Std 10 English Lesson 1.1 Where the Mind is Without Fear questions and answers

Chapter 1 Where the mind is without fear

Std 10 English Balbharathi Lesson 1.1

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.

– Rabindranath Tagore

About the poet:

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was the author of Gitanjali and its ‘profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse’. He became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. This poem is one of his vastly read and discussed poem. It was originally composed in Bengali and later he himself translated it into English. This poem is from his Nobel Prize winning anthology ‘Gitanjali’. Tagore lived during the time when India was ruled by the British. In this poem, besides political freedom from British, Tagore also appeals to God for social, educational and economic freedom for the people of India.

Meanings:

head held high: walk without fear or walk with pride and self respect

fragments: pieces

domestic: pertaining to family

narrow domestic walls : division on the basis of religion, caste, class and colour in societies

   and between countries of the world.

tireless striving : continuous efforts and struggle.

stretches its arm : aims at achieving a goal.

deary: dull

dead habit : old traditional rituals and customs that are harmful

ever-widening : forever broadening one’s outlook.

heaven of freedom : condition of total freedom of good thoughts, good words and good deeds, while respecting those of others.

      

Central Idea:

This poem is a prayer to Almighty God asking to grant the country (India), freedom. It brings out not only Rabindranath Tagore’s profound love for God but also his deep patriotic feeling.

      

Summary:

Line 1-2:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,

Where knowledge is free.

Through these lines we can realize that the poet is dreaming about a place where there is no fear in people’s minds. They are walking/working with their heads held high i.e. they are proud of themselves and are not afraid of anything or anyone. He also wishes for a place where knowledge is free and there are no restrictions. All people irrespective of class caste religion, race or colour have free access to knowledge. The poet also means that knowledge is acquired freely, that is, the student studies what it wants and the way it wants to. The student should not be forced into rote learning.

Line 3-4:

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls

Here the poet wants the whole world to be united as one nation. He portrays a border less world where people can move about freely. Nations are not fighting against nations for narrow and petty reasons.

Line 5-6:

Where words come out from the depth of truth

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection

The poet dreams of a nation where everybody is open and not secretive. The citizens speak and act from their heart and they work hard without prejudice, ever striving to not only perfect them but encouraging others also towards perfection. This will eventually lead to love and harmony among the citizens of the nation and the nation as a whole will march towards perfection.

Line 7-8:

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way,

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit.

The poets wants the people to have clear thinking (reasoning), like the clear waters of a stream and not let their thinking flow towards dreary desert, that is, have blind beliefs and superstition. In other words, he wants people to have a logical mind which will lead them to perfection and not towards dead habits like that of the dry desert sand.

Line 9-11

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 poet is praying to God and asking him to lead the minds of people towards a broad minded thought and action and not be stagnated by narrow minded beliefs. He is pleading with God to awaken the people of his country to a heaven of freedom.

         

Warming Up!

1. Pair up with your partner and match the terms with their given meanings.

Column ‘A’ Column ‘B’
(1) Humanism. (a) Concern about and action aimed at protecting the environment.
(2) Patriotism (b) Holding liberal views
(3) Internationalism (c) Quality of being patriotic : vigorous support for one’s country.
(4) Liberalism (d) State or process of being international.
(5) Environmentalism (e) A rationalistic outlook towards humans rather than a divine or supernatural one.

Ans.  1 – e;                  2 – c;               3 – d;               4 – b;               5 – a

    

2. Poems in English are of different types.

Sonnet

Epic

Limerick

Lyric

Ballad

Humorous

Elegy

Idyll

Free verse

Taking the help of a dictionary/internet guess and write the type of poem against its description.

1. A long story-poem, often mythical epic.

2. A short story poem with a message ballad

3. A poem of 14 lines sonnet

4. A song-like poem lyric

5. A poem with no uniformity of rhyme, rhythm etc. free verse

6. A poem set in picturesque, rustic background idyll

7. A sad poem, lamenting death of a loved one elegy

8. A 5-line short funny poem with rhyme-scheme aabba. Limerick

9. A poem written, just to create humour humorous

ENGLISH WORKSHOP

1. In your notebook write down lines from the poem as a proof for the following.

1. Tagore wishes for a nation where people are truthful.

Ans. Line from the poem: Where words come out from the depth of truth.

2. The poet would like everyone to work hard to reach their goal and in the long run to reach perfection.

Ans. Line from the poem: Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection.

3. The poet wishes that everyone in his country holds his head high in dignity.

Ans. Line from the poem: Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high.

4. The poet dreams of a nation where knowledge should be free to all.

Ans. Line from the poem: Where knowledge is free.

5. The poem is a ‘prayer’.

Ans. Line from the poem: (i) where the mind is led forward by Thee.

       (ii) Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

2. Read the columns carefully and match the expressions with their meanings.

Column ‘A’ Column ‘B’
1. The head is held high a. A fearless person
2. Narrow domestic walls b. Sincerity of heart
3. Knowledge is free c. A person with self respect and proud of possessing it
4. Depth of Truth d. Narrow mindedness
5. Mind is without fear e. Education is given to all
6. Stretches its arms f. Dried, infertile land of sands
7. Clear stream of reason g. Clear thinking
8. Dead habits h. Aim at perfection
9. Ever widening thought and action i. Broadening the outlook and attitude

Ans: 1-c;      2-d;         3-e;        4-b;      5-a;      6-h;      7-g;      8-f;      9-i

3. (A) Answer the following questions in your own words.

(a) How is the world broken into fragments?

Ans. Our world is broken into fragments on the basis of religion, caste, class, customs, rituals, traditions and colour in societies and between countries of the world.

(b) Explain what the ‘tireless striving’ should, be for.

