The Gift of India Critical Analysis || By - Sarojini Naidu

Note: Exclusive notes for ISC 2021 exam onwards 
            and for fun readers 

Sarojini Naidu (1879 - 1949) popularly known as 
Nightingale of India was a very known face among the freedom fighters of India. Ever since her youthful days, she was especially attracted by literature mainly because she was influenced by her parents. Her faith was her educationalist who later became a prominent face in the education circle in Hyderabad. Her mother was a passionate poet of her own and this hugely inspired Sarojini Naidu to write her own poems.

        She went abroad to get higher education during the days when she saw many problems troubling the women of India. Certainly, it wasn't easy for her to study the Phylosophies of the western world when India was colonised by them. However, she was a very intellectual woman and saw many opportunities for herself to become a part of the freedom struggle to gain freedom.

         She became in contact with her husband (Non-Bengoli) Mr Naidu and decided to start a unique relationship that continues to inspire the rest of India for Social Harmony and National Integration. She started actively being part of National Integration. movement in 1905. She dominated the national scene with her efforts to free India from the British. She Formed "Women's India Association," in 1917. She preceded many meetings and even worked for hand in hand with Mahatama Gandhi to protest against British policies and cruelties. She became the first Governor of the united province of Agra and Awadh from 1947 - 1949. We cannot even deny the patriotic feelings which she induced and implanted in the hearts of all the Indians with his poems. Her poems have been noted for singing praises for - motherland India. Through her poetry, she has tried to arouse a sense of pride and patriotism in the hearts of countrymen. This poem 'The Gift of India', written in, is a celebration of the unforgettable sacrifice made by brave India and her Sons. It is also an account of how every countryman demands accountability from the British in matters of millions of Indians dying during the First World War.

         The Poem is a Dramatic Monolog. Its is 24 linned in all without any subdivision or stanza. The language and diction in ordinary but laced with (Coloured with) metaphor and similies. The Narrator in the poem is personified mother India. It starts very abnormally with a question just to attract our attention to the main theme of the poem. Likewise there are many other questions being asked to the British in the course of the poem. The poem is set at the backdrop of many wars and here specially the First World War , during which millions of Indian were killed and Martaye. It seemed that they conceived us as guineapigs (metaphor). No value was attached for so many young lives simply offered by mother India to satisfy the British greed for victories durin the war. Certainly it was time high enough for people like Sarojini Naidu to write poems protesting these cruelties and insensitivity.

Recommended: The Darkling Thrush Critical Analysis

         When the poem starts, we have a very important question - A question enquiring whether the British needed any more gifts from India. It is a very strong start to the poem because generally, poems do not pose (ask) such questions. Right in the beginning. This question implies a world of things. It involves the pains and sorrows of a mother (India). This is a search for something on what the British had done with rich gifts from their own Nation. During the first World War, Millions of soldiers were taken to the battle grounds across the seas in far-flung places. Having got no reports on their whereabout the poet wrote this poem reminding the British of the long history of sacrifice in terms of gifts to the rulers. These are 'Rich Gifts', which the British snatched when we were in their control. When she asks questions relating to these gifts and any other if needed, she actually demands an explanation.

"Is there ought you need that my hands withhold rich gifts of Raiment of grave or gold."

          Ever since British colonialism began its Greedy rule in India, India started losing them one by one. In this case, grain and gold easily summarised and symbolised those invaluable gifts which British robbed for years. But, in the poem, Mrs Naidu very poetically put forward some literary device to express and refer to that situation. This is a Rhetorical Question. So, this question stands as and symbol of endless sacrifice which month India and her children had been making to please the British. How she comes to the present question in Discussion sending young people to wars even when those wars fought to support the British for their benefits. But we never had no and 'princeless treasure', torn form a mother breast, is enough to indicate how youth of the motherland were nipped in their adolescence. This way the treasure, in our human resource, was wasted unnecessarily. There is a metaphor used by the poet to describe the circumstances.

