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occupies a prominent place in the history of Indo-Anglian poetry. Her
is prescribed on the syllabi of national and foreign universities.
Her poetry has an abiding interest for the lovers of poesy.
As a poet, she has been admired as well as censured, which can
be seen from the following comments:
Edmond Gosse1 praised her as, “The most brilliant, the most
original, as well as the most correct of all the natives of Hindustan who have
written in English. ”
Praising her command of English George Sampson observed,
“Sarojini Naidu (1879) made a more definite contribution to English poetry.
ardent literary temperament was fired by the poetic spirit of the Nineties
and she began writing verses that are entirely English in matter and form,
but was advised to turn to her native land for themes… some of her songs are
little more than exotically sentimental utterances that might have come from
an English writer who knew the East by hearsay; but others give vignettes of
life and some embody the spirit of oriental devotion. In general her
is more remarkable for its command of English than for any revelation
of India. ”
Rudra Prasad Mahto3 in his essay ‘Rabindranath Tagore and
Sarojini Naidu: A Study of Their Poetic Corpus’ says, “Her poetry is
intensely emotional and passionate. The influence of the British Romantic
poets can be perceived in her poetry, but what makes it interesting and
relevant to the Indian tradition is the sustenance from the twin indigenous
sources. Her poetry continues to delight the readers by its simplicity and
H.H. Annaih Godwa4 in his ‘Encyclopaedia of Commonwealth
Literature* compared both Toru Dutt and Sarojini. He pointed out S.
Naidu’s influence in the following words, “By 1905 the ‘nightingale of
India’ was well launched in her own country and abroad, and before long70
81 1 111 88 81 18 18 1
admirers declared “The voice of Torn Dutt is hushed. Sarojini is charming
us by her sweet lyrics. ”
Turnbull5 comments on her feeling for English metres and
prosody. He says, “No less remarkable than her command of
English poetic idiom is her feeling for English metres and English prosody.
The poems display a delicate and sensitive ear, trained in the best poetic
A.N. Jha6 praised her style, melody and theme but complained
that in several pieces, “the rhetorical rather than the lyric quality
Commenting on her sense of rhyme and rhythm P. Sengupta7
says, “Her sense of rhyme and rhythm are almost too overabundant but she
certainly commands a masterly control over both. ”
Pointing out her sensitiveness to beauty Iyengar8 expressed his
views, “She was, above all, sensitive to beauty, the beauty of living things,
the beauty of holiness, the beauty of the Buddha's compassion, the beauty of
Brindavan’s Lord. She didn’t specially seek out the bizarre the exotic, the
exceptional, but her poems lack neither variety nor the flavour of actuality.
Seldom did she venture out of her depth; she wasn’t interested in wild
she didn’t cudgel towards explosive modernity. But she had
genuine poetic talent and she was a wholesome and authentic singer. "
Supporting this view Tara-Ali Baig9 placed her among
but she indirectly suggests that her poetry lacked
trends. She says, “…it is fortunate that her poetry was
published before the birth of modern poetry. ”
R. Tilak10 says, “Lotika Basu, P.Lal, Nissim Ezekiel and Paul
Verghese have all criticised her lyrics for their romantic sentimentality,
sweetness and tick-tock and precise rhythm. Her overopulent
imagery, it is said, blurs the visionary focus, and the meaning is lost in a
cloud of words. Such critics forget that in her lyrics there is an integration
81 11 8 81 11 81 8
These are numerous critical comments of this sort that throws
light on the poetic talent of Sarojini Naidu. These comments are highly
impressionistic and hence Jt deserves a very close stylistic examination '
of her poetry.
Her Poetic Career:
When she was only eleven she wrote her first poem. Regarding
her career as a poet she says11, “One day when I was eleven I was sighing
over a sum in Algebra, it wouldn 't come right; but instead a whole poem
came to me suddenly. I wrote it down. From that day my poetic career
began. At thirteen I wrote a long poem. A la, ‘The Lady of the Lake ‘-1300
lines, a full fledged passionate thing that I began on the spur of the moment,
without forethought, just to spite my doctor, who said I was very ill and must
not touch a book".
Apart from this, she wrote, certain verses between 1892 and 1896
which are unfortunately not published.
