“Background, Casually” (by Nissim Ezekiel)
How to feel………..used to say.
Ref. to the Context- These lines presenting the offensive attitude of the Hindus towards the poet, have been extracted him an autobiographical poem entitled Background, Casually, written by Nissim Ezekiel. Here the poet describes the circumstances which he had to face in India. He had to adjust with them and in the atmosphere of hostility, he Hindus in India had also cruel and tyrannical attitude towards him. In India he had always been treated with great contempt.
Explanation- According to the poet, he spent two years in London full of despair. He could make no achievement there. He remained confined in his basement room and led a lonely life. Later on he decided to return India. He had to accept mental jobs on Cargo-ship to pay the fare. After reaching India, he was able to laugh and feel happiness. After reaching his house, he felt and observed how he could feel comfortable at his house. He found in difficult to regard India as his real house. The Hindus of India had not the spirits of humanity and brotherhood. Their attitude was inhuman. His father had also told him that all the Hindus were alike in their behaviour which according to him was offensive and obnoxious. On his return to India he was a to total failure. He had studied a bit of philosophy, which was of no use in real life. His study of philosophy added to his own exasperation. He was in utter confusion. He did not know what to do.
When someone talked……..myself a fool.
Reference to the Context- These lines presenting most contemptuous picture of the behaviour and the conduct of the Hindus in India, have bene extracted from an autobiography poem entitled Background, Casually, written by Nissim Ezekiel. Here the poet says that the Hindus were of great unhealthy conduct and behaviour. They had dirty habits. They could be identified easily because of their nature and habits. They spoiled the atmosphere by their activities.
Explanation- According to the poet, all the Hindus had the same nature and habits. They had bad manners. They talked loudly and when they went to meet someone, they knocked as the door badly like the approach of a Devil. In fact, it was not wrong to call them Devil. They wandered in the streets and roads calling and crying loudly in order to sell the things to earn their living. They were every lazy. They were in the habit of passing their time in wandering and gossiping. They were not active in their work. They did their work as a burden. They were dull and monotonous. They did not like the life of action. The poet was ready to face the circumstances. He could not settle at one place. He was changing his jobs. He also realized that he had committed a folly by getting married.
The song of my ………made his rounds.
Reference to the Context- These lines depicting the reason of poet’s being the subject of contempt have been extracted from an autobiographical poem entitled Background, Casually, written by Nissim Ezekiel. Here the poet tells us the reason of becoming the victim of contempt. He also tells about the mean profession of his ancestors.
Explanation- According to the poet, there is a lot more that has to be told about his background. He again delves into his past. He informs us that his ancestors were oil pressers, and belonged to the Shanwar Tele caste. They pressed oil out of seeds to earn their living. Thus Ezekiel did not come from any high caste among the Jews, and he was not descended from very respectable ancestors. Oil-crushing was the trade to which his ancestors belonged. He remembers the bullock, he would observe as a child moving round and round, driving the machine that crushed oil from the seeds.
One among them ……….feets and hands.
Reference to the Context- These lines depicting one of Ezekiel’s ancestors who had served the British Army in the Boer war and the poet’s experience, have been extracted from an autobiographical poem entitled Background Casually, written by Nissim Ezekiel. The poet appeared in Ezekiel’s six volume poems which was. Here the poet recalls his childhood experience when he listened the fierceful stories from a Major in British army. These stories frightened him. The sights of the stories of the war as described by Major lingered in his dreams.
Explanation- According to the poet, one of his ancestors was a Major in British army. He had fought a war which had taken place between the British forces and Africans. He used to tell his was experiences to his father. He told the horrible sights of the war to his father. He often listened the stories of the war. On hearing the horrible experience of war, he was frightened. He could not get sound sleep during night because in his dreams, the sights of the war as depicted by Major danced horrifying him. He dreams of the enemy forces. Such kinds of dreams also troubled and disturbed him during the day because he was thinking about the cruel sights of the war.
The later dreams………..that again.