"I have fung to the east and the west.
princeless treasures torn from my brest.
and yield the sons of the sticken womb,
to the drum beats of the duty, ... doomed."

        The poem goes on rhyming in couplets (two lines each aa bb cc dd). We haev a wonderful display of the poets imagination, in which she depicts a mother being deprived of her treasures - Her princeless sons. THEn she never protest (yielded) and became barren (Stickened womb). Because all the sons in the wars faced sabour of Doomed. Then she aslo describes how in different parts of the world they faced their miserable death - unknown and undignifyed. 
         Using Simili, she presents the scene. By the Persian waves, they lie silently dead like gathered pearls in their Alien graves. This clearly indicated how our poet Mrs Naidu lamented the ill fortune suffered by our pearls in the foreign land. Further more lays emphasis on how her sons lie on Egyptian sands half - with pale brown and broken hands. They were all strewed like flowers tamped upon and destroyed in the meadows of Flanders and France. our sons lay any tribute being paid for them.

         The poet knowingly and very commencing does this action of reminding just in case the gift of India which our rulers never seemed to glorify.  Our motherland wanted an account of all these blunders committed by the British, She wants to know why there is silence from the other side. There Martyrdom needs mentioning and - deserves glorification. 

"Gathered like pearls in theit aerial graves.
Silent they sleep by the persioan waves scattered like shell
on Egyption sands ...
Meadows of flanders and France."

        Here we stand with a few more questions one after the other gets the truth out for everyone. The poet has devised a wonderful structure in the poem which all of a sudden brings into focus some of the unanswered and undiscussed truth about India making great sacrifices and going unrewarded. The poem has been so far describing the various sacrifices especially in the context of the First World War and millions of young people dying in the process. This certainly made India lose rich gifts. In such circumstances when many mothers went childless, It was undoubtedly a moment of getting back our dues therefore the very first question takes apart the imagination of the British. 

        "Can you measure the greef of the tears 
i read.
or compass the woe of 
the watch i keep ?"

         This is a very highlighted philosophy that asks the British to measure by things or in dreams. Because there cannot be any measurement of "Grief of tears', in any world parameters. Every pain is subjected and no one can for sure guarantee absolute measurement of personal pains. The suffering that one undergoes to personal to be objectified. So, this question would eternally remain answerless and the British would never explain how they would compensate the suffering of a mother.

        Then, the poet moves on to ask further questions regarding hope and victory. It is true that the British could bring a lot of Victories for themselves but does it also mean the same for India and her people? Because in the pride of becoming brave in the wars, there is endless dispare that awakens us. Surely, a mother tear is thrilled with the proud mother. Besides what pains in loss of hope which a mother survives when her son are busy in the battle and for their survival in the wars. Can the British, she asks, measure this pain and anguish which a mother has in prayer for the son fighting in the foreign shore. 

"The pride that thrills through my heart despair
the hope that comforts the anguish of prayer ?"

        Now, mother India sees, "Sad vision", banners of victory, glorious indeed but sad and painful. it is a wonderful use of this concept, in which two opposite words are used together at a time to show the obvious contrasting fact.

        Here we come to the last part of the poem. The first part was about the rich gift given by our mother land. The second stanza showed how her priceless treasures die bravely fighting on the foreign shore, Now the third Stanza and the final part is homage and tribute offered to their margays. The mother hopes that the funeral shall come home.

"And that we will have peace when
life will be"

        She expects that sacrifice made by ger children will not go wasted. rather their love for their motherland will be even memorable and we shall always offer them thanks.

"Your love shall offer memorable thnaks 
and you honour the deeds of the dauntless ones (people),
remember the blood of my martayed sons."

         To conclude there is a very humble request towards the end regarding homage being paid to the margays. She makes this as an honest urge from all of us including those who avail their services during the wars that we pay for them. The poet, therefore, has kept a very suitable title  'The Gift of India'.

Thank You
Kuipeer informations

Contact us :

Copyrights reserved 2021