This I Believe

Gopolakrishnan, R.


  • R.Gopolakrishnan describes his awareness, upon coming to America, that the beliefs and dreams of Americans are the same as those of the people of India and that the desire for peace, liberty, brotherhood and cooperation are not limited by national borders.
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And now, This I Believe, the living philosophies of thoughtful men and women, presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. There seems to be something universal about the dreams and aspirations of youth, whether they’re dreamed in Brooklyn or Bombay, in Tokyo or Tehran. Mr. R. Gopolakrishnan is a young Indian attorney who has come to the United States to continue his study of the law. Listen now as he tells about his beliefs and hopes for the future.
When I was younger, I read for inspiration, and for training as a lawyer in India, the
works of great American writers and orators. So, through books, I have long been familiar with the American spirit. But it was only when I came to America a few weeks ago that I was able to see it embodied in flesh and blood. It was then that I came to the full realization that whatever our differences might be, our similarities are much more basic. The same ideas that stirred my blood in the writings of our great poets and philosophers were there in your Constitution and your daily life.
There is a song by our Nobel Prize winner, Rabindranath Tagore, which seems to me to express particularly well what you, too, are striving for. It is from his Gitanjali. In it, he prays for a better and happier world in these memorable words.
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken into 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
I believe that the ordinary man should help to build a new world, a far better world, one in which the eternal dignity of man is respected. I believe that it is for all the human race to support anything that is done to work out cooperation on this globe. Perhaps as an Indian, I tend to look at the broader aspects of the problems which beset mankind. My people have long been concerned with the basic values of human life.
My training as a lawyer and my experience here in America have taught me, though, that whatever way
they express them—your Bill of Rights, or in a song of prayer—all people have, ultimately, the same hopes, the same needs, the same fears, and the same dreams. They are all citizens of the same world and, as such, they must learn to cooperate and to work out their problems together. They all want peace and they want to be respected as human beings. They all want a chance to develop what is unique and vital within themselves.
I sincerely believe that a day will soon come when the joy bells will ring again throughout the world, and when all nations will plan and will build in justice, in tradition, and in freedom, the house of many mansions where there will be room for all. When I have completed my training here in the United
States and go back to India, my native land, to put into practice the things I have learned about your Constitution, a newer system of law, I will also bring back yet a new faith in the ideals of freedom and human brotherhood and I will bring back the knowledge that these ideals are not contained by national boundaries but are shared by people everywhere.
There the beliefs of R. Gopolakrishnan, a young Indian who is studying international law at Harvard University as an exchange student under the provisions of the Smith-Mundt Act. His accent may be Indian, but his beliefs are international.