas, and essays deal with both political and personal themes. Gitanjali (meaning “Song Offerings”), Gora (meaning “Fair-Faced”) and Ghare-Baire (meaning “The Home and the World”) are his best-known works. His works are held in high regard for their lyricism, colloquialism, naturalism, and unnatural contemplation. His compositions were chosen by two nations as national anthems: India‘s Jana Gana Mana and Bangladesh’s Amar Shonar Bangla are both composed by him. The original song of Sri Lanka’s National Anthem was also written and tuned by Tagore.

In 1915, the British Crown granted Tagore a knighthood, but he renounced in protest against the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. At 60, Tagore took up drawing and painting. Successful exhibitions of his many works—which made a debut appearance in Paris—were held throughout Europe. He was likely colour blind to red and green, resulting in works that exhibited strange colour schemes and off-beat aesthetics. His artist’s eye for handwriting was revealed in the simple artistic leitmotifs embellishing the scribbles, cross-outs, and word layouts of his manuscripts.

Tagore’s major works included Gitanjali (Song Offerings), Gora (Fair-Faced), and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World); and many other literary and art works. He was also a cultural reformer, and modernized Bangla art by rejecting the rigidity of form and style.

Setting and the Mood of the Poem

Initially the poem talks about a longing. The mood that is created is of longing ,wistfulness.The strong patriotic mood takes the poet to a world which will not be subjugated and enslaved. The poet in his  prose poem style uses imagery to take us to a country which is independent ,where the people are free to express their thoughts,ideas,innovations and creations. By the end of the poem the poet creates a mood which is inspirational in nature.The poem then becomes a poem for awakening –awakening from the state of bondage.

Annotation: Meaning of Where the Mind is Without Fear

Please note: N= noun, V=verb, Adj=Adjective, Adv=Adverb, P=Preposition, Pr=Pronoun

Fragments (N): Plural form of the word “fragment”, that is, a small part broken off or separated from something

Narrow (Adj): Limited in extent, amount, or scope

Domestic (Adj): Existing or occurring inside a particular country; not foreign or international

Tireless (Adj): Having or showing great effort or energy

Striving (V): Present participle form of the word “strive”, that is, make great efforts to achieve or obtain something

Stretches (V): Third person singular present tense of the word “stretch”, that is, straighten or extend one’s body or a part of one’s body to its full length, typically so as to tighten one’s muscles or in order to reach something

Clear (Adj): (Of a substance) transparent; unclouded

Stream (N): A small, narrow river

Dreary (Adj): Depressingly dull and bleak or repetitive

Thee (Pr): An older form of the word “you”

Ever-widening (Adj): Constantly increasing in scope

The poem consists of 11 lines in total. These lines are not divided into stanzas. They are divided into meaningful segments for the purposes of this summary in order to make the poem easier to follow and understand.

Where the Mind is Without Fear Summary

Rabindranath Tagore sketches a moving picture of the nation; he would like India to be. In lines 1-2, the poet pledges to the Almighty that his country should be free from any fear of oppression or forced compulsion. He wants that everyone in his country should be free to hold their heads high in dignity. He dreams of a nation where knowledge or education would be free that is education should not be restricted to the upper class only but everybody should be free to acquire knowledge. There should not be any caste distinctions or gender distinction when it comes to education. In the succeeding line,

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

Tagore, in his poem ‘Where The Mind Is Without Fear’ wishes for a world which is not ‘fragmented’ by prejudices based on caste, creed, color, religion or other baseless superstitions. Prejudices and superstitions should not divide the people in groups and break their unity (line 4). He wants a nation where people are truthful, not superficial and words should come out from the depth of their hearts (line 5). The sixth line of ‘Where The Mind Is Without Fear’ talks about the poet yearning for a country where people would strive without getting tired to reach perfection leaving behind prejudices and old traditions. In the next line, line 7, Tagore wants the power of reason to dominate the minds of his countrymen, he does not want the ‘stream of reason’ to be lost amongst outdated customs and traditions and only that can direct the mind towards selfless thoughts and everlasting action.

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

In the final line of the poem, Tagore asks the ‘Father’, presumably God to awaken his country into such a heaven of freedom.

Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

The poem is patriotic in nature considering the independence and the happiness of the countrymen as the most important factor. If a country lacks such requirements, the countrymen can never be at peace. Consequently, the society will be full of disharmony and social unjust. The poem sends a message that the society should be free from all social evils, only then it can lead to progress. Therefore, Tagore prays to God to create such an ideal society for his motherland. Make sure you go through the critical analysis of Where the Mind is Without Fear.