Regarding these poems, Izzat Yar Khan12 says, “These verses
must have been circulated privately among the friends and they must have
been specially sent to her young man Dr. Govindarajulu Naidu, since
some of them are meant to convey her love for him… They are slight in
matter and substance as well as in diction and movement. “Sarojini herself
did not consider these poems fit to include them in any of the three
anthologies she published in her lifetime. Nor did her daughter Padmaja
regard them as suitable enough for inclusion in The Feather of the Dawn. ”
The present study deals only with the published poems of
B: Her Published Poems: Four Anthologies:
Sarojini Naidu is considered as one of the greatest poets in Indo-
Anglian poetry because of her substantial and qualitative four
anthologies. They are:
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‘(48 “With the docility and rapid appreciation of genius
instantly accepted and acted upon the suggestion. And thereafter
writing tended to be typically Indian in the choice of subjects and
sentiments. ” There she met Arthur Symons who guided Sarojini.
Through them (Gosse and Symons), she was introduced to Rhymer’s
Club founded in 1890 by W.B. Yeats and Ernest Rhys. The well known
poets of 1890s – William Watson, John Davidson, Earnest
Dowson, Oscar Wilde, George Moore, Henley and others were the
members of the club. Sarojini owed much to the Rhymer’s Club. In this
Dwivedi14 observed, “Sarojini Naidu, while in England, met the
of the Rhymer’s club who made her understand, ‘the verbal and
technical accomplishment, the mastery of phrase and rhythm of English
verse, without which she could not have translated her visions and
into melodious poems “.
Remeshwar Gupta15 comments, “Gladly and voluntarily Gosse
and Symons become her poetic mentors, and under their care and guidance
successfully launched out on her career as a poet. ”
I. The Golden Threshold:
It was first published in 1905 with an introduction by Arthur
Symons. It was dedicated to Edmund Gosse who first showed Sarojini
the way to The Golden Threshold.
! jtO poems in all.
1) Folk Songs consist of 12 poems. They are 1) Palanquin Bearers, 2)
Wandering Singers 3) Indian Weavers 4) Coromandel Fishers 5)
6) Corn-Grinders 7) Village Song 8) In Praise of
Henna 9) Harvest Hymn 10) Indian Love Song 11) Cradle Song
and 12) Sutee.
Songs for Music consist of 6 poems. They are: 1) Song of a Dream
Humayun to Zobeida 3) Autumn Song 4) Alabaster 5) Ecstasy
and 6) To My Fair Fancies.
3) Poems consists of 22 poems. They are: 1) Ode to H. H. Nizam of
2) Leili 3) In The Forest 4) Past and Future 5) Life 6)
The Poet’s Love-Song 7) To the God of Pain 8) The Song of
Zeb-un-Nissa in Praise of Her Own Beauty 9) Indian
Dances 10) My Dead Dream 11) Damayanti To Nala in The Hour of
Exile 12) The Queen’s Rival 13) The Poet of Death 14) The Indian
Gipsy 15) To My Children 16) The Pardah Nashin 17) To Youth 18)
In The City of Hyderabad 19) Street Cries 20) To India 21)
The Royal Tombs of Golconda and 22) To a Buddha Seated on a
the appearance of this volume she was greeted by her friends.
It took the English speaking world by storm. Many critical reviews of
her poetry appeared in different papers and periodicals. Some of them
are cited below:
Times of London16 published the following notice on the
release of The Golden Threshold it says, “Her (Sarojini’s) poetry seems
sing itself as if her sweet thoughts and strong emotions sprang into lyrics
of themselves. There are the same unity and spontaneity about such poems as
that To A Buddha Seated On A Lotus, ‘ in which her wisdom has play… In
this case the marriage of western culture with eastern has not proved barren.
