Indianness in The Professor by Nissim Ezekiel

QuestionsIndianness in The Professor by Nissim Ezekiel
Jayanta K Maity Staff asked 1 year ago

Show how the poet Nissim Ezekiel has depicted the Indian way of thought and culture in his poem ‘The Professor’.

or, How has the poet been critical of the Indians in ‘The Professor’?

or, Nissim Ezekiel’s poem The Professor is remarkable for its depiction of Indianness: Discuss.

1 Answers
Jayanta K Maity Staff answered 1 year ago

Nissim Ezekiel is an Indian poet, and he has brilliantly portrayed a typical Indian character in his poem The Professor. Professor Sheth in the poem represents the stereotypes of Indians. And needless to say, this poem is particularly remarkable for its depiction of Indianness.

The poet here very cleverly shows how the Indians like to talk about themselves, even when they are not asked to, and others may be feeling irritated. The professor continues to talk about himself more and more throughout the poem.

Nissim Ezekiel also shows that the professor is proud of his two sons. They are holding very prestigious posts like Bank Manager and Sales Manager, in the Indian context. So he proudly declares that to everyone he meets.

Then the professor talks about his third son but considers him a ‘black sheep’ that every family needs. Nissim Ezekiel indicates that the Indians are blind to see their children’s faults and always tend to justify their mistakes.

The poet shows our tendency to pick rhyming names for the children. Sarala and Tarala are two great examples of the Indian names. Moreover, Indian parents are always anxious with their daughter’s marriage. They also take pride in a successful marriage of their daughter. Another thing is that the parents-in-law always speak good about their son-in-law.

The professor is proud that he has many children and grandchildren. We can clearly see that the poet Nissim Ezekiel is mocking at the Indians for taking pride in having many issues. In our country, where population is probably the worst problem, persons like professors do bear such primitive mentality. It also highlights that we love to take pride even for wrong reasons.

The poet Nissim Ezekiel indicates our tendency to show proficiency in English. We Indians feel proud to speak in English and to use idiomatic expressions, even if we are not actually good at it. Not only that, we love to speak about change. The world is always changing since the beginning, so there is no point to always speak of that change.

Through the poem The Professor the poet shows that the Indians love to talk about their good health. They feel proud that they are not suffering from the common problems like diabetes, high blood pressure or heart attack.

The professor allows the student to speak only twice. But that was only to make a mockery of him. This shows how desperate we Indians are to speak about ourselves without listening to others.

One more typical Indianness is that people wish to live long, even doing nothing productive. Moreover, there is a tendency to talk about age, showing that he or she is still young enough.

The poet in The Professor also shows our habit of speaking about the past. The professor was proud that he had made a joke on the student’s past health.

In the very last three lines the professor’s English is far from that of the native speakers. The poet also mocks at our habit of showing humbleness in the wrong way, as the professor does it by mentioning his residence as ‘humble’.

Thus, throughout the poem The Professor, Nissim Ezekiel portrays an Indian character whom we recognize very well. There is nothing exaggerated. And that’s the beauty of the poem.

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