Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sarojini Naidu : "Village Song"

When the young Sarojini Naidu showed her early poetic efforts to Edmund Gosse for his comments, perhaps, she did not know that she was in for a shock . His words of admonition have since become part of history . He told her, " What we wished to receive was not a rechauffé of Anglo-Saxon sentiments in an Anglo-Saxon setting , but some revelation of the heart of India'.' "Sarojini Naidu's poetry was never to be the same again . Her mentor's advice sank deep into her mind . It proved to be a turning-point in her poetic career . She was none the worse for it because the glory that is ancient India and the grandeur that is modern India afforded her full scope for the play of romantic imagination with which she was abundantly blessed !

I consider "Village Song" as an authentic revelation of the heart of India as Edmund Gosse would have liked her poetry to be . In this dramatic lyric Sarojini Naidu reveals the heart of an Indian girl . The girl , carrying pitchers of Jumna water on her head, has to trek along a solitary stretch of land amidst thickening darkness . She blames herself for tarrying to hear the boatmen's song .After all, it was not her fault . Their song was so enthralling ! But now she is tormented by fears of all kinds . The cries of white cranes and owls fill her with superstitious fears . For a moment she thinks about her brother and mother who may be wondering about the cause of her delay . Her mind is again filled with fear of snakes and evil spirits . This wild area is prone to thunde-storms at this time of the year . She chants the name of Lord Rama to protect her from all harms .

This short poem reveals Sarojini Naidu's deep insight into the heart of I9ndian women . It points at Indian women's unflinching faith in their mythical heroes After reading the poem every reader might wonder whether the girl would have made it home if she hadn't had that strong enough faith in Lord Rama as her protector . The poem definitely has a symbolic level of meaning, too . The white cranes and owls symbolize the ills that the flesh is enduring in its journey through the world's wilderness . Indian women are sustained and supported in their moments of trials by their firm faith in their gods and goddesses .

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The purpose of this blog is to acquaint the world with the rich legacy of Indian poetry in English . . There was a time when Indian poetry in English was called Indo-Anglian poetry . But this term is no longer favored . It is because Indian poetry in English is as good and as authentically Indian as poetry written in Indian languages. Indian poetry in English expresses a sensibility which is distinctly Indian. It is inspired by Indian mythology , folklore and India's hoary cultural traditions .

In the following posts I wish to comment on certain immortal jewels of Indian poetry in English .
Please wait for my next post .

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