ISC Reverie Question and Answer – The Gift of India as an anti war poem


The Gift of India 

Question: Sarojini Naidu’s The Gift of India can be read as an anti war poem. Do you agree? Why?

Answer : Yes, I am completely agree with the statement. Ever since the ancient times, literature has glorified war heroes. They have made the war to appear like worthwhile, honourable and romantic. Although tragic but war was viewed as necessary. At the beginning of the twentieth century by the horrors of its consequences the Great War i.e. the First World war has changed the minds of Westerners . The number of deaths caused by the Great War, the inhuman nature of trench warfare, introduction of new deadly chemical weapons such as the chlorine gas and the mustard gas, the under which soldiers were made to live and fight, appeared to be the antithesis of what civilised existence was supposed to be.

        Although The Gift of India is a patriotic poem but at one point it appears as an anti war poem. Naidu through this poem has depicted the horrors of the war through brutal killings of the Indian soldiers in the First World war. These Indian soldiers were no way involved in the cause or the outcome of the war but they were unscrupulously deployed for the benefit of the British. These soldiers fought in alien lands and died on the battlefield. They could never reunite with their families and their country. Their dead bodies lay lifeless like the shells scattered on sands .Their severed limbs and disheveled, blood stained bodies are proof enough of the horrors of the war ,which these soldiers had to face. Thus,the immeasurable grief of Mother India in the poem reflects Naidu’s anti war attitude. Throughout the poem , war is not glorified but condemned. Mother India throughout, laments the loss of her children.

         Mother India’s crying over the loss of Indian soldiers can be seen as reflection of every mother lamenting the loss of her martyred son . Mother India hopes that one day terror and hate shall cease and it is then that life will be remodelled with new found peace. Mother India at the end demands only one thing from the British that when out of love they will offer thanks and respect to the soldiers who fought valiantly, they should remember the brave soldiers of India who sacrificed their lives.
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