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

Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge… At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.
– Jawaharlal Nehru
Indian Declaration of Independence, on eve of independence, August 15 1947.

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of Indian independence.

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

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

This poem is from ‘Gitanjali’ for which Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. Tagore was one of the foremost poets, writers, painters and intellectuals of India whose influence transcends regional and national frontiers. These lines speak across time and place as a deep yearning for freedom. 

And today is another opportunity to admire the work of the painter M.F. Husain. I shall celebrate India by cooking something delicious that will fill the house with the smells of cardamom and cumin, coriander and clove.

M.F. Husain, Three Dynasties, 2008-2011
Husain celebrates three ruling dynasties from India’s long and tumultuous history. He places the ancient Mauryan civilization centrally between two invading rulers, the Muslim Mughal dynasty (1525-1857) and the British Raj (1858-1947).

Traditional Indian Festivals
Husain captures the color and spirit of Indian festivals. These ancient celebrations and rituals reflect the passing of time and show the enduring role of religion and tradition in Indian culture.

Modes of Transport Husain presents the multiple journeys of India’s citizens as a metaphor for the journey of life. He captures the frenetic pace of everyday living and the disparities of the modern world.

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