Rukhaya M.K

A Literary Companion

Category: Indian Literature (page 2 of 3)

Poetry Analysis: Sarojini Naidu’s “Summer Woods”

Sarojini Naidu is a poet of ardour, agony and ecstasy. In her perfect lyricism and mellifluous melody, she is indeed the Nightingale of India. Her poetic sensibility is essentially romantic. In ‘Summer Woods’ she communicates her aversion to the artificiality of the pseudo-modernism that she thrived in. She seeks to discover refuge in Nature from the monotony of her existence and her mechanical routine.

She begins by ranting that she is sick of ‘painted roofs and soft and silken floors’ or the mendaciousness of the so-called civilized and sophisticated life. She probably refers to the process of automation and industrial revolution. On the other hand, she craves for summer-houses with over-hanging canopies of bright-red Gulmohars. These appear lovely and enchanting when accompanied by the breeze-like wind. She is also fed up of strife and song and festival and fame. The affectation and luxury of the contemporary times seems too hollow for her tastes. They only leave in her a sense of void. She yearns to retreat into the forests where the cassia flourish and aspires to dwell in the rapturous and enthralling atmosphere there.

She implores her lover to recoil with her to the pastoral vicinity of Nature where passion and instinct reign over calculation and manipulation.…

Poetry Analysis: Sarojini Naidu’s “Bird Sanctuary”

Named as the nightingale of India, Sarojini Naidu ,is essentially a poetess of Indian flora and fauna. Nature was a spring of perpetual bliss to her.’ The ‘Bird Sanctuary’ depicts the ideal refuge of God that offers ideal fostering space and nurturing place for every bird regardless of its identity. The poem is addressed to the Master of the Birds. There is festive joy as the birds sing tumultuously. The enchanting aura they craft herald the Festival of Dawn. Birds of multitudinous colors produce music entrancing and melodious.

The birds strive to sing carols from their throats of amber, ebony and fawn and passionately evocate the pastoral arena of India. The bulbul, the oriole, the honey bird and the shama are perceived fluttering from the high boughs sodden with nectar and due. As the atmosphere is animated with colour and movement, the gull exhibits its silver sea-washed coat, and the hoopoe and the kingfisher their sapphire-blue. The wild gay pigeons envisage a home, amid the tree tops and endeavour to achieve the same, filling their beaks with silken down and banyan twigs. The pervading greenery is reflective of fertility and prosperity in the lives of the birds. Their ascent phrased as “sunward flight” signifies their aspiration to accomplish new heights.…

Poetry Analysis: A.K.Ramanujan’s “Obituary”

“Obituary” written by A.K. Ramanujan reminiscences his father’s death, and the merit and meaning in the speaker’s family-life. The opening lines enumerate the list of things the father left behind as legacy: his table heaped with newspapers full of dust, debts and daughters. The speaker carps that the father left them only with trials and tribulations. The newspapers are just stale pieces of past-news, and the father of his own has not contributed much in terms of creativity or productivity. Daughters are considered to be a source of burden in India, not lesser than debts. Parents are entrusted with the responsibility of “marrying them off” with adequate dowry to suit their status. In a conversational tone, reminiscent of Philip Larkin, he talks about the Grandson named after the father, who had the incorrigible habit of urinating in bed. This highlights that the poet’s father left behind nothing but only memories in the form of debris. He claims that the Grandson was named after his father “by chance” literally meaning ‘luckily’; however, signifying the opposite.

Added to the legacy is a dilapidated house. The poet mentions that the decrepit house leant on the coconut tree through their growing years. The deterioration in their quality of life is apparent, from the metaphor of the house.…

Poetry Analysis: Nissim Ezekiel’s “The Professor”

The poem “The Professor” by Nissim Ezekiel is essentially a satire on Indian English. The poem is presented in the form of a dialogue between the professor and his student. Since the listener is silent throughout it can be aptly termed as a monologue. Just as in “Goodbye Party for Miss.Pushpa T.S,” the poet mocks at Indianisms in English, and adaptation of the language to adopt to the native language structure. It caricatures the geography professor,Mr.Sheth, as he converses in English with one of his former students. A professor is the one who teaches, and should be in proper command of the medium he utilizes. Therefore, it is indeed ironical.

Far from pertaining to any academic subject, the Professor showcases his family achievements. He is indeed boastful as he poses his sons as social showpieces to be displayed, as he asserts:

Are well settled in life. One is Sales Manager, One is Bank Manager, Both have cars He states that though he is healthy, he is retired. Therefore he projects retirement (generally) not as personal choice but something born of compulsion. He shows himself to be an exception. The poet also mocks the Indian tradition that makes use of rhyming names for their kids.…

Poetry Analysis: Nissim Ezekiel’s “Night of the Scorpion”

The poem belongs to Nissim Ezekiel’s collection entitled The Exact Name that was published in 1965. The poem in the narrative mode reveals the speaker’s objective account of how a scorpion stung his mother one night. The poem is titled the Night of  the Scorpion, for, the major part of the poem, the scorpion is the victor or champion of the poem.