Central Idea of Where the Mind in Without Fear

The poem was written at a time where Indians were under the British Rule. By yearning for an awakened country where there would be freedom of the mind and the spirit, the poem   invokes deep patriotic feelings among the readers. By praying for a freedom of spirit , education, work the poem actually highlights the condition of the country then –Subjugated, dependent, bound by cast creed, superstitious beliefs and prejudices

Throughout the poem the poet has yearned, prayed, appealed for  a country which would be the “heaven of freedom ”thus giving us ,the readers, a state to aspire for. The poem has always had a global appeal and is relevant   even today. The same yearning continues. The yearning for a world where there would be freedom of the spirit, dignity  ,where people would not cower in fear of subjugation.

Suggested Reading: Where the Mind is Without Fear Solved Questions

Suggest Reading: Critical analysis of Where the Mind is Without Fear.

Tell us what you liked most about this poem by Rabindranath Tagore.

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I have done my M.A in English andI love reading good books and sharing knowledge with others. Thanks for appreciating.

  1. Reply
    sanyukta April 6, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Awesome explanation.! thanks!

    • Reply
      sai rachana.sidhana October 2, 2016 at 9:57 am

      The explanation was really awesome.Thanks!

    • Reply
      nisamalik June 28, 2015 at 4:46 am

      an idiotic poem

      • Reply
        kushal gupta July 10, 2016 at 7:03 am

        how come u can say that !!!
        can you write this kind of poem @c/??

      • Reply
        Hima July 5, 2016 at 3:13 pm

        You can’t tell idiotic without knowing the actual meaning

      • Reply
        Jasmine June 25, 2016 at 9:48 am

        Are you mad to call this poem idiotic ???

      • Reply
        Sarah Khan June 14, 2016 at 3:29 pm

        nisamalik@ I think you need to learn english to understand the meaning of this poem,then you will feel idiotic about yourself!!

      • Reply
        rahul February 25, 2016 at 7:50 am

        even ur face is!! but nobody says anything to u do they? so don’t say things u don’t mean

      • Reply
        ahsorin February 18, 2016 at 12:24 am

        r u an indian????how dare u call this poem idiotic!!!!!!

      • Reply
        Labiba January 16, 2016 at 1:00 pm

        It’s a beautiful poem written by a beautiful, passionate person

  2. Reply
    prarthana July 22, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    wow! thank u so much for this good explanation

  3. Reply
    praisy August 2, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    wonderful summary

  4. Reply
    Amulya Sriharsha August 5, 2014 at 11:13 am

    the exact and a wonderful explanation thank you so much!!!!!!!

  5. Reply
    shayan saha August 19, 2014 at 6:35 am

    nice summary

    • Reply
      hasit February 20, 2016 at 10:46 am


  6. Reply
    Ushnendu Shekhar Patra September 18, 2014 at 5:14 am


  7. Reply
    Nayanika October 7, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Lovely summary……..This poem is the strength to not only India that time but also to many normal people…….because even if India is independent now……many people struggle to live in the world……and this poem is a strength to them.

  8. Reply
    dibyendu bhattacharyya November 25, 2014 at 8:08 am

    good but not better than the workbook of beeta publication

  9. Reply
    swethaa November 30, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Awesome summary.line by line super

  10. Reply
    tanvi December 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Wow…it helped me alot..thank you so much!

  11. Reply
    EBRAHIM December 15, 2014 at 6:54 am


  12. Reply
    Tanmay Mishra December 26, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Please upload the symbolic meaning of dreary desert sand of dead habit

  13. Reply
    surya January 1, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Good essay

  14. Reply
    Babita Chaturvedi January 6, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Nice explanation

  15. Reply
    kamal lama January 6, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    it is extremly helpful for me and those people who are teaching this poem.so,i would like to heartly thanks for providing summary and explanation.

  16. Reply
    Aakash January 7, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    very knowledegable!!!!

  17. Reply
    Sweggie January 18, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    Dis summary rox!!!

  18. Reply
    bommuchengaiah January 20, 2015 at 1:43 am

    Very useful summary

  19. Reply
    lavanya Bubna January 24, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Wonderful synopsis…

  20. Reply
    Pallavi January 30, 2015 at 3:24 am

    Very nice summary line to line explanation

  21. Reply
    Saransh Kharel February 10, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    it is too easier for children to do their assignments.

  22. Reply
    insha khan February 27, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Very nice summary… 🙂

  23. Reply
    Aahana Singh May 18, 2015 at 3:31 am

    Thnxxx… a….lot….. this….. helped…. me…. sooo….. very…… muchh…..

