Friday, July 15, 2016

Where The Mind is Without  Fear         By      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.
(In the form of a prayer this poem is an excellent poetical composition of Rabindiranath Tagore.The poet politely prays to God for leading his nation to be united.He wants that his nation must not be broken up into narrow domestic walls mean our nation should not be divided into castes and communities.The poet wants to see the knowledge free. Like a clear stream our reason should not lose its way into bad habits. Our mind should be by the God and in this state the poet wishes his country to be awakened.)


A Hero
R. K. Narayan
For Swami events took an unexpected turn. Father l
ooked over the newspaper
he was reading under the hall lamp and said, “Swami
, listen to this: ‘News is to
hand of the bravery of a village lad who,, while re
turning home by the jungle
path, came face to face with a tiger...’” The paragra
ph described the fight the
boy had with the tiger and his flight up a tree, wh
ere he stayed for half a day
till some people came that way and killed the tiger
. After reading it through,
Father looked at Swami fixedly and asked, “What do
you say to that?”
Swami said, “I think he must have been a very stron
g and grown-up person,
not at all a boy. How could a boy fight a tiger?”
“You think you are wiser than the newspaper?” Fathe
r sneered. “A man may
have the strength of an elephant and yet be a cowar
d: whereas another may
have the strength of a straw, but if he has courage
he can do anything.
Courage is everything, strength and age are not imp
ortant.”
Swami disputed the theory. “How can it be, Father?
Suppose I have all the
courage, what can I do if a tiger should attack me?
“Leave alone strength, can you prove you have coura
ge? Let me see if you can
sleep alone tonight in my office room.”
A frightful proposition, Swami thought. He had alw
ays slept beside his granny
in the passage, and any change in this arrangement
kept him trembling and
awake all night. He hoped at first that his father
was only joking. He mumbled
weakly, “Yes,” and tried to change the subject; sai
d very loudly and with a
great deal of enthusiasm, “We are going to admit ev
en elders in our cricket
club hereafter. We are buying brand-new bats and b
alls. Our captain has
asked me to tell you...”
“We’ll see about it later,” Father cut in. “You mu
st sleep alone hereafter.”
Swami realized that the matter had gone beyond his
control: from a challenge
it had become a plain command; he knew his father’s
tenacity at such
moments.
“From the first of next month I’ll sleep alone, Fat
her.”
“No, you must do it now. It is disgraceful sleepin
g beside granny or mother like
a baby. You are in the second form and I don’t at
all like the way you are being
brought up,” he said, and looked at his wife, who w
as rocking the cradle.
“Why do you look at me while you say it?” she asked
. “I hardly know anything
about the boy.”
“No, no, I don’t mean you,” Father said.
“If you mean that your mother is spoiling him, ell
her so; and don’t look at
me,” she said, and turned away.
Swami’s father sat gloomily gazing at the newspaper
on his lap. Swami rose
silently and tiptoed away to his bed in the passage
. Granny was sitting up in
her bed, and remarked, “Boy, are you already feelin
g sleepy? Don’t you want a
story?” Swami made wild gesticulations to silence h
is granny, but that good
lady saw nothing. So Swami threw himself on his be
d and pulled the blanket
over his face.
Granny said, “Don’t cover your face. Are you reall
y very sleepy?” Swami leant
over and whispered, “Please, please, shut up, grann
y. Don’t talk to me, and
don’t let anyone call me even if the house is on fi
re. If I don’t sleep at once I
shall perhaps die – “ He turned over, curled, and s
nored under the blanket till
he found his blanket pulled away.
Presently Father came and stood over him. “Swami,
get up,” he said. He
looked like an apparition in the semi-darkness of t
he passage, which was lit by
a cone of light from the hall. Swami stirred and g
roaned as if in sleep. Father
said, “Get up, Swami,” Granny pleaded, “Why do you
disturb him?”
“Get up Swami,” he said for the fourth time, and Sw
ami got up. Father rolled
up his bed, took it under his arm, and said, “Come
with me.” Swami looked at
his granny, hesitated for a moment, and followed hi
s father into the office
room. On the way he threw a look of appeal at his
mother and she said, “Why
do you take him to the office room? He can sleep in
the hall, I think.”
“I don’t think so,” Father said, and Swami slunk be
hind him with bowed head
“Let me sleep in the hall, Father,” Swami pleaded.
“Your office room is very
dusty and there may be scorpions behind your law bo
oks.”
“There are no scorpions, little fellow. Sleep on t
he bench if you like.”
“Can I have a lamp burning in the room?”
“No. You must learn not to be afraid of darkness.
It is only a question of habit.
You must cultivate good habits.”
“I’ll you at least leave the door open?”
“All right. But promise you will not roll up your
bed and go to your granny’s
side at night. If you do it, mind you, I will make
you the laughing-stock of your
school.”
Swami felt cut off from humanity. He was pained an
d angry. He didn’t like the
strain of cruelty he saw in his father’s nature. H
e hated the newspaper for
printing the tiger’s story. He wished that the tig
er hadn’t spared the boy, who
didn’t appear to be a boy after all, but a monster...
As the night advanced and the silence in the house
deepened, his heart beat
faster. He remembered all the stories of devils an
d ghosts he had heard in his
life. How often had his chum Mani seen the devil i
n the banyan tree at his
street-end. And what about poor Munisami’s father,
who spat out blood
because the devil near the river’s edge slapped hi
s cheek when he was
returning home late one night. A ray of light from
the street lamp strayed in
and cast shadows on the wall. Through the stillnes
s all kinds of noises reached
his ears – the ticking of the clock, rustle of tree
s, snoring sounds, and some
vague night insects humming. He covered himself so
completely that he could
hardly breathe. Every moment he expected the devil
s to come up to carry him
away; there was the instance of his old friend in t
he fourth class who suddenly
disappeared and was said to have been carried off b
y a ghost to Siam or
Nepal...
Swami hurriedly got up and spread his bed under the
bench and crouched
there. It seemed to be a much safer place, more co
mpact and reassuring. He
shut his eyes tight and encased himself in his blan
ket once again and unknown
to himself fell asleep, and in sleep was racked wit
h nightmares A tiger was
chasing him. His feet stuck to the ground. He des
perately tried to escape but
his feet would not move; the tiger was at his back,
and he could hear its claws
scratch the ground. Scratch, scratch, and then a
light thud......Swami tried to
open his eyes, but his eyelids would not open and t
he nightmare continued. It
threatened to continue forever. Swami groaned in d
espair.
With a desperate effort he opened his eyes. He put
his hand out to feel his
granny’s presence at his side, as was his habit, bu
t he only touched the
wooden leg of the bench. And his lonely state came
back to him. He sweated
with fright. And now what was this rustling? He
moved to the edge of the
bench and stared into the darkness. Something was
moving down. He lay
gazing at it in horror. His end had come. He real
ised that the devil would
presently pull him out and tear him, and so why sho
uld he wait? As it came
nearer he crawled out from under the bench, hugged
it with all his might, and
used his teeth on it like a mortal weapon......
“Aiyo! Something has bitten me,” went forth an agon
ized, thundering cry and
was followed by a heavy tumbling and falling amidst
furniture. In a moment
Father, cook, and a servant came in, carrying light
.
And all three of them fell on the burglar who lay a
midst the furniture with a
bleeding ankle......
Congratulations were showered on Swami next day. H
is classmates looked at
him with respect, and his teacher patted his back.
The headmaster said that
he was a true scout. Swami had bitten into the fle
sh of one of the most
notorious house-breakers of the district and the po
lice were grateful to him for
it.
They Inspector said, “Why don’t you join the police
when you are grown up?”
Swami said for the sake of politeness, “Certainly,
yes,” though he had quite
made up his mind to be an engine driver, a railway
guard, or a bus conductor
later in life.
When he returned home from the club that night, Fat
her asked, “Where is the
boy?”
“He is asleep.”

