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10 votes

What is the "love-god's string" in Sarojini Naidu's "A Song in Spring"?

This is a reference to the Hindu god of love, Kama, who, like Cupid, has a magical bow with magical arrows. (Comma overload) In the narrow context of the verse, it's an allusion, and in the broader ...
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8 votes

What is the "living shroud" in Sarojini Naidu's "Dirge"?

Traditional Hindu culture uses clothing and jewellery to mark a woman's marital status. Married women wear bangles of red or green glass, bracelets of gold or conch shell, and/or a ma.ngalasuutra, a ...
verbose's user avatar
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8 votes

Significance of the title of "Corn-Grinders" by Sarojini Naidu

Naidu's title "Corn-Grinders" draws upon a metaphor common in the Indian subcontinent, where a grinding mill symbolizes the pitilessness of existence. As Spagirl writes in her answer, corn ...
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7 votes

When and how did the nickname "the Nightingale of India" originate?

I'm going to guess that this has been lost to time. Anu Kumar, in her biography of Naidu, writes that the nickname's origins are unknown. In recognition of her poetic genius, she was affectionately ...
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6 votes

Significance of the title of "Corn-Grinders" by Sarojini Naidu

I understand this question to have two effective parts, ‘why corn?’ and ‘why ‘corn grinders?’ My reading is that ‘corn is used in this sense (per the OED): II.3.a.Old English–collective singular. The ...
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5 votes
Accepted

'Wild-bee hours' and 'wild-parrot days' in Sarojini Naidu's "A Rajput Love Song"

This is a kind of double hypallage, “a figure of speech in which there is an interchange of two elements of a proposition”. So, for example, the first line: Haste, O wild-bee hours, to the gardens of ...
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5 votes
Accepted

Why is there a kokila in the henna-spray?

First, the meaning of “spray”, which Naidu uses in this sense: spray, n. 1.a. Small or slender twigs of trees or shrub. Oxford English Dictionary. This sense was often used by English poets as a ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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5 votes
Accepted

What are the "sirisha-bowers" in Sarojini Naidu's 'Indian Love Song'?

This is शिरीष (śirīṣa), known in English under various names: Wikipedia gives “siris, Indian siris, East Indian walnut, Broome raintree, lebbeck, lebbek tree, frywood, koko and woman’s tongue”. Here’s ...
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4 votes

What does "the clustering keovas" mean in Sarojini Naidu's "The Snake Charmer"?

Starting from an assumption that it would be a plant and that ‘keovas’ was plural, I added ‘Indian plant’ and ‘Keova’ to the search and found this result: The Turkish attar is usually adulterated ...
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4 votes
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What view of suttee comes across in Naidu's poem?

tl;dr The poem's problematic representation of sati shows the limits of the strategy Naidu adopted in her pioneering attempts to craft a role for herself as an Indian poet writing in English. Deets &...
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4 votes
Accepted

When and how did the nickname "the Nightingale of India" originate?

As CDR points out in an earlier answer, the first description of Naidu as a nightingale comes from a review in a British newspaper of her first volume of poems, The Golden Threshold (1905). However, ...
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4 votes

Why are the champak flowers in particular "foredoomed... to shrivel and shrink and fade"?

The lines do not have any specific reference aside from the literal fact that the champak flowers will die. According to Naidu, as the champak tree produces no edible fruit, the only reason for the ...
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3 votes

Meaning of "a bride high-mated with the spheres" in Sarojini Naidu's 'To India'

One of the meanings of "sphere" is planet or star, as in the phrase the music of the spheres. "High-mated" is less easy to parse, but the context provides a few connotations: ...
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3 votes

What does the title of "Leili" mean?

The poem describes night. ("The dying day"..."golden moons") And Leili is a Persian word that means 'night'. Turns out the word is often used by poets: In sultry climates of ...
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3 votes

What is "The sounding cheer of Time's prophetic horn" in Naidu's "An Anthem of Love"?

The prophecy is of India's freedom from British rule. The Bird of Time was published in 1911. By then, Naidu was active in the struggle for Indian independence. Her parents were members of the Brahmo ...
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3 votes

When and how did the nickname "the Nightingale of India" originate?

According to professor K.R. Ramachandran Nair (Tagore Arts College, Pondicherry) in his book Three Indo-Anglian poets : Henry Derozio, Toru Dutt, and Sarojini Naidu, published in 1987: Sarojini Naidu ...
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2 votes

Why a "moonless" vigil in Sarojini Naidu's "Dirge"?

You cannot always see the moon in the night sky. A New Moon rises above the eastern horizon at sunrise with the sun. On this day the Moon then travels across the daytime sky with the sun. A New Moon ...
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2 votes

What is the significance of the magicians in the poem 'In The Bazaars Of Hyderabad'?

This line is right before the final stanza of the poem. The poem ends: What do you chant, O magicians? Spells for the aeons to come. What do you weave, O ye flower-girls? With tassels of ...
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1 vote

What is the "pride of a soul that has conquered fate"?

This is not a complete answer, but maybe it will inspire somebody to find one. There is a parallelism between the two stanzas, especially in the last half of the stanzas. Here is the last part of the ...

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