Question 1 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
“What do you sell, O ye merchants?
Richly your wares are displayed.
Turbans of crimson and silver,
Tunics of purple brocade,
Mirrors with panels of amber,
Daggers with handles of jade.”
i) Do you think that the poet has realistically depicted the Indian markets?
Answer : Yes, the poet has realistically depicted the bazaars of Hyderabad. She adds a touch of vibrancy to the words in order to make it more attractive. The variety of activities and its colorfulness is vividly presented by the poetess to present an awesome picture of Indian culture. She describes the different occupations of people and the beautiful things they sell. She makes it lyrical and wonderful.
ii) Who is the speaker? What do you think of the speaker?
Answer : The speaker is a spectator looking admiringly at the richly laden things in the bazaars of Hyderabad. The speaker seems to observe what different people from different occupations do, how they sell their wares and the use of these things in one’s daily life. She seems to be an admirer of grandeur and royalty.
iii) What is the role of the merchants?
Answer : The role of the merchants is to sell different things bought from foreign lands in the bazaars of Hyderabad. They sell things like turbans of crimson and silver, tunics of purple brocade and so on.
These merchants are rich men and what they are selling is for the rich as the common people cannot afford to buy all these products.
iv) What is the speaker talking about?
Answer : The speaker is talking about the magnificence of the bazaars in Hyderabad. The speaker explains how different people sell different things. She has presented lively pictorial scenes of merchants, vendors, pedlars, goldsmiths, fruitmen and flower girls selling their goods. She is enamoured by the sheer magnanimity of the markets.
v) Name the poem and the poet. Do you think that the speaker is awed by the bazaars of Hyderabad?
Answer : The name of the poem is ‘In the Bazaars of Hyderabad’ and the name of the poet is Sarojini Naidu. Yes, the speaker is awed by the magnificence and grandeur of the things sold in the markets of Hyderabad. The way she describes them shows her state of mind. She uses the word ‘Richly’ for the products.
Question 2 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
“What do you weave, O ye flower girls
With tassels of azure and red?
Crowns for the brow of a bridegroom,
Sheets of white blossoms new-garnered
To perfume the sleep of the dead.”
i) Do you think that the role of the flower girls is justified? Give reasons.
Answer : Yes, the role of the flower girls is justified as it gives a real picture of the flower girls we see every day. They wreath flowers both for the newly wedded couple and for the graves of the dead people.
The poet not only points out the beauty of the market which is similar to that of assorted flowers available in the market but are also significant in terms of its diverse colours which signify the diversity of Indian culture.
ii) Name the poem and the poet. What do the colours ‘red’ and ‘white’ signify?
Answer : The name of the poem is ‘In the Bazaars of Hyderabad’ and the name of the poet is Sarojini Naidu. The colours ‘red’ and ‘white’ are completely opposed to each other. While ‘red’ signified love and attraction for the bride and bridegroom, ‘white’ signifies peace for the dead people in their graves.
iii) What do the flower girls prepare for the bridegroom. Why?
Answer : The flower girls prepare a crown as an ornament for the brow of the bridegroom and chaplets to garland his bed. They do this to decorate the bed for the first night.
iv) Explain the line, “To perfume the sleep of the dead.”
Answer : The line “To perfume the sleep of the dead” means that the flower girls prepare sheets of white garlands to adorn the graves of the dead people in their last journey. It is believed that the flowers which are put on the dead bodies or on the grave, give a soothing feeling to the dead in their eternal sleep.
v) What do the flower girls do? Juxtapose the idea of the flowers used for different purposes.
Answer : The flower girls weave with tassels of azure and red. They make crowns for the bridegroom and chaplets to garland his bed. The flower girls, on the one hand make garlands to decorate the bed of the bride and the bridegrooms, while on the other hand, they make sheets of white flowers to adorn the graves of the dead. They do both the tasks with the same dedication.
Question 3 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
“What do you make, O ye goldsmiths?
Wristlet and anklet and ring,
Bells for the feet of the blue pigeons,
Frail as a dragon-fly’s wing,
Girdles of gold for the dancers,
Scabbards of gold for the king.”
i) What does the phrase “frail as a a dragon fly’s wing” mean?
Answer : In the context of the extract, ‘frail’ means very fragile and dainty. The phrase “frail as a dragon fly’s wing” means that the goldsmiths are so skilled in their work that they create bells to be tied on to the feet of pigeons which are as light and delicate as the wings of a dragon fly.
ii) Why do goldsmiths make? What is their purpose?
Answer : Goldsmiths make wristlets, anklets and rings. They also make bells to be tied onto the feet of pigeons; they make girdles of gold for dancers and gold scabbards for kings. Their purpose is to make jewellery that Indians prefer and earn good money.
iii) Is the imagination of the poet in tandem with the real picture of a goldsmith?