See the summary of the poem

Tryst With Destiny         Jawaharlal Nehru. 

Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity. At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her successes, and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future ? Freedom and power bring responsibility. The responsibility rests upon this Assembly, a sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India. Before the birth of freedom, we have endured all the pains of labour and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now. That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we might fulfil the pledges we have so often taken and the One we shall take today. The service of lndia means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over. And so we have to labour and to work and work hard to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for anyone of them to imagine that it can live apart. Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is disaster in this one world that can no longer be split into isolated fragments. To the people of India, whose representatives we are, we appeal to join us' with faith and confidence in this great adventure. This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill-will or blaming others. We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell. I beg to move, sir, that it be resolved that: After the last stroke of midnight, all members of the Constituent Assembly present on this occasion, do take the following pledge: (1)At this solemn moment, when the people of India, through suffering and sacrifice, have secured freedom, I a member of the Constituent Assembly of India, do dedicate myself in all humility to the service of India and her people to the end that this ancient land attain her rightful place in the world and make her full and willing contribution to the promotion of world peace and the welfare of mankind. (2)Members who are not present on this occasion do take the pledge (with such verbal changes as the president may prescribe) at the time they next attend a session of the Assembly.
Reference: Constituent Assembly Debates.

(Preface to the Mahabharat)   C. Rajgopalachari.