81 1 1 1 1 1 1
something unique which we need not hesitate to call poetry. ‘
The Review of Reviews17 (Oct. 1905) wrote, "Not for many
months has there been so rich a harvest of poetry as that garnered during
the last month. In the forefront I must place S. Naidu's exquisitely musical
of oriental lyrics and poems. ”
The Manchester Guardian18 says, “Its simplicity suggests Blake,
it is always musical, its Eastern colour is fresh and its firm touch is quick
and delicate. ”
T. P.’s Weekly19 says, “A book of verse of undeniable beauty and
distinction… Her work is remarkable, opening a window through which the
West may see the East if it will. ”
The Morning Post20 says, “There are some small poems describing
the daily life of the East which have an astonishing vividness, it is a rare art
gives the true effect of poetry in what is, after all, only the accurate
statement of what the eye has seen… The book is not merely of accomplished
but beautiful verse, it is the expression of a temperament. "
The Academy21 comments, “Full of beauty… what is as delightful
as surprising in its individuality perfection of its own that owes but little to
anyone… not for a very long time have we seen a volume of poetry so full of
promise and achievement. ” The Indian Ladies Magazine22 points out,
"… there is scarcely one of her poems of which the technique and rhythm
and rhyme is not perfect. The thoughts are beautiful, the language is
About the title of the volume A. A. Ansari23 remarks. “The very
title of the book suggests the presence of undistinguished emotion conveyed
in colourful and gorgeous imagery. ”
II The Bird of Time was published in May 1912 which was dedicated
her father and mother. Edmund Gosse wrote an appreciable
introduction to it. This volume is divided into four sections:- 1) Songs
of Love and Death 2) Songs of the Springtime 3) Indian Folk-Songs
4) Songs of Life. It consists 47 poems in all.
81 Songs of Love and Death consists of 12 poems. They are: 1) The
of Time 2) Dirge 3) An Indian Love Song 4) In Remembrance
5) Love and Death 6) The Dance of Love 7) A Love Song From the
8) At Twilight 9) Alone 10) A Rajput Love Song 11) A
Love-Song 12) To Love.
(B) Songs of the Springtime consists of 10 poems. They are: 1) Spring
2) A Song in Spring 3) The Joy of the Springtime 4) Vasant
Panchami 5) In a Time of Flowers 6) In Praise of Gulmohur
7) Nasturtiums 8) Golden Cassia 9) Champak Blossoms
Indian Folk Songs consists of 8 poems. They are: 1) Village Songs
2) Slumber Song for Sunalini 3) Songs of My City in two parts:
a) In a Latticed Balcony b) In The Bazaars of Hyderabad.
4) Bangle-Sellers 5) The Festival of Serpents 6) Song of Radha, the
7) Spinning Song 8) Hymn to Indra, Lord of Rain.
(D) Songs of Life consists of 16 poems. They are : 1) Death and Life
2) The Hussain Saagar 3) The Faery Isle of Janjira 4) The Soul’s
5) Transience 6) The Old Woman 7) In the Night 8) At
Dawn 9) An Anthem of Love 10) Solitude 11) A Challenge to Fate
12) The Call to Evening Prayer 13) In Salutation to the Eternal
Peace 14) Medley 15) Farewell 16) Guerdon.
When this volume appeared Edward Thomas24 said, “Her poems
an uncommon outward gorgeousness and inward glory. ” The
Yorkshire Post25 wrote, “Mrs. Naidu has not only enriched our language
but has enabled us to grow into intimate relation with the spirit, the
emotions, the mysticism and glamour of the East. ” Gosse observed, “The
sight of much suffering, it may be, has thinned her Jasmine garlands and
darkened the azure of her sky. It is known to the world that her labours for
the public weal have not been carried out without deep injuries to her
private health. But these things have not slackened the lyric energy of
81 1 8 1
he, by a noble ambition. ”
Regarding its title, Sir C.P. Ramaswami Iyer27 thinks that it is
with Sarojini’s developing phase when the great noble ideas
of humanity began to move her directly and she started her work for the
of womankind. It is derived from Omar Khayyam’s
“The bird of Time has but a little way
To Fly-and Lo! The Bird is on the wing”
III The Broken Wing was published in the year 1917 and was
to the Dream of Today and Hope of Tomorrow.
volume was divided into four sections:- 1) Songs of Life
and Death 2) The Flowering Year 3) The Peacock Lute and 4) The
Temple. It consists the highest number of poems i.e., 62 in all.
1. The Songs of Life and Death consists of 23 poems. They are:
1) The Broken Wing 2) The Gift of India 3) The Temple
4) Lakshmi, the Lotus-Bom 5) The Victor 6) The Imam Bara 7) A
Song from Shiraz 8) Imperial Delhi 9) Memorial Verses in two
parts: (a) Ya Mahbub, (b) Gokhale, 10) In Salutation to My
Father’s Spirit 11) The Flute Player of Brindaban 12) Farewell
13) The Challenge 14) Wandering Beggars 15) The Lotus 16) The
of Islam 17) Bells 18) The Garden Vigil 19) Invincible
20) The Pearl 21) Three Sorrows 22) Kali the Mother and
2. The Flowering Year consists of 6 poems. They are: 1) The Call of
Spring 2) The Coming of Spring 3) The Magic of Spring
4) Summer Woods 5) June Sunset and 6) The Time of Roses.
3. The Peacock Lute consists of 8 poems. They are: 1) Silver Tears
2) Caprice 3) Destiny 4) Ashoka Blossom 5) Atonement 6) Longing
7) Welcome 8) The Festival of Memory.
81 consists of three sections. They are: 1) The Gate of
2) The Path of Tears 3) The Sanctuary. Each of these
consists of eight poems.
• The Gate of Delight: Consists 8 poems. They are 1) The
2) The Feast, 3) Ecstasy, 4) The Lute Song, 5) If You Call
Me, 6) The Sins of Love, 7) The Desire of Love, 8) The Vision of
• The Path of Tears: consists 8 poems. They are 1) The Sorrow of
Love, 2) The Silence of Love, 3) The Menace of Love, 4) Love’s
Guerdon, 5) If You Were Dead, 6) Supplication, 7) The Slayer,
8) The Secret.
• The Sanctuary also consists 8 poems: They are 1) The Fear of
Love, 2) The Illusion of Love, 3) The worship of Love, 4) Love
5) Love Omnipotent, 6) Love Transcendent,
7) Invocation, 8) Devotion.
R.28 comments, "Qualitatively, 'The Broken Wing’ is better
than The Bird of Time’, which in several poems is more rhetorical than
Izzal Yar Khan29 says, “There are no folk-songs in Broken Wing
as there were in the Golden Threshold and The Bird of Time, but what is
common between Golden Threshold and the Broken Wing is the presence of a
of songs for music. The common element between The Bird of Time
and The Broken Wing, on the other hand, is the continued interest of the poet
in the Indian Spring. The Broken Wing, in general shows a diminution of
fervour. There is maturity and depth of feeling in some poems in the
section ‘Songs of Life and Death ‘ but most of the later poems especially in
the section 'The Flowering Year’ and 'The Peacock’s Lute’ are little else
intellectual exercises. ”
Rameshwer Gupta30 states, “Though the grace of easy lyricism is
waning, the poetry is gaining in life's poignancy and seriousness. The poet
811 8 8 181 81 8 81 8 8
previous two volumes. ”
Later on all the poems contained in the three volumes are
in one volume under the title The Sceptred Flute, published
Dodd, Mead and Co. Inc. in America and later by Kitabistan,
IV. The Feather of the Dawn was published (after Sarojini’s death)
Asia Publishing House, Bombay, 1961. The poems included in this
volume are collected by Sarojini’s daughter Padmaja. The volume is
in two sections: 1) The one consisting of Miscellaneous Poems
2) Poems of Krishna.
These poems in this volume were written in July- August 1927
the symbolic title The Feather of The Dawn. This anthology
of 35 poems in all.
I. The Miscellaneous Poems: In this first section there are 30 poems.
They are: 1) In Gokhale’s Garden 2) Lokmanya Tilak 3) Umar
4) Gujerat 5) The Night of Martyrdom 6) The Festival of the Sea
four parts: (a) Fishermen, (b) Sailors, (c) Merchants and
(d) Women of Sea-faring Folk. 7) Raksha Bandhan 8) A Persian
Lute Song 9) A Song of the Khyber Pass 10) Spring in Kashmir
11) The Gloriosa Lily 12) The Water Hyacinth 13) Child Fancies
14) The Bird Sanctuary 15) The Lonely Child 16) Perplext
17) Mimicry 18) On Juhu Sands 19) The Gift 20) The Amulet
21) Blind 22) Devotion 23) Unity 24) Entreaty 25) Renunciation
26) Conquest 27) Immutable.