Answer : Yes, the imagination of the poet is in tandem with the real picture of goldsmith. A goldsmith actually creates these things for different people. He creates wristlets, anklets, rings, bells, girdles and scabbards made of gold. By making these things they have a sense of pride in their own self-sufficiency.
iv) What do the dancers wear? What purpose does it serve?
Answer : The dancers wear girdles around their waists while dancing. The goldsmiths prepare these girdles for the dancers. Girdles serve as an adornment for the dancers. Dancers usually decorate themselves with different ornaments and girdle is one of them.
v) Comment on the language in the poem.
Answer : The language in the poem is poetic and lyrical. It aptly creates an imaginative ‘bazaar’ in the minds of the listeners. The reader or the listener can imagine the different luxurious items being sold by people belonging to different professions. The language is melodious and full of vivid imagery.
Question 4 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
“What do you weigh, O ye vendors?
Saffron and lentil and rice.
What do you grind, O ye maidens?
Sandalwood, henna and spice.
What do you call, O ye pedlars?
Chessmen and ivory dice.”
i) Explain the role of vendors, pedlars and maidens in the poem.
Answer : The vendors, pedlars and the maidens all add to the enigma of the ‘bazaars’ of Hyderabad. The vendors sell saffron, lentils and rice. The pedlars sell chessmen and ivory dice. The maidens grind sandalwood, henna and spice. Grinding of spices by woman shows that in India women also participate in the activities of the bazaar.
ii) Why do you think the poet chose specifically the bazaars of Hyderabad?
Answer : The poet probably chose the ‘bazaars’ of Hyderabad because of the ides of royalty attached to it. The Nizams of Hyderabad were the royal people and the city of Hyderabad long holds a history of aristocracy, which was needed in the poem.
iii) Explain the sheer magnificence of Naidu’s words in the poem.
Answer : Naidu uses words in order to create a royal and mysterious feeling about the things being sold in the bazaars of Hyderabad. Naidu’s words in the poem make the poem vivid and lively with the powerful images used. The manner in which she describes the ordinary things used in everyday life makes one rethink and imagine them in the same light.
iv) How do the maidens add a touch of reality to the poem?
Answer : The maidens grind sandalwood, henna and spice which are used in everyday life for different purposes and also on special occasions. We see usually young girls using sandalwood, henna and different spices as beauty remedies. This adds a touch of reality to the poem.
v) Does the mention of different products add a mysterious aura to the words? How?
Answer : Yes, the mention of different products adds a mysterious aura to the poem. The speaker describes the rich waves displayed in the markets-the turbans of crimson and silver, tunics of purple brocade, mirrors with panels of amber , daggers with handles of jade and so on. The colours crimson, silver and purple, the attractive mirrors and handles of jade – all of it create a feeling of royalty.
Question 5 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
“What do you cry, O ye fruitmen?
Citron, pomegranate and plum.
What do you play, O musicians?
Sitar, sarangi and drum.
What do you chant, O magicians?
Spells for aeons to come.”
i) What is the role of fruitmen, musicians and magicians in the poem?
Answer : The fruitmen, musicians and magicians all play different roles in the poem. The prime one is to attract the common people to by their goods or enjoy the entertainment. It is almost like a ‘fair’ where everyone comes together to revel and enjoy.
ii) Do you like the poem? Why?
Answer : Yes, I like the poem because there is an inherent sense of magnificence, colour and royalty to it. The language is melodious and the imagery is vivid. The people described are real portrayals of society. In describing the beauty of a traditional Indian bazaar, Naidu had touched upon all the five senses of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste.
iii) What do the above lines say?
Answer : In the above lines, the speaker is asking the fruitmen as to what they are selling. They reply that they are selling lemon, pomegranate and plum. Next, she asks the musicians what do they play. Their reply is sitar, sarangi and drum. Further, she asks the magicians about their chanting and they say, they are chanting spells to becokn aeons.
iv) Explain this line, “Spells for aeons to come.”
Answer : The line “Spells for aeons to come” means that the magicians are chanting magical spells to call upon aeons which are divine or supernatural powers. Perhaps they are doing this to entertain the audience in front of them. It also indicates the religious belief of the people visiting the market.
v) How is the poem a summary of life?
Answer : The poem is full of vivid imagery. The poet describes the various colours of things like crimson, silver, purple, red, azure which symbolizes various phases of human life from marriage to death. Also, the poem, is patriotic in the sense that it makes the readers to get attracted to Indian goods and not the British made goods. In the poem, the economic divisions in the society are also reflected in the articles sold. The necessities and luxuries of life are mentioned. Life and death are portrayed side by side.