‘The Gift of India’ by Sarojini Naidu is a poem that reminds us how useless war is. Discuss.
Though Sarojini Naidu’s poem The Gift of India cannot be regarded as an anti-war poem in the stricter sense, it undoubtedly gives us a reminder about the uselessness of war. This message mainly comes between line 5 and line 14.
And yielded the sons from my stricken womb
To the drum-beats of the duty, and sabers of doom.
These lines express the lamentation of mother India who has lost her young sons in the war.
They lie with pale brows and brave, broken hands
This says how the dead soldiers are lying in their graves far from their motherland, scattered in different countries, like carelessly mown down flowers. Though they were brave and could contribute to the nation’s growth, they didn’t get the care they deserved, now lying with ‘broken hands’.
Can ye measure the grief of the tears I weep
Or compass the woe of the watch I keep?
Once again the wailing of the mother surfaces. She talks about her grief and woe. And all this has been brought by the war — the futility of war. The words ‘far sad glorious vision‘, ‘torn red banners of victory‘, ‘the terror and the tumult of hate‘ — all contain a certain ironical tone suggesting how useless war can be.
Though the poem is apparently a demand of mother India for accounting the contribution of her sons when the war ends, it gives us a subtle reminder that war can cause no good, after all.