II) Poems of Krishna. There are are 5 poems in this section. They are:
1) Kanhaya 2) Ghanashyam 3) Songs of Radha having three parts
1. At Dawn 2) At Dusk 3) The Quest.
On the appearance of this volume Nissim Ezekiel31 critically
“the English encouraged by Edmund Gosse granted her a season
or two of favour and then dropped her irrevocably into oblivion. ”
811 A.N.Dwivedi32 asks; ‘Is it really so?’ He
further justified Sarojini’s popularity and said, “The reality seems to lie
on the other side. Sarojini has lived for a much longer time in the hearts of
her admirers than that pointed out by Ezekiel and was very much in favour of
English critics in the first quarter of the 20th century … ” I. Y. Khan33 says,
“It was hoped that the publication of this eagerly awaited book would reveal
new aspects of Sarojini's work, take the poet to greater heights, and open
‘An auspicious day ‘ for Indo-Anglian poetry, but it seems that this was no
more than pious hope. The book contains thirty poems, many of them on
found in her three previous publications. ”
There are total 184 poems; 149 in The Sceptred Flute and 35 in
Feather of the Dawn. They are all short poems. They are all lyrics,
songs, odes and sonnets. Surprisingly enough out of 184 poems, there
are only 10 sonnets. There is not a single sonnet in The Golden
Threshold. In The Bird of Time there are two sonnets 1) Love and
Death 2) Death in Life. In The Broken Wing there are three sonnets:
1) Imperial Delhi 2) In Salutation to My Fathers Spirit 3) The Lotus. In
The Feather of the Dawn there are five sonnets 1) Lokmanya Tilak
2) Umar 3) Gujerat 4) The Night of Martyrdom 5) Renunciation. The
‘Queen’s Rival’ is only a long narrative poem in these 4 anthologies.
II) PHASES OF HER POETRY:
Taking into consideration the chronological publication of the
of her poems we have following phases of her poetry.
1. The first phase: The Golden Threshold: (1896-1904)
The poems written between 1896-1904 are published in the year
1905, under the title The Golden Threshold.
2. The second phase: The Bird of Time: (1905-1912)
The poems written between 1905 to 1912 belong to this phase.
3. The Third Phase: The Broken Wing: (1913-1917)
The poems written between 1913-1917 belong to this phase.
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Padmaja, her daughter in the year 1961. Thus it can be seen that her
activity covers the period from 1896 to 1927.
Ill) THEMES OF HER POETRY:
In the title poem of ‘The Bird of Time’ Sarojini herself told the
matter of her songs:
Songs of the glory and gladness of life
Of poignant sorrow and passionate strife,
the lilting joy of the spring
Of hope that sows for the years unborn.
faith that dreams of a tarrying mom.
The fragrant peace of the twilight’s breath.
And the mystic silence that men call death.
According to Izzat Yar Khan, Sarojini’s poems tell us of her
longings, and her moments of loneliness. She writes on
persons of her day, the humblest professions, religions of
world, transitoriness of life, caprice of fortune, purpose of life,
social customs, history of her own land, legends of the past, Indian
seasons of her land, Indian flowers etc.
There are many themes and there could not be any absolute
categorization of her poems on the basis of themes or any other basis.
after a study of Sarojini’s poems we find that Sarojini’s poems
move mostly round the three dominant themes: Love, Nature, and
Scenes of Indian life. Next to them the other important theme is:
‘Questions of Life and Death.’
Let us classify her poems under the themes mentioned above.
One thing should be mentioned here that even though these poems are
into the category of a particular theme, they exist in their own right.
81 in this connection says, “It (Sarojini’s poem) has its own
‘ inscape ‘ before we see it as a member of a family.
Theme: (From The Golden Threshold)
1) Indian Love-song, 2) Humayun to Zobeida 3) Ecstasy 4) In the
5) The Poet’s Love Song 6) My Dead Dream 7) Damayanti to
Nala in the Hour of Exile
From The Bird of Time: 1) An Indian Love Song 2) Love and Death
3) Love Song From the North 4) Alone 5) A Rajput Love Song 6) A
Love Song 7) To Love 8) In a Time of Flowers 9) Ecstasy
10) Village Songs 11) Song of Radha: The Milk Maid.
