A Tribute to Tagore in the Time of COVID-19

In this time of COVID-19 let us recall that poem of Tagore which was a clarion call for fearlessness, adherence to reason, universal humanism and empathy for “Others” who are not us.  

In this tribute to Tagore I have elaborated Tagore’s original lines (in red, italics and underlined) to emphasize that nothing much has changed in the world. George Floyd’ death in USA and Jamlo Makdam’s death in India brings out the bitter truth that Tagore’s lament is still valid.

Let us have a world

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

Where any nation state does not lord over others

Where aggression is not justified by patriotism

Where visas are not used to deny a human being to meet a loved one

                      Where knowledge is free;

Where science is not locked down in private enclosures

Where books are not burned by priests of “Other Gods”

Where beliefs do not banish logics

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;

Where race, caste, tribes, color, language and gods do not create strangers to us

Where words come out from the depth of truth;

Where truth evolves and not handed down

             Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;

Where innovation rules, ideas confront ideas, paradigm changes;

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;

Where a child is not to afraid call out an Emperor naked

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

Where humans can reach for space and brings and an end to its childhood on Earth


The last line is a tribute to Arthur C Clarke’s Childhood’s End