Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Countdown to August 15

When there is a revolution in the waiting- with body, soul and spirit in towe to fight for righteousness, justice and freedom- its magnitude cannot be imagined in its actuality. Tired, physically and mentally bruised men and women who fought for India's freedom from the British rule found inspiration from poems and songs that evoke a beautiful fervour even now.

Poems are not usually my favourite literary medium, but then, immortal poems like this one are certainly never to be missed out on:

Where the mind is without fear:

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.

- Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

India's Independence Day is nearing and as I read through Jawaharlal Nehru's masterpiece The Discovery of India, there is a mingled sense of awe, pride, understanding, sadness and yet, hope. Since a lot of bloggers were looking forward to my review of the book, here's something that would add to the excitement:

( Copied from the backcover of my book )
Princeton, New Jersey
February 18, 1950
Dear Mr. Nehru

I have read with extreme interest your marvellous book The Discovery of India. The first half of it is not easy reading for a Westerner. But it gives an understanding of the glorious intellectual and spiritual tradition of your great country. The analysis you have given in the second part of the book of the tragic influence and forced economic, moral and intellectual decline by the British rule and the vicious exploitation of the Indian people has deeply impressed me. My admiration for Gandhi's and your work for liberation through non-violence and non-cooperation has become even greater than it was already before. The inner struggle to conserve objective understanding despite the pressure of tyranny from the outside and the struggle against becoming inwardly a victim of resentment and hatred may well be unique in world history. I feel deeply grateful to you for having given me your admirable work.

With my best wishes for your important and beneficient work and with kind greetings,

Yours cordially
Albert Einstein
Please remember me kindly to your daughter *


* Nehru's daughter being referred to here is Indira Gandhi who would later go on to be Prime Minister, as would her son Rajiv Gandhi.


Heather G. said...

That's beautiful, thanks for sharing.

Kals said...

My pleasure :)


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