At the stroke of midnight, as India moved into August 15, 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, read out the famous speech proclaiming India’s independence. The moment ended three centuries of British colonial rule. The land was no longer the summer retreat of British. Independence was also the end of nearly a century of struggle for freedom, battles, betrayals and sacrifices. It also created a situation where we were responsible for ourselves. For a lot of people, in spite of a new era promised by independence, partition was a painful reality and so was the bloodshed that accompanied it.
That was 69 years ago. Much has changed; the struggle for freedom lives on in history books and memoirs, and on the tombstones of valiant martyrs. Politics has undergone a personality change from fiery idealism to a pragmatic cynicism. Karma drives the nation on its way forward, and population has crossed the billion mark.
But, come August 15, and the people put their troubles behind them for a while, as they stand up as a nation for the National Anthem. Along with the soaring cadences of the anthem, the hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow are renewed in political speeches and replays of the deeds of those who earned us our freedom. Happy Independence Day!!
On the eve of Independence day let’s recollect ‘Where the mind is without fear’ by Rabindranath Tagore:
Where the mind is without fear (Chitto jetha bhoyshunyo) is one of the most quoted poems in India and Bangladesh. Written by Rabindranath Tagore before India’s independence, it represents Tagore’s dream of how the new, awakened India should be to fight and chase the British from India. The original Bengali language poem was published in 1910 and was included in the 1910 collection Gitanjali and, in Tagore’s own translation, in the 1912 English edition of Gitanjali.
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-widenning
thought and action-
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake