Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti: Shashi Tharoor lends voice for anthem, recites Tagore’s Where The Mind is Without Fear – art and culture

A strong believer of the uniting power of the arts and culture, parliamentarian and renowned author Shashi Tharoor has said that culture builds bridges, not walls.

Tharoor recently lent his voice to a short music video for Nobel Laureate, poet, polymath, author Rabindranath Tagore’s 159th birth anniversary that features an emotional rendition of the Indian National Anthem. Tharoor is strong in his recital of another of Rabindranath Tagore works, “Where The Mind Is Without Fear” which appears towards the end. The anthem has been sung by playwright and Tagore fusion singer Isheeta Ganguly.

Where the Mind is Without Fear – Rabindranath Tagore

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.

Taking to his Twitter, Tharoor wrote, “Yes, today, Rabindra Jayanti, is a perfect day for this tribute to Gurudev RabindranathTagore.”


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According to Tharoor, “our minds are currently gripped by fear of the unknown, of possible attack by the virus; fear has led to the demonisation of certain of our own citizens, either because of their appearance or their religion. The Tagore verse speaks of India transcending such fears and narrow divisions to a broader self-realisation.”


Asked how the arts and culture act as unifying forces in difficult times, Tharoor said, “Arts and culture build bridges, not walls. They help us to realise what unites us rather than divides us. They expand our minds beyond petty concerns to larger aspirations. Great art is always universal; it does not discriminate or demonize.”


Tharoor also underlined the need to utilise the nation’s symbols – like the National Anthem – to unite in. “It’s important to remind everyone that India, indeed, belongs to everyone,” he said.

(With inputs from IANS)

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