Ans.‘Tireless striving’ means continuous efforts and struggle aiming towards perfection.

(c) ‘Where come out from the depth of truth.’ Explain in your own words.

Ans. The words spoken by an individual should come straight from the heart without being afraid of any consequences.

(d) Who is ‘Thee’ in the poem? What does the poet appeal to ‘Thee’ to do?

Ans. ‘Thee’ is referred to ‘God’ by the poet. The poet appeals to God to awaken his country into a heaven experiencing true freedom of good thoughts, good words and good action.

(e) What qualities does the poet wish to inculcate in his countrymen?

Ans. The poet wishes to inculcate the qualities of hard work and broadmindedness in his countrymen.

(f) What does the poet pray to the Almighty for?

Ans. Rabindranath Tagore pleads with the Almighty to awaken his countrymen into a heaven of freedom having good thoughts, good words and good deeds.

(g) What are ‘reason’ and ‘dead habit’ compared to?

Ans. Reason is like clear stream and ‘dead habit’ is like dreary desert sand.

(h) What does the poet wish for?

Ans. The poet wishes to awaken his country into a heaven of freedom having good thoughts, good words and good deeds.

(B) Write in your notebook your own response and justify, where needed.

(a) Is the poem a prayer for India alone?

Ans. No, this poem is a universal prayer that reflects a every citizen’s wish for his country.

(b) What should the words we speak reflect?

Ans. The words we speak should always reflect integrity, honesty and truth.

(c) What should people keep on widening? How can it be done?

Ans. People should keep on widening their thoughts and actions and this can be done by a mind which fearless and head held high.

(d) From what darkness of night should our nation awaken?

Ans. Our nation should arise from the darkness of ignorance, old traditional rituals and customs and division based on religion, caste, colour, race and class.

(e) What attributes of Rabindranath Tagore does the poem (prayer) reflect?

Ans. The poem reflects the following attributes of Rabindranath Tagore’s:

patriotism;

concern for his countrymen;

faith in God, clear thinking;

broad mindedness;

love for truth, education, good thoughts and deeds;

respect for other’s freedom.

strong disapproval to ignorance, old traditional rituals and customs.

his opposition to division based on religion, caste, colour, race and class.

(f) What effect does the repetition of the word ‘where’ at the beginning of each line?

Ans. The repetition of the word ‘where’ points out to the place – that is our country India where Tagore wants God to show His mercy.

4. Read the poem carefully and complete the table after the discussion in pairs.

One is done for you.

Concepts in the poem Present situation Expected/ideal situation
(1) mind mind is full of fear fearless mind
(2) head Head is downcast Head is held high
(3) knowledge Knowledge imparted to few Knowledge is free
(4) words Words are suppressed by fear words come out from the depth of truth
(5) habit Dead habit People have logical thinking
(6) thought and action Narrow thinking and superstitious beliefs Broad minded thought and action

5. (A) Complete the following sentences using your own interpretation.

1. When the mind is without fear and head unbowed, we enjoy total freedom.

2. When knowledge is free, every citizen enjoys the right to education and learning.

3. We can prevent social injustice when we pull down discriminatory walls of caste, class, religion etc.

4. Constant effort and strife leads to perfection.

5. Logical thinking and reasoning can put a stop to superstition.

6. Tagore appeals to God to make his country a heaven where people can walk and work freely with their heads held high.

(B) Fill in the blanks.

1. Students should keep themselves aloof from superstitious beliefs.

2. When knowledge is free everyone will be literate.

3. It is a social duty of every student of modern world to uproot narrow-mindedness from societies.

4. Students must develop broad outlook and attitudes.

5. In the world of sycophancy, students must have self respect.

6. Find out the examples of ‘Metaphor’ from the poem.

narrow domestic walls

clear stream of reason

dreary desert sand of dead habit

7. Almost every line of the poem begins with the word ‘Where’ and it expects the idealistic country and countrymen. Now work in a group of six students and compose your poem regarding ‘Ideal School’. Begin your lines with the word ‘Where’ . . . . .

8. Read the poem. Write an Appreciation of the poem in about 12 to 15 sentences with the help of the following points.

Appreciation of a Poem

The title of the poem: ‘Where the mind is without fear…..’

The poet: Rabindranath Tagore

Rhyme scheme: The poem is written in free verse without any rhyme scheme.

Favourite line/lines: ‘Into the heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake’. I like this line because it is a prayer asking God for freedom for my country.

Theme/Central idea: This poem is a prayer to Almighty God asking to grant the country (India), freedom. It brings out not only Rabindranath Tagore’s profound love for God but also his deep patriotic feeling.

Figure of speech: Personification – ‘Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection’.

Special Features (Type of the poem, language, tone, implied meaning, etc.): This is a patriotic poem. It is extremely thought provoking and inspirational. It invokes a strong feeling of hard work and progress of the country.

Why I like/don’t like the poem: I like the poem as it brings out the patriotic feeling on anyone who reads it..

9. Imagine that you have to deliver a speech on the occasion of ‘Independence Day’ or the ‘Republic Day’ in the school assembly. Prepare a speech to deliver on ‘India of my dreams’

Use the following steps:

Greeting and salutation

Self Introduction

Introduction of the topic

Elaboration of the topic with examples

Conclusion

Thanking audience

10. Read the short story written by Rabindranath Tagore ‘The Kabuliwala’ or ‘The Home Coming.’

Visit the website and collect more information about Rabindranath Tagore’s life and work.

Figures of Speech in the poem –  Where the mind is without fear

Alliteration:

head held high

deary desert of sand of dead habit

Metaphor:

narrow domestic walls

clear stream of reason

dreary desert sand of dead habit

Personification:

Where tireless striving stretches its arm towards perfection.

      

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