Today, August 15, Independence Day is being celebrated in India. Yes, we’re proud to be Indians.
So let me start this post with one of my most favorite verses about freedom by one of the greatest poets ever, Rabindranath Tagore.
Where The Mind is Without Fear
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 awake
Though published in English in 1910, this poem by Tagore, is eternally relevant. My Mother was a great fan of his writings and I fondly remember a large photograph of Tagore which she cherished for decades, and then donated lovingly to the school she developed
A brief note about Rabindranath Tagore:
Let me share a brief background about Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941) Indian poet, philosopher, and Nobel laureate.
Born in Calcutta into a wealthy family, he wrote poetry as a child, publishing his first book at the age of 17. He was in England briefly, in 1878 to study law. Later he returned to India and was recognized as the most important and popular author of the colonial era. He wrote poetry, short stories, novels, and plays, besides composing hundreds of songs.
In 1901, Tagore established Shantiniketan, which followed the ancient “Gurukula” system of education, where students lived and studied at their Guru’s house.
In 1929, he began to paint.Though he basically wrote in Bengali, he later translated his own works into English. (Thank God!) He became a Nobel laureate in Literature in 1913 Nobel Prize and in 1915, was conferred a Knighthood by British king George V. In 1919, Tagore renounced his knighthood after the Amritsar massacre of 400 Indian demonstrators by the British.
His most famous works are: ‘Balaka’, ‘Sonar Tari’, ‘Chitali’, and ‘Gitanjali’. His selected poems ‘Sanchaita’, and selected short stories ‘Galpagucha’ were published in India 1966.
He gave us our beautiful National Anthem “Jana Gana Mana” There are so many renditions of this by different artists and they are all just as breathtaking as the original.
What is true freedom?
True freedom, being free, to me, means practicing:
- self control
- mental discipline
- tolerance of others
- unconditional love
- connecting with my inner teacher
- appreciation of everything I have
- letting go of negative beliefs and thoughts
- exercising the right of choice
- being open to abundance
- being progressive in thought and action
- being fearless
- self-expression and speaking up
- consciously giving my best at all times
- not holding grudges, ever
- living in the present moment
- giving back to my society in every way I can
- being true to myself and others I connect with
- trusting my intuition
- never lose hope
- making the right choices
I am proud to be an Indian on August 15 and every day of my life. Even today, when I hear “The Pledge” recited at my son’s school, my eyes fill with tears.
India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters.
I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage.
I shall always strive to be worthy of it.
I shall give my parents, teachers and all elders respect and treat everyone with courtesy.
To my country and my people, I pledge my devotion. In their well being and prosperity alone, lies my happiness.
Today I wish for freedom from corruption and addiction. True independence will be when every child has the right to three nutritious meals a day and education. When the girl child is considered just as important as the male and given equal opportunity.
Okay! Now lets grab a box of tissues and watch this: The Silent National Anthem
Happy Independence Day!
I would like to share a wonderful quote:
“Catch yourself when your mind starts with limiting beliefs or any other negative thoughts that work against you. Let the negative thoughts rise to the surface and evaporate by reminding yourself that what you want is going to happen.”
Question for you:
What does freedom mean to you?
(Please share in the comments)