From The Broken Wing: 1) The Temple, 2) The Victor 3) The Flute
of Brindavan 4) Summer Woods 5) The Time of Roses
6) Caprice 7) Destiny 8) Asoka Blossom 9) Longing 10) Festival of
Memory 11) Silver Tears 12) Welcome 13) The Temple (24 lyrics in
The Feather of The Dawn: 1) A Persian Lute Song 2) Perplext
3) The Gift 4) The Amulet 5) Blind 6) Devotion 7) Unity 8) Entreaty
9) Renunciation 10) Conquest 11) Immutable 12) Songs of Radha:
of 3 poems.
So, as many as 68 of the total 184, almost one third, are poems
1) From The Golden Threshold
1) Leili 2) In Praise of Henna 3) Nightfall in the City of
2) From The Bird of Time:
1) Spring 2) A song in Spring 3) The Joy of the Springtime
4) Vasant Panchami 5) In a Time of Flowers 6) In Praise of Gulmohur
7) Nasturtiums 8) Golden Cassia 9) Champak Blossoms.3E
1) The Call of Spring 2) The Coming of Spring 3) Magic of
Spring 4) Summer Woods 5) June Sunset 6) The Time of Roses.
From The Feather of The Dawn:
1) Spring in Kashmir 2) The Gloriosa Lily 3) The Water
4) The Bird Sanctuary 5) Mimicry 6) On Juhu Sands.
There are total 24 poems on nature theme. From the titles of the
mentioned above it can be pointed out that what fascinates the
most in nature is its flowering season named ‘spring’ and ‘some
3. The Indian Scene Poems:
1) From The Golden Threshold:
1) Palanquin-Bearers, 2) Wandering Singers 3) Indian Weavers
Coromandel Fishers 5) The Snake Charmer 6) Corn Grinders
7) Harvest Hymn 8) Indian Dancers 9) The Indian Gipsy 10) Suttee
11) The Street Cries
From The Bird of Time:
1) The second part of the poem ‘Songs of My City’ i.e., In the
of Hyderabad 2) Bangle Sellers, 3) The Festival of Serpents
Hymn to Indra, Lord of Rain 5) The Old Woman
3) From The Broken Wing:
1) Wandering Beggars 2) Kali, the Mother 3) Lakshmi The Lotus
4) From The Feather of The Dawn:
1) Raksha Bandhan 2) The Festival of The Sea.
There are total 21 poems dealing with the ‘Indian Scene’.
1) Life, 2) To the God of Pain 3) The Poet to Death 4) The Royal
Tombs of Golconda 5) To a Buddha Seated on A Lotus.
2) From The Bird of Time:
1) The Bird of Time 2) Dirge 3) Love and Death 4) At Twilight
5) Death and Life 6) The Soul’s Prayer 7) Transience 8) Solitude 9) A
Challenges to Fate 10) In Salutation to The Eternal Peace
3) From The Broken Wing and
From The Feature of The Dawn: J
There are 15 poems dealing with this theme. The categorization
of the poems under this theme will suggest that I have excluded those
poems which are merely passing remarks by the poetess on the theme
of life and death. The intimate involvement of the poet is considered
vital in this respect.
are poems other than mentioned above which may be
called Miscellaneous Poems. There may be as many themes as there are
number of poems. Practically, it is not possible to analyse all such
individual poems with their individuality of themes. Very few poems
deal with patriotism. The number of these poems is less. There are
poems in which the poet paid tribute to her contemporary personalities.
Other poems in this category exhibit the poet’s fancies e.g., ‘Cradle
Song,’ and Slumber Song for Sunalini.
are not watertight compartments because there is much
overlapping as it can be viewed that the theme of ‘nature’
intrudes/enters even in those poems whose main theme is either ‘love’,
‘problems of life and death’ or ‘Indian scene’. These themes mix
818 18 81 1 1 81 81 18 81
situation the researcher has made his efforts as far as possible to
select for the interpretation and analysis only those poems, dealing with
the major themes without the intrusion of the one into another.
