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3 poems on freedom / Independence Day

Freedom by Rabindranath Tagore

Freedom from fear is the freedom I claim for you my motherland! Fear, the phantom demon, shaped by your own distorted dreams;

Freedom from the burden of the ages, bending your head, breaking your back, blinding your eyes to the beckoning call of the future;

Freedom from the shackles of slumber wherewith you fasten yourself in night’s stillness, mistrusting the star that speaks of truth’s adventurous paths;

Freedom from the anarchy of destiny whole sails are weakly yielded to the blind uncertain winds, and the helm to a hand ever rigid and cold as death.

Freedom from the insult of dwelling in a puppet’s world, where movements are started through brainless wires, repeated through mindless habits, where figures wait with patience and obedience for the master of show, to be stirred into a mimicry of life.


To India by Sarojini Naidu

O YOUNG through all thy immemorial years!

Rise, Mother, rise, regenerate from thy gloom,

And, like a bride high-mated with the spheres,

Beget new glories from thine ageless womb!

The nations that in fettered darkness weep

Crave thee to lead them where great mornings break . . . .

Mother, O Mother, wherefore dost thou sleep?

Arise and answer for thy children's sake!

Thy Future calls thee with a manifold sound

To crescent honours, splendours, victories vast;

Waken, O slumbering Mother and be crowned,

Who once wert empress of the sovereign Past.


Freedom by Jayanta Mohapatra

At times, as I watch,

it seems as though my country’s body

floats down somewhere on the river.

Left alone, I grow into a

half-disembodied bamboo,

its lower part sunk

into itself on the bank.

Here, old widows and dying men

cherish their freedom,

bowing time after time in obstinate prayers.

While children scream

with this desire for freedom

to transform the world

without even laying hands on it.

In my blindness, at times I fear

I’d wander back to either of them.

In order for me not to lose face,

it is necessary for me to be alone.

Not to meet the woman and her child

in that remote village in the hills

who never had even a little rice

for their one daily meal these fifty years.

And not to see the uncaught, bloodied light

of sunsets cling to the tall white columns

of Parliament House.

In the new temple man has built nearby,

the priest is the one who knows freedom,

while God hides in the dark like an alien.

And each day I keep looking for the light

shadows find excuses to keep.

Trying to find the only freedom I know,

the freedom of the body when it’s alone.

The freedom of the silent shale, the moonless coal,

the beds of streams of the sleeping god.

I keep the ashes away, try not to wear them on my forehead.


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