Sarojini Naidu

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The Indian English poetry that flourished in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was largely an imitation of the English Romantic poetry both in its form and matter. No attempt was made to project the essence and nuances of the rich culture and tradition of India. The Westerners inturn wished for a glmpse of Indian life and customs through the literature of the time. As Edmund Gosse says in his introduction to Sarojini Naidu’s The Bird of Time (1912) : What we wished to receive was not a rechauffe of Anglo-Saxon sentiment in an Anglo-Saxon setting, but some revelation of the heart of India, some sincere penetrating analysis of native passion, of the principles of antique religion and of such mysterious intimations as stirred the soul of the East long before the West had begun to dream that it had a soul. ( “Introduction” The Bird of Time ) Such a revelation of the heart of India began with the poems of Toru Dutt. Greatly influenced by the puranas and the religious culture of ancient India, she interpreted Indian life before the Western world by recapturing the legendary past of India in her verses. Following Toru Dutt, Sarojini Naidu wrote poems rooted in Indian folklore, myths and legends thus showing the West the soul of India. Sarojini Naidu’s poetry can be regarded as a mirror of India. She portrays the customs, traditions, festivals, myths and legends, men and women, flaura and fauna, landscape and skyscape of India through her poems. According to A.A Ansari, the most characteristic quality of Sarojini Naidu’s poetry besides its lyrical wealth is its purely Indian character. Her poems “Summer Woods” and “Village Song” are rich in Indian situations and sentiments. The poem “Village Song” included in The Golden Threshold has a purely Indian atmosphere with the girl hurrying off to the forest: “Where upon the champa boughs the champa buds are blowing; / To the koil- haunted river-isles where lotus lilies glisten,” (“Village Song” The...
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