The traditional critics after the perusal of her poems pointed out
of the following features of her poetry: 1) Almost all her poems
are metrical composition. 2) Lyrical note is a dominant feature of her
poetry. 3) Her poetry abounds in ‘metaphors’, ‘similes,’ ‘images’,
‘irony’, ‘symbolism,’ ‘personification,’ ‘oxymoron’ etc. They termed
her style as ‘exuberant and jewelled.’
A.N.Dwivedi observes, "There can be no two opinions about the
predominance of lyrical impulse in Sarojini’s poetry. Her poems are mostly
swallow flights of fancy. ” He further pointed out, "Her poetry
to the Romantic school… she has not become, as Edmund Gosse36
she hoped to, ‘a Goethe or a Keats for India. ‘… Keats and Shelley were
her early models. ” Rameshwar Gupta37 writes, “Her poetry
in glowing images and symbols. She exercised a wonderful
of the English language, rhyme and rhythm… Her poetic practice
ample evidence to show that the Father of the Nation did no injustice
designating her as ‘Bharat Kokila ‘ or the Nightingale of India. ” He
further points out, “All her poems are metrical compositions…
the diction is mostly Romantico-Victorian-Pre-Raphaletic. ”
The critical opinions and remarks cited above are highly
impressionistic and intuitive. They are eulogistic in tone.
However there are certain charges levelled against her poetry.
Rameshwar Gupta38 cited the charges as follows: “She blows
iridescent bubbles of sounds, luxuriates in empty verbiage. There is no
linguistic preciseness. Her verse is slushy, greasy, weak-spined, purple ~
Her images are vague, flamboyant, merely decorative. Her poems
intellectually thin, empty of knowledge. They rather give a feeling of
81 1 1 1 1
sentimentally affirmative and consolatory, miserably lacking historical
These charges are levelled against her by the neo-modernists,
poetry Sarojini disliked. Sarojini told about this to her friend
Ali Baig. In this regard by giving the reference to Tara Ali Baig,
I.Y. Khan39 in his book ‘Sarojinin Naidu: The Poet,’ says, “Sarojinin
told her friend Tara Ali Baig in 1946 that modern poetry had no future and
the poetic trend would inevitably return to the discipline and beauty of
the metrical form of lyrics. Such a statement did not imply that Sarojini had
greater prescience about the future of poetry than others. She sincerely
believed that modern permissiveness and lack ofform was a passing fad. She
like many other people of her generation who found modern art hideous
because it was not visually beautiful. She honestly felt that modern
poetry did not conform to her concept of beauty." These remarks clearly
show that Sarojini Naidu’s concept of poetry and beauty was different
from that of her critics (i.e., neo-modemists) who were repelled by her
literary critics seem to be aware of her linguistic
but they tend to focus their attention more on the
concerns of her poetry than on her use of language. Dr.
Rameshwar Gupta wrote, ‘Sarojini: The Poetess,’ an excellent book
is in the manner of traditional criticism. He claimed that the
expressed her vision through language. He recognized her
phrases, repetitions versification, etc. He, not being
did not go beyond that. Hence it is the dire need to direct
attention to her experimentation with language in her poetry, by
using linguistic-stylistics as central mode of investigation.
The relevance of this approach needs justification:
* ” +
IV. STRATEGIES AND PARAMETERS USED IN THE
ANALYSES OF THE POEMS SELECTED.
I. As a sample we will select some poems dealing with each major
belonging to each phase mentioned above, since it is not
possible to analyse all her poems with their individuality of themes.
poems will be representative in the sense that they bear the
stylistic features belonging to their phases and theme.
Therefore the selection of the poems would not be arbitrary. The
selected poems pertaining to different themes will be analysed as
per their chronological order in the anthologies which help us to
detect her development in a more natural way.
Only those poems dealing with major themes are selected
analysis which exhibit the poet’s intense involvement in them.
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Bird of TimeThe Broken WingThe Feather of
Phase IPhase IIPhase IIIPhase IV
Name of the
Name of the
Name of the
Name of the
sceneIndian Weavers In the Bazaars of
SpringJune Sunset The Bird
LoveMy Dead DreamSongofRadha:
Seated On A
881 In order to point out the operative principles of each poem and to
the dialectics of Sarojini Naidu’s development as a poet the
charts represent the parameters which the researcher wants to
apply in the study of her poems:
^ Syllabic pattern ^
nexus between the
meaning of the
words and motifs.