The scorpion crawls into the house one night to evade the heavy rain outside and hides behind a sack of rice. Crawling towards the speaker’s mother with its conspicuous diabolic tail, the scorpion stings her and sneaks back into the rain. The peasants in the neighborhood come to sympathize with the lady in question. The peasants are described as ‘swarms of flies’ to mark their intrusion as parasites. Their ‘buzzing’ the name of God also signifies their irrational ‘collective consciousness.” They chant the name of God repeatedly to nullify the stinging experience. For them, the scorpion was an agent of the devil. Their superstitious frame of mind, make them search desperately for the spider, for, with every movement the scorpion made, the poison injected into the woman’s blood would progress and increase its pain. They ardently pray that scorpion stay motionless wherever it is.…

Poetry Analysis: Keki.N.Daruwalla’s “from Ruminations”

The poet senses that some impending violence is going to take place. He compares the violence to rain that would lash out at him. The violence is likened to the rain owing to its unpredictable nature and its ability to blind one’s vision. The violence would be caused by the mutual hatred which prevails between two different groups of people. The poet goes about looking for places where this violence might break out. Violence would lead to killings and the poet looks for the possible places where death might raise its head.

Only mass hatred dominates the scene set against the backdrop of the moon that is a pervading symbol of love. The violence stands brooding and stands like a cobra emblematic of imminent danger, and the poet is in a vulnerable situation as though he is prodding rat holes. In the attempt to close rodent holes and exploring echoing caves, he is haunted by the presence of fangs that dart. Dart may stand here for the verb ‘dart’ that means move quickly or the noun ‘dart’ that is capable of piercing. Impending violence sways like a pendulum rendering each moment lived cherished. It projects eyes that highlight hatred towards reptiles probably as reptile do scavenge.…

Poetry Analysis: A. K. Ramanujan’s “Love Poem for a Wife”

The poet communicates to his wife in the poem, the discord in their marital life. The reason attributed for the disharmony is their inability to share of childhood experiences. M.K.Naik states how the poem “Love poem for a Wife” is a revealing comment by Ramanujan on how an unshared childhood separates a husband and a wife who could otherwise have led a happy conjugal life.” The speaker’s father has been dead for several years now, and his wife’s father has also mellowed down with the onset of age. Therefore, they could not get authentic information regarding their childhood. While the speaker’s cousin and his wife happen to meet, they gossip over brandy and cashew nuts. The wife, during the course of these meetings displays an air of inquisitiveness regarding her husband’s childhood exploits. The husband begins to envy her village-dog ride; and the antics of the Seven Crazy aunts.

The husband and wife look into the albums containing the pictures of the family members. He terms it as “a sepia of a wedding picture;” as though the picture is painted in brown water colour. The photo is as hazed as their knowledge of each other’s childhood is. The wife becomes curious regarding frivolous stories narrated by the speaker’s brothers.…

Poetry Analysis: Jayanta Mahapatra’s “Dawn at Puri”

Puri is an eminent town in the state of Orissa. It is distinguished for its religious associations, particularly the annual festival held to honour the deity, Jagannatha.

The poet ruminates on the beach premises at Puri. The endless cawing of crows catches the speaker’s attention at the outset. He then notices a skull on the beach where bodies are normally cremated. The skull is a part of a cremation that has not been completely burnt by the funeral pyre. This skull is emblematic of the abject poverty and spiritual handicap of Puri, in spite of all the religious connections and connotations. The skull represents the hollowness of life and the inevitability of death. It symbolizes the spiritual stagnation and pseudo-existence of Orissa. Puri here, functions as a miniature metaphor of India in. The term ‘empty country’ emphasizes the same, the nihilism in a non-productive life. The hollow skull points to the irrational superstitions prevalent taking man back to primitivism.

The speaker then notices a number of widows adorning white saris all ready to perform the customary rites and rituals. These women are depicted as “past the centre of their lives” They have whiled away a significant portion of their lives, implying they are past their prime.…

Poetry Analysis: Sarojini Naidu’s “The Soul’s Prayer”

The poem represents the metaphysical ruminations of Sarojini Naidu as her soul endeavours to communicate with the Almighty. The invocation begins with all the innocence and purity of a child’s pride as the poetess beseeches with God to enlighten her on the most basic and innermost laws of Life and Death. She wants to have an in-depth comprehension on the twin-sided aspects of Life. Inherent in the prayer is the feeling that God has entrusted her with His Faith as she is born out of His own breath.

She wants to drink ‘life to the lees’ as she aspires for the two extremes of emotions-pain and joy. Her understanding of life is indeed not only childlike but mature as well, as she accepts life with all its plus and minus points. Her insatiable thirst for experience would then drain both “Earth’s utmost bitter, utmost sweet.”

She does not want to be spared of any form of euphoria. She does not want to be divorced from any form of strife. For her both gift and grief are welcome blessings that she craves for. She longs for the intricate wisdom of love and life that has hitherto eluded her. She also deeply craves for the mystic knowledge of the grave that has hitherto been unexplored.…

Poetry Analysis: Meena Alexander’s “House of a Thousand Doors”

Meena Alexander explores in “A House of a Thousand Doors” the effects of colonization and exploitation and what lies between the surface of lives. She waits for the right image and word to capture the same. The House in this poem is reminiscent of A.K. Ramanujan’s “Small-Scale Reflections on a Large House” that is at once emblematic of the Indian culture. This particular House has a thousand doors referring to its vibrancy and its openness to guests, foreign ideas and new aspects of culture. Moreover it abides by the concept of vasdaivakudumbakam, and keeps its door open for guests. However, perhaps, it was this positive aspect that proved to be a disaster for India, as the colonial powers spread the network of their web in India utilizing trade as a pretext. In the contemporary era also India is with a thousand doors as there is brain- drain and people immigrating to foreign arenas. The title ‘House of a Thousand Doors’ also signifies that India as a nation imparted significance to both individuality and a feeling of community.

The poem begins with an affirmation that this house has a thousand doors, and is therefore singular as illustrated by the demonstrative ‘this.’ The sills are cut in bronze.…

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