The Gift of India

Is there aught you need that my hands withhold,
Rich gifts of raiment or grain or gold?
Lo! I have flung to the East and West
Priceless treasures torn from my breast,
And yielded the sons of my stricken womb
To the drum-beats of duty, the sabres of doom.

Gathered like pearls in their alien gravès
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.

Can ye measure the grief of the tears I weep
Or compass the woe of the watch I keep?
Or the pride that thrills thro' my heart's despair
And the hope that comforts the anguish of prayer?
And the far sad glorious vision I see
Of the torn red banners of Victory?

When the terror and tumult of hate shall cease
And life be refashioned on anvils of peace,
And your love 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!
Rate this poem: 


Hnnhbiie30's picture

"The Gift of India" - Sarojini Naidu's Poignant Tribute to Sacrifice

Sarojini Naidu's powerful poem, "The Gift of India," is a poignant exploration of sacrifice, grief, and the enduring spirit of a nation. Through evocative verses, Naidu weaves a tapestry of emotions, laying bare the heart-wrenching reality of a country's profound loss during times of war.

The poem is framed as a conversation between India, personified as a grieving mother, and the rest of the world. India questions if there is anything more she could give to ease the suffering, having already sacrificed her wealth, resources, and, most significantly, her sons. The language is both eloquent and emotional, as India recounts how her children have been laid to rest in distant lands – "Gathered like pearls in their alien graves," or scattered like shells on Egyptian sands.

The imagery employed by Naidu is striking. The comparison of fallen soldiers to pearls and shells conveys the preciousness and fragility of human life. The mention of "pale brows and brave, broken hands" paints a vivid picture of the silent sacrifice made by these heroes. The reference to "blossoms mown down by chance" on the battlefields of Flanders and France further amplifies the tragedy of war, where young lives are cut short indiscriminately.

The emotional depth of the poem intensifies as India questions whether others can truly comprehend her grief or fathom the weight of her ceaseless vigil. The lines, "Can ye measure the grief of the tears I weep / Or compass the woe of the watch I keep?" resonate with the universal theme of a mother's pain, reaching beyond borders and cultures.

Naidu skillfully blends sorrow with pride and hope, reflecting the complex emotions of a nation at war. The mother's heart is torn between despair and the vision of "torn red banners of Victory." Here, the poet captures the conflicting emotions that war evokes – the agony of loss and the yearning for a triumphant end.

The poem takes a poignant turn as Naidu looks towards a future when the "terror and tumult of hate shall cease." The imagery of life being "refashioned on anvils of peace" portrays a hopeful vision where the sacrifices of the fallen will contribute to a more harmonious world. The poet suggests that love and gratitude will be the lasting tribute to those who fought courageously in the face of adversity.

In the final stanza, Naidu implores the world to remember the blood of India's martyred sons when honoring the deeds of the fallen soldiers. This plea adds a universal appeal to the poem, urging readers to acknowledge the sacrifices made by nations far and wide.

"The Gift of India" stands as a timeless testament to the human cost of war and the enduring strength of a nation's spirit. Naidu's mastery of language, coupled with her ability to convey deep emotions, makes this poem a compelling and thought-provoking exploration of sacrifice and its lasting impact on a grieving motherland.

Report SPAM