Where the mind is without fear Poem: Summary meanings Answers

Where the mind is without fear: “Where the Mind is Without Fear” is a poem by Rabindranath Tagore, a Nobel Prize-winning Indian poet, playwright, and songwriter. The poem expresses the idea of a perfect world where the mind is free from fear and the head is held high, where knowledge is free, and all people have equal rights. The poet calls for the dawn of a new India where individuals are free to think and express themselves without fear of persecution or oppression. The poem is considered a symbol of hope and inspiration for the people of India and is widely regarded as one of the finest pieces of Indian poetry.


“Where the Mind is Without Fear” is a poem by Rabindranath Tagore, in which he expresses the wish for his country (India) where people have the freedom to think and express themselves without fear of oppression; where knowledge and wisdom are valued, and where love and unity are the guiding principles of society The poem speaks of a future where people are free from the shackles of ignorance and superstition The poem emphasizes the need for a society where people are free to pursue knowledge and spirituality, and where individuals are valued for their thoughts and ideas rather than their social status. The poem also speaks of a country where people of different cultures and religions can live together in peace and harmony. The overarching message is one of hope for a better future and the need for individuals to strive towards creating a society free of fear and tyranny where every person can reach their full potential, free from social and political constraints.

Textbook Solutions


A. Answer these questions with reference to the context.

  1. Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
    a. What does ‘without fear’ mean here?
    b. Whose ‘head’ is being referred to here?
    c. What does the poet refer to when he uses the word ‘where’?
  2. Where the world has not been broken up into fragments…
    a. What kind of ‘fragments’ are being referred here?
    b. Who breaks the world?
    c. What causes these breaks to occur?
  3. Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
    a. Why has the word ‘clear’ been used to describe the stream of reason?
    b. What causes reason to ‘lose its way’?
    c. Why have habits been described as ‘dead’?


  1. a. It means that the minds of the people are free to think their own thoughts. It means that people do not fear that they will be punished for their ideas.
    b. The head of every Indian is being referred to.
    c. The poet refers to a free India, which would be like a ‘heaven of freedom.’
  2. a. These fragments are the groups of people in India who are different due to their religion, caste, creed or class.
    b. ‘Narrow domestic walls’ here break the world. These are the walls of differences and division between people.
    c. Ignorance, hatred, narrow mindedness, prejudice causes these breaks.
  3. a. The word clear suggests freshness and purity. When reason is not tainted by hatred and habitual thinking, it remains clear.
    b. Habitual thought and behaviour cause reason to lose its way.
    c. They are described as dead because they do not allow a person to grow.

B. Answer these questions.

  1. What does the poet mean by ‘ever widening thought and action’?
  2. Describe the traits of character that the poet wishes to see in his countrymen.
  3. What does the poet mean by ‘let my country awake’?
  4. How would the poet like his countrymen to gain perfection?
  5. What kinds of freedom does the poet mention in the poem?
  6. Describe the ‘heaven’ imagined by the poet?


  1. He refers to action that helps the country and her people to grow in all respects. It is thought that it broadens the horizons of the people.
  2. He wants his countrymen to be fearless, proud, knowledgeable, united, broad minded and hard working.
  3. He means that he would like his country to achieve the kind of goals that he describes. He would like India to wake up in heaven of freedom.
  4. He would like his people to strive tirelessly for perfection.
  5. He speaks about the freedom of thought and action.
  6. The heaven he describes is free. The people live there without fear of anyone. They are proud of their beliefs and they stand for them fearlessly. They work hard to gain perfection and do not follow old habits which can only lead them towards death and stagnation. They are free to learn and gain knowledge and act in a way that they can bring honour to their country.

Poetry Appreciation

A. Identify the metaphors used in the poem.

Answer: The metaphors are ‘clear stream of reason’ and ‘dreary desert sand of dead habit’.

B. How does the poet use personification in the poem?

Answer: The poet refers to tireless striving as though it had human qualities and it could stretch its arms towards perfection. He also refers to reason as though it were human and could lose its way due to habitual actions.

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