Synchronic Study of the selected Poems.
deviation, use of
^ Total number of ©
open and closed
Type of syntax:
of sentences used,
Cohesion, Use of
article, and Tense,.
Noticeable changes in her style.
r Use of nouns. ^
adverbs, use of
Total number o©
1. Plosives: (Stops)7. Pure Vowels
¥as in/pin/Pinli-JAs inIfr.U
/b/ as in/big/BigniAs in/fillFill
as in/tin/TinIdAs in/fellFell
/as in/dig/Dig13:1As in/fO:JFall
fklas inMklKicklulAs in/fUl/Full
¥as in/get/Getlu:lAs in/fu:l/Fool
2. AffricateslidAs in/kaet/Cat
/tf /as in/tfln/Chin101As in/KOt/Cot
/d5 /as in/d3Ad3/Judge/a/As in/KAt/Cut
3. Fricatives13:1As inIk3:tlCurt
/f/as in/fit/Fit /a:/As infka.tlCart
/V/.as in/Vaen/Van/d/As in/3said/Aside
/e/as in/ein/Thin/8. Diphthongs
/5/as in/Sen/ThenltdAs in/fell/Fail
/s/as in/Sin/Sin/dU/As in/f3ul/Foal
/Z/as in/zu:/ZooladAs in/fan/file
///as in//Ip/Shiplav/As in/feci/Foul
yas in/Ple33/Pleasure/DI/As in/FDll/Foil
fhJas in/haend/Hand/ea/As in/tea/Tear
4. Lateral/ua/As in/tua/tour
Inias in/net/ Net
6. Gliding consonants
-AlliterationC = Consonant
SS-AssonanceV = Vowel
CS-ConsonanceX = Unstressed foot
ES-End-stopped line/ = Stressed foot
S-SubjectM. V. = Main verb
P-Predicator Aux = Auxiliary verb
0-ObjectN.P. = Noun phraseN = Noun
C-ComplementV.P. = Verb phraseV = Verb
Subst-SubstitutionP.P. = Prepositional phrase
Ellip-EllipsisAjp = Adjective phrase
-AdverbialAdvp = Adverb phraseAdv = Adverb
-Vocative G.P. = Genitive phrase
Intj-InteijectionPm = Pronoun Conj == Conjuction
Imp-Imperative verbRhq = Rhetorical question
-Wh-questionAdj = Adjective Neg =Negative
O.E.R.D.= Oxford English Reference Dictionary.
1 Gosse Edmund; in Naidu Sarojini (1912), The Bird of Time, London,
Henemann, (Introduction), p.2.
2 Sampson George, (1945). The Concise Cambridge History of English
Literature, p. 914.
3 Mahto Rudra Prasad in C.L. Khatri (ed.) 2003, Indian Literature in English;
Critical Discourses, Jaipur, Book Enclave p. 136.
4 Anniah Gowda H.H. (1998) Encyclopaedia of Commonwealth Literature
(Vol. 2), New Delhi, Cosmo Publications, P. 401.
5 Turnbull H.G.D., 1930, Introduction, Sarojini Naidu: Select poems O.U.P.
6 Jha, A.N. in Gupta Rameshwar, (1986), Sarojini: The poetess, Delhi, 1986,
Do’aba House, pll.
7 Sengupta P. in Gupta Rameshwar Op.cit., p. 11.
8 Iyengar K.R.S., (1973), Indian Writing in English, Bombay, Asia
Publishing House, p. 225.
9 Baig Tara Ali, in Gupta Rameshwar, Op.cit. p.ll.
10 Tilak R., (2002), Sarojini Naidu’s Selected poems, New Delhi, Rama
11 In Gupta R.P.,Op.cit. p.34.
12 Khan Izzat Yr, 1983, Sarojini Naidu: Th ePoet, New Delhi, S. Chand and
Co. Ltd. p.255.
13 Dwivedi A.N., Op.cit., p.53.
14 Dwivedi A.N., Op.cit. p.58.
15 In Gupta Rameshwar, Op.cit., p.6.
16 Dwivedi A.N., Op.cit., pp.65, 66.
17 Dwivedi A.N., Op.cit., pp.65, 66.aS
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