Reference to the Context- These lines presenting poet’s carefree and spontaneous manner of writing poetry and losing his grip on real things, have been extracted from an autobiographical poem entitled Background, Casually written by Nissim Ezekiel. After his childhood dreams, as a grown up man, the poet began to dream only of words. He was under the impression that the words could not deceive him and could not create misunderstandings in the minds of his readers. So, he started composing poems in carefree manner.
Explanation- Initially Ezekiel used to dream that he had become prisoner in the hands of the enemy forces but subsequently he began to dream only of how words should be chosen for the writing of poetry. In the beginning of his poetic career, the poet did not know that the choice of wrong words could lead to a lot of misunderstanding in the minds of his readers, and that he could thus discredit himself it he were not careful. In the beginning, he used the words which came in his imagination. He did not use the words after analysing the real things based on this physical world. He did not ponder over the real things. This carefree and spontaneous manner of writing poetry led to his losing his grip on things. As he dwelt in the imaginary world of the poet, he was failure in the real world, and thus was not prepared for the harsh realities of life. He reiterated that if he was given a second chance, he would not make the same mistake twice.
I look about…………outer storms.
Reference to the Context- These lines presenting poet’s mature attitude towards the writing of poems, have been extracted from an autobiographical poem entitled Background, Casually written by Nissim Ezekiel.
Here the poet decided not to continue with the facile manner of writing but to adopt a more wordily style which considered is commercializing his poetry and to exploit such themes as the inner tumults of his fellow-human beings and the external, social upheavals.
Explanation- According to the poet, he has come to the conclusion that the wise poet is one who manages to make the best use of the opportunities which come his way. The wise poet has often to follow a foolish course of action. For instance a wise poet can try to exploit a situation in order to write a popular poem. He would have a create a poem out of the inner turmult in human beings and also to deal with the upheavals in the external life of human beings. Still, despite all the disappointments and bitterness, the poet strives for a clearer Vision, and deeper understanding of life and its varied problems. Some may consider him fool; but believes that wisdom lies of making the best on be of one’s opportunities. He therefore, makes best use of his internal as well as external experiences and writes about his emotion and passions, frustrations and failures, as well as the problems that real life had in store for him.
The Indian landscape………..the case.
Reference to the Context- These lines based on the poet’s devotion of the country and the city of his choice, have been extracted from an autobiographical poem entitled “Background, Casually” written by Nissim Ezekiel. Here the poet says that he has chosen India to live. He has made a great attachment with India. Inspite of being the extremity of summer weather, he has fondness of India. His determination to settle in India impresses to every one.
Explanation- Poet’s devotion and love to India and its city of his choice is just as great as his commitment to his profession. The poet seeks his identity in Indian soil. The climate is too hot for him. The intensity of heat of this country is scorching, but the poet has become so much a part of the environment of this country. He manages to survive the heat and the squat on Even the foreigners get the impression that he really belongs to it. It is much to the surprise of his foreigner friends, who visit him, or who write to him. They say that he is very different from the native Indians. They exaggerate his alien character. The poet means that he is after all, not to different from the natives of India.
I have made ……. where I am.
Reference to the Context- These lines showing poet’s love, devotion and deep attachment for India, have been extracted from an autobiographical poem entitled “Background, Casually”, written by Nissim Ezekiel. Here the poet, on his part, feels sure that he has made his commitments one of which is that he would stay on in his country where he finds himself, and that he would stick to it even if he is regarded as a man who has settled down in a backward country.
Explanation- The poet is proud of his country and its environment. He has made a decision to make India his home, and will continue to live in his chosen home. He has kept his commitment by depicting Indian environment and reality of life in his chosen city Mumbai, which has shaped his sensibilities. He affirms his attachment to India even though he had not properly been treated during his years of boyhood and even later, and even though he is actually and painfully conscious of the deficiencies and defects of the Indian people. If one has to choose a backward place for settling, then the backward place for him in his this country. However, he has made this remark not because he thinks India to be a backward country but because he has said in the preceding two lines that many people choose some remote and backward place for settling down in life.
“Background, Casually” (Stanza 1 to 7)– Click Here
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