Where the Mind is Without Fear

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore. Photo courtesy of  Wikipedia .

Rabindranath Tagore. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Editorial Note: “Where the mind is Without Fear” by Rabindranath Tagore is one of his vastly read and discussed poems.  It was originally composed in Bengali possibly in 1900 under the title “Prarthana”, meaning prayer. It appeared in the volume called ‘Naibedya’ in 1901. Later in 1911 Tagore himself translated the Bengali poem into English and that translation appeared as poem 35 in his Nobel winning anthology “Gitanjali” (Song Offerings) published by the Indian Society, London in 1912.

The National Seminar on Jesuit Education began our January meeting with this poem. How might reflecting on our common mission with this poem in mind enhance how we boldly and prophetically embody our Jesuit Catholic identity across the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities?


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