Sarojini Naidu: An Introduction to Her Life, Work and Poetry
Orient Blackswan, 1980 - 160 pages
Sarojini Naidu s interests and passions were many: books, poetry, people, conversation, food, gardens, folklore handicrafts and travel. As a poet, she had perhaps the finest ear among Indians for the English language. As a public speaker, she impressed the most sophisticated audiences. As a political worker, her courage and conviction embarassed her detractors. As a proponent of women s rights, she won over numerous chauvanists.
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The book is useful in many ways to have some understanding about the poet. But I love to have a poem explained as has been done.
Hailed as the Nightingale of India by Mahatma Gandhi,
Sarojini Naidu was a child prodigy, freedom fighter and social
activist. Her poem , Bangle Sellers is noted for its sheer lyrical beauty.
It reminds us of the dying profession of bangle sellers, who go about
the Indian streets selling bangles.
The opening part of the poem offers a visual treat to the reader. Selling the shining loads of bangles at the temple fair, the bangle sellers offer ‘delicate, bright rainbow-tinted circles of light’. The multi-coloured bright bangles are symbolic of radiant lives .
The bangles are of different hues and colours catching the fancy
of ‘happy daughters and happy wives’. Some bangles are apt for
maidens, who like to wear the white and the blue-coloured bangles.
Some of these bangles are like the buds floating dreamily on the
silent streams of the forest. Swimming in the bloom of new-born
leaves, they shine very bright.
The newly married girl prefers to wear the golden-coloured
bangles They are also like the flame of the bride’s marriage fire.
These bangles resemble the hue of her heart’s desire. Tender and
clear, they glow in the dark.
The faithful middle-aged wife loves to wear purple and
gold-flecked bangles. With her proverbial patience, she looks after all her domestic chores and worships the gods at her husband’s side. She has a sense of pride and
fulfillment writ large on her face.
Sarojini Naidu is a mature artist with a good understanding of
English metre and rhyme. The fresh images she uses enrich the beauty
of the poem further. The similes like ‘ silver and blue as the
mountain-mist’, ‘like fields of sunlit corn’, ‘like the flame of her
marriage fire’ brighten the beauty of bangles. The natural imagery sets
off the values the bangles stand for.
Dr V, Pala Prasada Rao
Department of English
JKC College, Guntur