Sarojini Naidu’s poem “The Gift of India” is a patriotic poem depicting India’s sacrifice for the British cause. Comment.
Sarojini Naidu has always tried to arouse a sense of pride and patriotism in the hearts of her countrymen through her poems. In the present poem “The Gift of India”, the poetess reminds the world of India’s gifts to the colonial forces that ruled it.
In the poem, Mother India herself proclaims proudly her gifts to the west. The first stanza introduces the various gifts India has bestowed upon the colonisers, which include both its riches and people. The second stanza focuses more on the wistful state of martyred Indian soldiers. The third stanza talks of the grief those deaths have brought to Mother India. And finally, the fourth stanza is a sort of appeal to honour the sacrifices of the Indian soldiers for the cause of the war, rather for the British cause. So thematically, the poem is highly patriotic.
The Gift of India is a patriotic poem penned down by the patriotic woman of India Sarojini Naidu. In this poem she describes how and what Mother India had sacrificed for others, i.e., her brave sons whom she sent to different parts of the world to fight a war with the ones with whom they had no immediate conflict and with whom they never met before and her brave sons never refused to do so as they just wanted to protect the name and fame of their mother land India. In this poem Sarojini Naidu describes what all mother India has given to the foreign land — from the basic needs of living to the lives of her own sons, and in return she only had remorse of the death of her sons. She tells us how her sons are lying in foreign lands with brave and broken limbs and how they can’t even get the pride to be buried in the lap of their motherland. Sarojini Naidu gives a clear description about the losses India had to bear because of Britain and she also depicts the most destructive effects of war.
The poem ‘Gift of India’ by Sarojini Naidu is a tribute to the contributions of Indian soldiers in the First World War. It also highlights the feelings of the mothers of the soldiers who served in the war and also discusses the numerous sacrifices the country has made for the British.
In the beginning lines of the poem, Sarojini Naidu highlights the materialistic possessions the colonial forces have snatched away from the Indians. They include clothing, food and money in form of gold (“Rich gifts of raiment or grain or gold?”). Not only that, she puts forth the sacrifices of the Indian mothers who had let the Britishers take their sons away to fight in war because of which her womb is grief stricken (“Lo! I have flung to the East and West/ Priceless treasures torn from my breast”).
Hundreds and thousands of Indians had lost their lives to war in hotspots like Persia, Egypt, Flanders (in Belgium) and France. She also says that the Allied forces did not care for the deceased Indian soldiers and buried them in mass graves like scattered shells on sandy beaches. She asks the Britishers whether they can quantify the grief and sorrow of the loved ones of the soldiers whose selfless sacrifice led to victory which is useless to those loved ones.
Through this poem, Sarojini Naidu brings about a sense of patriotism and asks the British to offer gratitude and love to their fellow fallen comrades who bravely fought by their side.