Tagore was a lover of human freedom. Influenced by the western liberalism, Tagore opined that freedom of a nation will provide ample scope to its citizens to express their view openly. His idea on freedom contained the following things. Enlightenment of soul through self-realization:
Freedom will provide opportunity to attain enlightenment of soul. It is only because by pursuing a goal in an atmosphere of freedom, one will get scope to realize one’s self. That self-realization will enlighten the soul and illumine it.
Political freedom accompanied by spiritual freedom:
Tagore envisaged that political freedom is not freedom unless it is accompanied by spiritual freedom. Spiritual freedom is the guiding force behind political freedom. It will show right path to an individual in realizing his political goal. The same is also applicable in case of a nation too. Freedom, according to Tagore, has a spiritual root. It includes freedom of expression and freedom of conscience. Thus, his concept of political freedom was a spiritualized one like Gandhi, where the use of force will suppress the legitimate demands of the people creating frustration in their mind. His ‘Geetanjali’ reflects his idea of freedom thus.
“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;
Regulation of Almighty in guiding the soul:
Tagore had great faith in God. The spiritualism within him prompted him to say that the Almighty guides the soul of a human being. He changes the civil mind of a man (or a race) and enlightens his soul. To him “The turning of the wheel of fortune will compel the British one day to give up their British empire.”
Comprehensive social and cultural growth:
Tagore viewed that freedom will lead to ‘the comprehensive social and cultural growth. For that growth, he never accepted the idea of either the Moderates or Extremists. To him, the Moderates failed in revealing the real worth of Indian culture while the Extremists put emphasis on techniques of action being unmindful of Indian social customs and traditions. Thus, both the ways were rejected by Tagore for social and cultural growth.
To pursue freedom, Tagore needed self-government for India. Through that, the country will attain enlightenment. It will lead the country on the path of progress. Self-government is the medicine to cure all the political ailments. He therefore, pleaded for the freedom of India; China and Siam.
Fundamental claims of Indian humanity and independence:
Tagore raised fundamental claims of recognizing Indian humanity and told the British authority to free India. When Gandhiji launched Civil Disobedience Movement, Rabindranath Tagore appealed the British to free India from their clutches. Thus, he pleaded for the mutual friendship and co-operation among the people of India and England.
Freedom of individual and freedom of nation:
Tagore wanted freedom of individual and freedom of nation. Without one, the other is incomplete. This will provide opportunity to the individuals to see one within himself and within the world. This will help an individual also to project himself in the midst of May. That will be the lasting impact of freedom on mankind.Tagore not only wanted political freedom but he wanted the freedom of ‘an individual too. Freedom, to him, is to illumine the soul and an individual to make him feel that he was a component part of the great creation of God where freedom pervades.