Comment on the suitability of the title of Sarojini Naidu’s poem The Gift Of India.
Sarojini Naidu’s poem ‘The Gift of India’ was written in 1915 during the First World War as an appeal for recognition of Indian contribution in the war. Not only that, the speaker mother India here recounts what all she has given to the colonizers. And she considers all those ‘raiment or grain or gold’ and all the lives of her sons who fought in the war as her gifts to others.
The British and other colonizers came to India, developed their business here and took a lot of ‘priceless treasures’ to their country over the years. Mother India has never prevented them.
Lo! I have flung to the East and the West
Priceless treasures torn from my brest,
Again, she has allowed her numerous sons to fight for the British alliance. She has received great sorrows and taken pains of losing her sons. But still, she keeps her heart’s despair thrilling with the pride and glory of helping others with all she had.
And yielded the sons of my stricken womb
To the drum-beats of the duty, the sabers of doom.
Now that she has given all that to others, she just considers as a gift of hers. But all she wants is some recognition for the blood of her martyred sons.
The poet has used the word ‘gift’ only once in the poem — in the second line to be precise. But still, this is important enough to mean what the poet wants to convey through her poem — accounting the gifts of India to the west — India’s contribution to the world. Thus the title of the poem ‘The Gift of India’ is just and apt.