The expression Indian poetry in English has a strange colonial hangover. When it comes to Indian poetry in English it has a long past perhaps longer than fiction written in English today. Indian poetry in English took roots much before independence say around the twenties and thirties with writers like Henry Vivian Derozio, Sarojini Naidu, etc. They wrote under a neo romantic strain and were sharply influenced by English Victorian and Romantic poetry. Moreover, they were swept by a feeling of idealism with the Nationalist Movement just around the corner. This briefly was the context in which they wrote and shaped their thought processes. Their poetry was a poetry of apotheosis in which the country was deified and everything around them look beautiful. There were no concerns with social or political realities.
The contexts changed after independence with the advent of poets such as Nissim Ezekiel who introduced subaltern forces in his poetry by looking at the common man and his immediate surroundings. Ezekiel portrayed an India of poverty, squalor but associated these with an inner sense and indefinable beauty which he saw in India, epitomized by the city he lived in - Bombay. His Very Indian Poems In Indian English portrayed a sense of humour and 'Indianisms' but there was a pathos underlying these poems, whether he talked of the railway clerk, the common man or a beautiful woman in the slums. Ezekiel also employed techniques of irony and the satire. Vikram Seth was a writer of Ezekiel’s times.
Thus,the indian poets picked up their subjects that were close to humanity. Their subjects were based on their personal feelings. A large section of Indian poetry was written during the Indian National Movement. Thus, the works of many poets had the essence of patriotism in it. Indian poetry basically revolves around Indian people, nature, religion, social issues, love, patriotism and issues closely associated with man and mankind.
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