Where the Mind is without Fear Questions and Answers
Q.1. “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high”
(a) Who says this and in which poem? (b) What does the word ‘where refer to? (c) What else does the poet says in this context?
Ans.(a) Poet Rabindranath Tagore has said this in his poem, “Where the Mind is Without Fear“.
(b) By “where” Rabindranath refers to the “heaven of freedom” where he likes his motherland to be awakened by God. This freedom means not only political freedom but also moral and spiritual freedom.
Q.2. “Into that heaven of freedom, my Father let my country awake.”
(a) Who makes this prayer? Whom does he address as ‘my Father’? (b) In what context does the speaker makes this prayer? (c) How does he conceive that ‘heaven of freedom”?
Ans.(a) Rabindranath Tagore makes this prayer in his poem “Where the Mind is Without Fear”.
(b) The poet wrote this poem in 1901 when India was under British rule.
The poet prayed for the people of India who were fighting at the time for freedom from British rule. The poet wanted his motherland to be free in the truest sense.
(c) In Tagore’s heaven of freedom, the mind is without fear and man does not forsake his dignity for anything. It encourages free pursuit of knowledge, unbiased exercise of reason and frank and truthful utterance. In true freedom, there must not be any narrow division of race or community and the mind should untiringly strive to achieve perfection in different fields of thought and action in life.
Q.3. “Where knowledge is free.”
(a) Who says this and where? (b) What does the word “where refer to? (c) What is meant by ‘knowledge is free’?
Ans.(a) Poet Rabindranath Tagore has said this. He has said this in his poem, “Where the Mind is Without Fear”.
(b) By the word ‘where the poet refers to that ideal state of freedom where he wants his country and countrymen to be awakened by God. This is a state of moral and spiritual freedom and not only political freedom.
(c) ‘Knowledge is free’ means that one can pursue knowledge without any restriction. No man is prevented from entering the temple of learning and acquiring knowledge, there being no restriction or opposition from any authority. In a truly free country men will learn and express themselves, free from all narrow prejudices.
Q.4. “Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls.”
(a) Who says this and in which poem? (b) What is meant by ‘narrow domestic walls? (c) What can prevent the world from being broken up into fragments?
Ans.(a) Rabindranath Tagore says this in his poem, “Where the Mind is Without Fear“.
(b) Each race or community has some customs and conventions of its own. These customs and conventions prevent free communication between one community and another. These are like the domestic walls which cause narrow divisions among the people of a society.
(c) The poet’s ideal is true freedom. He wants these barriers to be pulled down. The poet wants the fullest exchange between man and man. He wants that all men should regard themselves as members of one human family. Thus only true freedom can prevent the world from being broken up into fragments
Q.5. “Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection.”
(a) Who says this? Whose tireless striving is mentioned here? (b) In what context does the speaker say this? (e) What does the poet suggest by these words?
Ans.(a) Rabindranath Tagore has said this in his poem, “Where the Mind is Without Fear“.
Tireless striving of the then of a truly free country is mentioned here by the poet.
(b) The poet is speaking here of his ideal of true freedom. In a truly free country man’s knowledge is unrestricted and his outlook is above all narrow prejudices. In such a free country, man enjoys not only political freedom but also moral and spiritual freedom.
(c) The poet says that man must make ceaseless efforts to achieve perfection. He wants men to be active at any task until they achieve perfection. Men should not be half-hearted while working at a thing; instead they should devote themselves whole-heartedly to bring it to its cherished end. Only true freedom can inspire such untiring efforts towards perfection.
Q.6. “Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit”.
(a) What is meant by the ‘clear stream of reason”? (b) What is meant by the “dreary desert sand of dead habit’? (c) Bring out the significance of the quoted lines?
Ans.(a) The ‘clear stream of reason’ means the undisturbed flow of the intellectual faculty of man. Here reason has been compared to a flowing stream. The stream remains clear so long as it flows undisturbed. In the same manner, reason remains clear if no dead custom clouds it.
(b) The “dreary desert sand of dead habit” means dry and dull habit based on meaningless customs and prejudices. A stream flowing into a sandy desert soon dries up. Similarly, the outworn customs and conventions act like a stretch of sandy desert across the path of reason and choke its natural flow.
(c) In a truly free country man’s mind is free from all prejudices and superstitions. There the flow of reason is not obstructed by any blind reverence for old customs and conventions. In other words, in true freedom, men are guided by clear reason and not by dead conventions
Q.7. State briefly the poet’s ideal of true freedom.
For what kind of freedom does the poet pray to God for his motherland, India?
Ans. The poet prays to God for true freedom for his country and countrymen. This freedom does not mean mere emancipation from foreign rule. It is the moral and spiritual freedom of man. Men of a truly free country are without fear, without narrow prejudices. They are noble. dignified and disciplined. They can acquire knowledge without any hindrance and speak out the truth without any hesitation. In a truly free country men unceasingly try to achieve perfection in the varied fields of thought and action. This is the poet’s idea of true freedom and he invokes the Supreme Father to awaken his motherland into this heaven of freedom.
Q.8. Describe the qualities of the mind of man in a truly free country.
What does the poet say about the mind of men of a truly free country?
Ans. In a truly free country, the mind of men must be fearless and must be free from all prejudices and superstitions. In such a country, the mind seeks knowledge freely. In an ideal state of freedom the mind strictly adheres to reason without paying any heed to old customs and conventions. There the human mind is sincere, outspoken, and it untiringly tries to attain perfection in every field of life. The poet also wants great adventures of the mind into boundless realms of thought and action under the divine guidance of the Supreme Father.
Q.9. How does Rabindranath describe the present state of his country?
Ans. The poet is very much dissatisfied with the present state of his country. He finds that an atmosphere of fear prevails throughout the country. The minds of the people are chained by ignorance. People also suffer under the dead weight of old, outdated customs. A thousand barriers of caste, creed and religion create disunity among the people. Ignorance and superstitions have paralysed our reason and judgement. There are a thousand barriers to knowledge. Thus the people are prevented from seeking knowledge and truth. And, even when they arrive at the truth of something, fear prevents them from openly expressing it. In short, the unfortunate people of our country have forgotten that they are human beings. They live the life of beasts under the dark shadow of fear and ignorance.
Q.10. “Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit.”
Ans. Rabindranath uses this fine comparison in his poem Where the Mind is without Fear. Every comparison has two aspects. In this comparison these two aspects are made up of two metaphors. On the one hand ‘reason has been identified with a ‘clear stream’. On the other hand dead habit’ has been identified with a dreary desert’. Thus here is a comparison between reason being smothered by outdated customs and a stream being lost in the desert sand.
Q.11. How does Rabindranath describe the domestic walls? What do they do to the world ? If the home has walls, what is the world like?
Ans. Rabindranath describes the domestic walls as ‘narrow’.
These narrow walls break up the world into fragments.
Just as the domestic walls separate the homes from one another, differences of social and religious customs keep the nations of the world aloof from one another,
Q.12. Explain in your own words the kind of freedom that Rabindranath wishes his country to achieve.
Ans. In the poem Where the Mind is without Fear, the poet prays to God to wake his country into a world of ideal freedom. The whole poem is an exposition of what the poet means by this freedom.
The poet wishes that knowledge should be free in his country. He further wishes his countrymen to be free from the dead habits of custom. In that world of freedom, truth will reign supreme and everyone will strive towards perfection. In that country of ideal freedom, reason will not be swallowed by dead customs. In that world of freedom, the people, in their thoughts and actions, will be led by God himself. This is the kind of freedom the poet wishes his country to achieve.