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Sarojini Naidu as a Love poet

Sarojini Naidu as a Love poet

Sarojini Naidu as a Love Poet


Love has been an irresistible and devouring passion since the beginning of life. It has always been one of the most significant subjects of poetry. The passion has been given a philosophical Orientation by Indian poets. As such Indo-Anglian love poetry remains unique in the annals of English poetry. Sarojini Naidu is one of the earliest Indo- Anglian poets who wrote with such distinction about love and its various manifestations. Atleast one third of Sarojini poems deal with love and allied affections. Her love poetry ranges from passionate desire to mystic communication.

Love a Major Strand

Love is the quintessence of a woman’s whole being; a woman bereft of love is unimaginable. Sarojini Naidu was a woman to the hilt and it also a well known fact that she married Dr. Naidu for Love. This man did not belong to her cast; he was a non-Brahmin and ten years her senior. Then she was steeped in Persian poetry which has love as a major strand. Sanskrit love poetry also influenced her. Naturally love is a major theme in the poetry of Sarojini Naidu.

Progression from Passion to Devotion

In the love poetry of Sarojini there is a progression from passion to devotion : from revere to ecstasy. These love poems exhibit rare tenderness and delicacy of emotion. For Sarojini Love is a cooperative act and it can nurture only in the dissolution of the self in the fact of being with the lover. This union of of hearts is compared by Sarojini to the mingling of melodies and confluence of rivers in “The Temple Ecstasy”.

Let spring unlock the melodies of fountain and flood

And tech the winged word of man to mock the wild bird’s art.

But wilder music thrilled me when the rivers of your blood.

Swept o’er the flood gates of myself to drown my waiting heart.

In the Indian Love Song’ Sarojini calls love “the perfume in the petals of a rose.”

Love, Sarojini Naidu asserts, transcends the barriers of caste, creed and Colour. ‘In An Indian Love Song’ when the beloved asks her lover how can she yield to the voice of his pleading, and profance the law of his father’s creed for an enemy of her father’s race, the lover replies :

When are the sine of my race, beloved what are my people to thee? And what are the shrines and kin and kindred, what are thy gods to me?

Love recks not he feuds and bitter follies of stranger comrade or kin alike in his ear sound the temple. Bells and the cry of the muezzin. For love shall cancel the ancient wrong and conquer the ancient range, Redeem with his tears the memorized sorrow that sullied a bygone age.

An Ambitious Love Poem

The Temple: A Pilgrimage of Love is Sarojini Naidu’s most ambitious love poems. It is divided three parts. Each Section having eight lyrics. The epigraph of the poem is taken from Rabindranath Tagore:

My passion shall burn as the flame of salvation.

The flower of my love shall become the ripe fruit of devotion.

The first part of the poem deals with love’s fulfillment. The beloved surrenders to the lover in an almost abject fashion.

My heart be your tent and your pillow of rest.

And a place of repose for your feet.

Gradually the vision of love enlarges to encompass the terrestrial realms:

And everywhere – in blowing skies

And flowering earth-I and anew

The changing story of your face.

The myriad symbols of your grace.

The second Section tells us of the resentment the beloved feels when after a separation of a year the lover turns his face away. But soon she wishes the lover dead so that all differences can be annihilated :

How sweetly would our hearts unite

In a dim, undivided sleep.

Locked in death’s deep and narrow night.

All anger fled, all sorrow past.

In the last section Sarojini Naidu tries to bring about a reconciliation Between the lover and the beloved. Though love is transient she would not complain any further. A sort of stoicism fills the heart of the beloved. Ultimately a unification takes place:

Love I am yours to lie in your breast like a flower

Or burn like a weed for your sake in the flame of hell.

The Metaphysical strain in Sarojini-

The sensitivity and passionate spirit which the love poems of Saroini Naidu reveal is a kin to the spirit of love in Metaphysical poetry. Although she was brought up in a Romantic tradition as a poet of love her affinities are with Metaphysical poets. Like Donne, Marvell and Emily Dickinson. P. V. RajyaLakshmi says: “The affinity is largely one of analogous intuitions and insights into the psychology of love. The Indian poet works within the Indian tradition as far as the modalities of sentiment and instruments of verbal consciousness are concerned. But the mystic ordering of the love experience in the temple is kindred in spirit to the meditative vision of the metaphysical. The ardor off passion its many-splendored moods and manifestations its progress through quotidian and sidereal realities agonies and ecstasies, reveries and fantasies and its tortuous psychosis and transcendental vision are shared by Sarojini temple with Donne’s Anatomies Anniversaries and Litanies”.

Adverse intimation of Love in Sarojini-

Again Sarojini Naidu can be compare. English metaphysical in her adverse intimation of love in which love is often viewed as the soul’s hunger for the dissolution of the body. In the concluding stanza of the temple the lover consigns both flesh and soul to the consuming fires of ultimate dissolution. Thus we can say that the most charming feature of Sarojini’s love poetry is the metaphysical strain.


In conclusion we can quote the opinion of Rajyalakshmi on the love poetry of Sarojini Naidu. While it is true that Sarojini Naidu’s Love poetry offers many meaningful insights into the passion side of human nature one is left with a sense of inadequacy as far as the poetic ordering of the experience is concerned. Even in The Temple the sense of greatness she communicates is the sense of potentiality not a full realization there is a conspicuous is the sense of potentiality not a full realization. There is a conspicuous lack of ability to raise the experiential level beyond the mimetic gestures of mood. Memory and fancy to a higher creative plane”.

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