Tagore and then some…

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

We picked the wrong National Anthem. How much better this sounds.

I picked up the Vol-3 of the Tagore Omnibus (Rupa publications) a couple of days ago. Has a few of Tagore’s essays on Nationalism, besides his poetry, short stories, and the novel The Home And The World (“Ghare Baire”, translated by Surendranath Tagore). Read the first essay on Nationalism yesterday. Thought provoking, and so apt for our times.


Tagore apart, I am still tripping on Western Classical. Can’t thank Wikipedia enough. Such a joy to be able to access so much with such ease. It is almost as if a whole new world has been opened.

Have also been listening to a fair bit of Carnatic, of late. A friend of mine, Manikantan, doing his P.hd in the US, is my music djinn. Evey now and again, he uploads a bunch of stuff for his bandwidth constrained friend to download in small instalments. Of late, it’s mostly been Western Classical and Carnatic. Suits my current “An equal music” hangover to the T. Why do you say, “to the T?”

The Carnatic song I am tripping on right now is “Teliyaleru Rama”. Semmangudi with MS. Translation below, courtesy Prof Shiv Kumar’s Carnatic Music Audio Archive


O Rama, we do not (“leru”) know (“theliya”) the path (“margamunu”) of devotion (“bhakthi”)!

Men in this whole world (“ilanantata”) only roam (“diruguchunu”) about in tension all over (“kaluvarincheru”) without being aware of the path of devotion.

They get up (“lechi”) at dawn (“vega”), attend to their ablutions, wear the emblems of creed and count the beads appearing to be spiritual and religious, but busy with their working out the strategy for making money by hook or crook

Posted on December 18, 2005, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The argumentative Indian has some nice insights on Tagore. And you’re right we did take the wrong anthem. ‘Where the mind’ is perhaps my favourite poem of all time

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