Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Amma, I seek the courage to stand my ground and speak my truth regardless of how people will troll me and what might happen.
Where knowledge is free;
Please open up all the locked in and locked down and locked out zones of the world, so we can see and hear what is happening there, and people within can learn that our hearts do beat for them as well. Open up all musty rooms with festering conspiracies and stinking closets with rotting secrets and shatter our silences once and for all—let us see what must be seen and call it out for what it is.
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Keep us together—different, diverse, debating, disagreeing, but together. We are, because of each other. Remind us of our common humanity and to be humane with each other.
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
The depth of truth is a dangerous place, Amma. Please protect us as we try to walk this path of understanding and action. Please watch over us.
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
There is so much to do on every front. Replace fatigue, frustration and fear with passion, commitment and love so we might work with focus, fortitude and ferocious energy.
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Show us the beauty of patient, thoughtful, attentive and deep learning and critical thinking, and teach us to listen to each other with brains and hearts both, and to sift from an appealing feast of fantasy, grains of fact and truth, and to filter from old custom and tradition, and formulate new and better ways of being.
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action
These sinking sands are treacherous for those who will linger, whether in fear or in faith. Lift us, Amma, so we can see the world as it is and find within the space and freedom to speak of what we see and for truth and justice.
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
We, who are responsible for the vision of that ‘heaven of freedom’ and the instruction manual on how to build it, fell asleep. Wake us up, Amma. Let us recall and resume our labours.
[Posted with apologies to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore for marring his beautiful poem with my clumsy prose, just as we have let go of his dream of a heaven of freedom with our apathy. His words, which once filled me with joy and hope and dreams now make me sad as they remind me of how we have failed ourselves.]