Spirits of Patriotism in Sarojini Naidu’s Poetry

Spirits of Patriotism in Sarojini Naidu’s Poetry

Love of motherland is a passion with her:

Spirits of Patriotism in Sarojini Naidu’s Poetry : Sarojini Naidu has been struggling all her life between two ideals—her (1) allegiance to song, (2) the service of the country. She is filled with an overpowering passion of love for mother India, which she has naturally to express in some of her most inspiring poems. In one of her earlier poems, she exhorts the mother to wake from her stupor and rise:

Spirits of Patriotism in Sarojini Naidu’s Poetry

“O! young through all the immemorial years!
Rise, Mother, rise, regenerate from thy gloom.”
and like a bride high mated with the spheres,
“Beget new glories from thine ageless womb!”

The Gift of India, a poem that depicts the Chivalry of Indians in World War I (1914-18) is thrilling in its reminder to the world of the brave who fought and fell for the cause of the allies:

“Gathered like pearls in their alien graves
Silent they sleep by the Persian waves,
Scattered like shells on Egyptian sands
They lie with pale brows and brave, broken hands,
They are strewn like blossoms mown down by chance.
On the blood-brown meadows of Flanders and France.”

She implores further:

“When the terror and tumult of hate shall cease
And life be refashioned on anvils of peace,
And your sons shall offer memorial thanks,
To the comrades who fought in your dauntless ranks,
And you honour the deeds of the deathless ones,
Remember the blood of my martyred sons!”

In another poem, composed at this very time and recited at the Indian National Congress held in 1915 she proudly recounts the blessings showered by India upon the sons and daughters of her soil:

“Are we not thine, O Belov’d, to inherit
The manifold pride and power of thy spirit?
Ne’er shall we fail thee, forsake thee or falter,
Whose hearts are thy home and thy shield and thine altars.
Lo! we would thrill the high stars with thy story
And set thee again in the fore-front on glory.”

An Anthem of Love may be regarded as the most radiant offering of love to the Mother country by her:

“One heart are we to love thee, O our Mother,
One undivided, indivisible soul
Bound by one hope, one purpose, one devotion
Towards a great, divinely destined goal.” 

Strain of Patriotism in Poems Dealing with the Pageant of Indian life:

She has written not many poems, dealing with patriotism and Nationhood. Notwithstanding, the patriotic strain recurs again and again in poems dealing with pageant of Indian life or adoration of Indian heroes, ancient or the contemporary, as Lord Buddha, Gokhale, Gandhi and Jinnah. Then there are her poems of nature, which have an Indian back- ground of Indian flowers, Indian birds, dawns and sunset and her frequent allusions to mythology of India.

An Indian atmosphere only runs through her poems, whether on Nature, love or life, or death, they are virtually the songs of India, and nothing besides. No other Indian poet, except Tagore, has interpreted India so successfully to the western readers through English poetry, and voiced so sublimely, as she has done, the whole complex texture to Indian life and thought of Indian flora and fauna and of Indian traditions and mythology.

She was advised, so the story goes, when in England, by Sir Edmund Gosse to whom she bashfully and reluctantly showed her poems, to give up writing as an English woman about nightingales and skylarks, and to compose poems on Indian subjects and to interpret the soul of India to the west. She heeded his right advice and started anew, and with a warmth of emotion, which she possessed in plenty, she represented India’s past and present and revealed the glory of her destiny.

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