 IT is not an exaggeration to say that the persons and incidents portrayed in the great literature of a people influence national character no less potently than the actual heroes and events enshrined in its history. It may be claimed that the former play an even more important part in the formation of ideals, which give to character its impulse of growth. In the moving history of our land, from time immemorial great minds have been formed and nourished and touched to heroic deeds by the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In most Indian homes, children formerly learnt these immortal stories as they learnt their mother tongue at the mother's knee. And the sweetness and sorrows of Sita and Draupadi, the heroic fortitude of Rama and Arjuna and the loving fidelity of Lakshmana and Hanuman became the stuff of their young philosophy of life. The growing complexity of life has changed the simple pattern of early home life. Still, there are few in our land who do not know the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Though the stories come to them so embroidered with the garish fancies of the Kalakshepam (devotional meeting where an expert scholar and singer tells a story to his audience) and the cinema as to retain but little of the dignity and approach to truth of Vyasa or Valmiki. Vyasa's Mahabharata is one of our noblest heritages. And it is my cherished belief that to hear it faithfully told is to love it and come under its elevating influence. It strengthens the soul and drives home, as nothing else does, the vanity of ambition and the evil and futility of anger and hatred. The realities of life are idealised by genius and given the form that makes drama, poetry or great prose. Since literature is closely related to life, so long as the human family is divided into nations, literature cannot escape the effects of such division. But the highest literature transcends regionalism and through it, when we are properly attuned, we realise the essential oneness of the human family. The Mahabharata is of this class. It belongs to the world and not only to India. To the people of India, indeed, this epic has been an unfailing and perennial source of spiritual strength. Learnt at the mother's knee with reverence and love, it has inspired great men to heroic deeds as well as enabled the humble to face their trials with fortitude and faith. The Mahabharata was composed many thousand years ago. But generations of gifted reciters have added to Vyasa's original a great mass of material. All the floating literature that was thought to be worth preserving, historical, geographical, legendary political, theological and philosophical, of nearly thirty centuries, found a place in it. In those days, when there was no printing, interpolation in a recognised classic seemed to correspond to inclusion in the national library. Divested of these accretions, the Mahabharata is a noble poem possessing in a supreme degree the characteristics of a true epic, great and fateful movement, heroic characters and stately diction. The characters in the epic move with the vitality of real life. It is difficult to find anywhere such vivid portraiture on so ample a canvas. Bhishma, the perfect knight; the venerable Drona; the vain but chivalrous Karna; Duryodhana, whose perverse pride is redeemed by great courage in adversity; the high souled Pandavas with godlike strength as well as power of suffering; Draupadi, most unfortunate of queens; Kunti, the worthy mother of heroes; Gandhari, the devoted wife and sad mother of the wicked sons of Dhritarashtra, these are some of the immortal figures on that crowded, but never confused, canvas. Then there is great Krishna himself, most energetic of men, whose divinity scintillates through a cloud of very human characteristics. His high purposefulness pervades the whole epic. One can read even a translation and feel the over whelming power of the incomparable vastness and sublimity of the poem. The Mahabharata discloses a rich civilisation and a highly evolved society, which though of an older world, strangely resembles the India of our own time, with the same values and ideals. India was divided into a number of independent kingdoms. Occasionally, one king, more distinguished or ambitious than the rest, would assume the title of emperor, securing the acquiescence of other royalties, and signalised it by a great sacrificial feast. The adherence was generally voluntary. The assumption of imperial title conferred no overlordship. The emperor was only first among his peers. The art of war was highly developed and military prowess and skill were held in high esteem. We read in the Mahabharata of standardised phalanxes and of various tactical movements. There was an accepted code of honorable warfare, deviations from which met with reproof among Kshatriyas. The advent of the Kali age is marked by many breaches of these conventions in the Kurukshetra battle, on account of the bitterness of conflict, frustration and bereavements. Some of the most impressive passages in the epic center round these breaches of dharma. The population lived in cities and villages. The cities were the headquarters of kings and their household and staff. There were beautiful palaces and gardens and the lives led were cultured and luxurious. There was trade in the cities, but the mass of the people were agriculturists. Besides this urban and rural life, there was a very highly cultured life in the seclusion of forest recesses, centerd round ascetic teachers. These ashramas kept alive the bright fires of learning and spiritual thought. Young men of noble birth eagerly sought education at these ashramas. World-weary aged went there for peace. These centers of culture were cherished by the rulers of the land and not the proudest of them would dare to treat the members of the hermitages otherwise than with respect and consideration. Women were highly honored and entered largely in the lives of their husbands and sons. The caste system prevailed, but intercaste marriages were not unknown. Some of the greatest warriors in the Mahabharata were brahmanas. The Mahabharata has moulded the character and civilisation of one of the most numerous of the world's people. How did it fulfil, how is it still continuing to fulfil, this function? By its gospel of dharma, which like a golden thread runs through all the complex movements in the epic. By its lesson that hatred breeds hatred, that covetousness and violence lead inevitably to ruin, that the only real conquest is in the battle against one's lower nature.

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