To the Nightingale of India

by | Feb 12, 2020 | Poems, Sravasti's Blog

As the sunset hangs on a cloud,

A weary me sits and dreams

Of your lyrical verses,

Where autumn days and delicate moons

Spoke of simpler times.


When there were sounds of laughter and scents of spices

In the lustrous Bazaars of Hyderabad.

When maidens wearing azure and red silken tassles

Bought rainbow-tinted circles of light

From the bangle-sellers’ shining load.


When palanquins swayed, lightly, like flowers in the wind

And love cancelled the ancient rage.

When, from dawn to night,

Weavers wove robes for the child, veils for the bride

And shrouds for those who died.


Now, in these shrouded times,

The nightingale’s verse for the men of the sea,

Echo in my weary, saddened heart – ‘Rise, brothers, rise.’

Much has been delayed, much lies ahead.

‘It’s time to set our catamarans free’.


She was the Nightingale of India. Yet, she was not just a poet. She believed in civil rights, political and social equality for women and was at the forefront of India’s struggle for independence. She was Sarojini Naidu (nee Chattopadhyay). The richness of imagery and lyricism in her verses have always fascinated me. This is my humble homage on the birth anniversary of the lady whose poems I have grown up with. In my musings, I have woven phrases from many of her famous verses, viz., Autumn Song, In the Bazaars of Hyderabad, The Bangle-Sellers, Indian Weavers, Palanquin Bearers, An Indian Love Song and Coromandel Fishers.

The photograph was taken at Meena Bazaar, Red Fort, India.

Poem & Image: Sravasti Ghosh Dastidar