  24. Reply
    abhisek parida May 19, 2015 at 6:23 am


  25. Reply
    Amrita May 27, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Thanks a ton! This helped me a lot…

  26. Reply
    shubhangi ahuja June 9, 2015 at 10:16 am

    ‘Dreary desert sand of dead habit’ means doing something wrong or lifeless over and over again without knowing the truth and reality of the situation. It becomes boring and the task no longer remains creative and boring. Anyway, the summary is explanatory and interesting….good effort…..

  27. Reply
    yash panchal June 14, 2015 at 5:19 am

    verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyy awesome summary

    • Reply
      riya June 18, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      Right I agree with u

  28. Reply
    N.Tejo Prakash June 14, 2015 at 5:58 am

    Fantastic!! Thanks for bringing out the nice essence of a great work by Guru ji!!

  29. Reply
    Zeenafar Khan June 19, 2015 at 12:14 am

    Great Summary .It Helped Me A Lot. Thank You So Much.

  30. Reply
    nisamalik June 25, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    actually i did not like this poem at all

  31. Reply
    aarthi June 29, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Very nice and usefull summary

  32. Reply
    aarthi June 29, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Wow nice summary.

  33. Reply
    rinnatithik July 12, 2015 at 10:39 am

    amazing, i liked it its nice. i got good information

  34. Reply
    shyam July 13, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Very impressive! Splendiferous!

  35. Reply
    Karuna July 14, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    thnx a lol n a lot……it really helped me..:)

  36. Reply
    ananya katyayan July 26, 2015 at 10:25 am

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  37. Reply
    ananya katyayan July 26, 2015 at 10:26 am

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  38. Reply
    Shraddha.Kukkuje August 3, 2015 at 6:52 am

    thanku helped a lot! 😉

  39. Reply
    abinaya August 9, 2015 at 3:47 am

    thank you for your kind explanation

  40. Reply
    stuti August 15, 2015 at 4:44 am

    Nice!!! These notes are really gonna help me in exams.. ^_^

  41. Reply
    MITHUN adhikary August 22, 2015 at 2:27 am

    very nice summer y

  42. Reply
    MITHUN adhikary August 22, 2015 at 2:30 am

    very nice summery

  43. Reply
    Chetan August 22, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Awesome summary!!!!!!!😊☺☺👍👌👌👌…. love it 💟

  44. Reply
    Dansree September 1, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    I loved it .thnx a lot

  45. Reply
    sivashankar September 6, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Osum Theory its very helpful for me

  46. Reply
    Kavya September 19, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Really feel blessed to get such summaries. They r marvellous

  47. Reply
    Himanshi September 20, 2015 at 6:24 am

    Truly its very helpful…..

  48. Reply
    eish October 12, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    it was truly helpful! thank you!

  49. Reply
    Riddhith banerjee October 15, 2015 at 9:01 am

    well written

  50. Reply
    Karthiga October 30, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Awesome summary….. Thank u…..it s very
    Helpful for me

  51. Reply
    dharikha November 1, 2015 at 7:07 am

    its really nice but can be said more revalent

  52. Reply
    dan November 5, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    love this, i passed my test because of you

  53. Reply
    Arushi November 18, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    A stupendously explained version of the poem…

  54. Reply
    Faisal November 27, 2015 at 2:10 am

    Well explained. Timing is perfect given the atmosphere in the country.

  55. Reply
    anshi singh December 3, 2015 at 3:05 pm


  56. Reply
    Niharika December 17, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    I think it is wonderful and helpful especially for students like me😊

  57. Reply
    Parth Raj Singh January 8, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    It was very helpful.thankyou beaming notes

  58. Reply
    Fayaz January 21, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Superbbb exp tq

  59. Reply
    Ray February 3, 2016 at 5:44 am

    Thank you very much for the detailed explanation.

  60. Reply
    ASHIK K February 12, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    helpfull to students

  61. Reply
    rahul February 19, 2016 at 9:41 am

    awsome…………………….its so helpful ………………………………..

  62. Reply
    rahul February 19, 2016 at 9:44 am


  63. Reply
    rahul February 19, 2016 at 9:56 am


  64. Reply
    Abhay Tagore February 20, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Yaa really nice my great grandfather was a true patriot

  65. Reply
    Utkarsh aoni February 24, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    The summary is very good excellent but the summary needs improvement from the 9th line

  66. Reply
    Utkarsh aoni February 24, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Improvement from 9th line is needed

  67. Reply
    komalba zala February 26, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Thank uhh so much….it’s very useful in my thesis

  68. Reply
    Rhythm March 17, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Man u missed up the 8th,9th&10th lines explanation

  69. Reply
    Kushal Chachan March 30, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    ~The poet wishes that in his country everyone should be fearless and honoured.
    ~He wishes a free country where one can acquire knowledge without restriction.
    ~He wishes that his country should not be divided on the basis of narrow-domestic walls of caste, class, colour, religion, creed and religion.
    ~He wishes that his countrymen should be honest and truthful.
    ~They should strive tirelessly to achieve perfection in all their undertakings.
    ~They should not be led astray by bad habits and thoughts.
    ~Their mind should be led forward towards noble thoughts.
    ~He prays to God to raise his country into the heaven of freedom.


