An Analysis of Indian Sensibility in
Nissim Ezekiel’s Poetry
(On the basis of the analysis of Night of the Scorpion, The Patriot, The Professor and Jewish Wedding in Bombay)
Nissim Ezekiel is one of the most celebrated poets of the postcolonial Indian literary history. He has wielded great influence as a leading poet, editor and an occasional playwright. He’s applauded for his subtlety in exploring common mundane themes in a comic light. His poetry lacks the nationalistic fervor that was common to the poems released during that time. His poetry objectively analyses the Indian scenario without taking any political stance. He constantly ridicules the Indian sensibilities with hopes of ...view middle of the document...
The speaker alludes to this in the poem, The Patriot.
“But modern generation is neglecting -
Too much going for fashion and foreign thing.”
The speaker in the ‘The Patriot’ comments about regeneration, remuneration and contraception, while the speaker in ‘The Professor’ comments about family planning. Similarly, the speaker in the poem ‘Jewish Wedding in Bombay’ also talks about how he maintains the image of the modern groom by not accepting dowry. All these images are symbolic of how the west has influenced the ideologies of Indians.
Ezekiel also mocks how Indians often act as armchair philosopher, through the character of the speaker in, The Patriot. The speaker constantly talks about how one must be, where India must go, but never strives to do anything in that direction. In fact, he’s scared to even take a strong stance given the political tension between the different parties.
Ezekiel also explores the importance of society in his poems. He weaves a typical Indian situation in which an entire village community identifies itself with a tragic domestic happening in his poem, Night of the scorpion. They all arrive in swarms, clicking their tongues and parting with their worldly knowledge in explanation to the cosmic reasons behind the happenings. Ezekiel also ridicules the ignorance and superstition surrounding the society when they offer emotional support by claiming that the mother will experience less troubles as she as suffered now. These simpletons are genuinely worried for the mother and try to offer solace through prayers and chants.
Ezekiel in all of his poems acts as a casual bystander throwing comic light over Indian sensibilities. He mocks at how Indians have to treat their family members as social showpiece. The speaker had to boast about how his sons were managers and owned cars to his student in the poem “The...