    Lines 1-2:
    In these lines, the poet prays to God that everyone in his country should be fearless. They should be free to hold their heads high in self-respect without having any fear of oppression or compulsion. In his country education should not be the monopoly of the rich and the affluent. The distribution of knowledge should not be restricted by narrow ideas and loyalties. This poem was written by Tagore when India was under the subjugation of the British. The British rule had robbed India of its pride and dignity by reducing it to a subjugated nation. Thus, Tagore dreamt of a country where the people could hold their heads high with pride in knowledge and strength.

    Lines 3-5:
    The poet feels that the world of man is fragmented; it is restricted to small mutually exclusive compartments. The poet prays that the minds of his countrymen should not be engulfed in prejudices based on caste, class, colour, religion, creed, region and narrow superstitions. On the other hand, their minds should be enriched by thoughts and actions, which are worthy and beneficial to the nation. He feels that the words of truth should come out from the depth of the heart and should be spoken courageously in the open for the world to hear. He prays that his countrymen should strive tirelessly to achieve perfection in all their undertakings.

    Lines 6-8:
    The poet prays that his countrymen should work for perfection in everything with the help of reason, leaving aside superstitious rituals. They should not be led astray from their goal in the dry desert of dead habits, that is, in a place where outdated customs and traditions are followed. His countrymen’s mind should be led forward into progressive thought and action, that is, they should be led by the power of reasoning to focus on the future with scientific thought. Tagore wants his country to awake to such a state of sound reasoning and righteous action. He prays to God, that his country should awake into a heaven of freedom.


    1. A prayer for a Subjugated Nation
    2. Poet’s dream

    • Reply
      gopal April 5, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      Well summarized

  70. Reply
    Priyanshi maggo April 4, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    it is a very heart touching poem

  71. Reply
    leo serto April 17, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    what a beautiful and interesting poem……

  72. Reply
    aditi April 21, 2016 at 6:48 am

    A remarkable summary and analysis of all the indo-anglian poetry here. Please do update more of them.
    Thank you 🙂
    -from a regular reader of your work.

  73. Reply
    Urmi April 30, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    very nicely explained…liked it!!!

  74. Reply
    sanah May 14, 2016 at 7:48 am

    It helped me a lot ………………loved it

  75. Reply
    dhanush June 5, 2016 at 11:18 am

    thanx for it
    butiful summary its helping me very well

  76. Reply
    Abhik June 12, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Great job, but It would be very helpful for me if I could get you in Facebook. I m in class and 10 sometimes I face problems regarding English literature,so I would be very happy if you could help me.

  77. Reply
    deepanshu agrawal June 16, 2016 at 8:55 am

    best poem i had ever read
    salute to rabindranath tagore

  78. Reply
    Harsha Talluri June 17, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Awesome summary….
    Got to know more about the lesson for my exam….

  79. Reply
    Hitha July 5, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Helped me a lot…thank you

  80. Reply
    Hitha July 5, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Helped me a lot …thank you

  81. Reply
    Reshma July 7, 2016 at 5:03 am

    It helped me a lot…..Thankzzz

  82. Reply
    Prachi arora July 11, 2016 at 8:32 am


  83. Reply
    Daddy July 12, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Good poem by Good people

  84. Reply
    Daddy July 12, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    You all are helping to spread knowledge

  85. Reply
    Thomas July 15, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Good summary

  86. Reply
    manjusha Dhumal August 25, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Very nice analisis n apprciation ,quite eaiser fr comprihension

  87. Reply
    manjusha Dhumal August 25, 2016 at 9:38 am


  88. Reply
    Anjan September 1, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Awesome explanation thnks

  89. Reply
    Divesh Chauhan 09 September 13, 2016 at 5:45 am

    Why you write this type of poem with big meanings

  90. Reply
    Snehasis Das September 16, 2016 at 7:33 am

    The summary and the poem is very nice.But what Rabindranath Tagore wants or prays in this poem is being successfully managed it.

  91. Reply
    shristi October 16, 2016 at 1:58 am

    Thanks for this share

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