In the Bazaars of Hyderabad Summary

Summary of the poem, In the Bazaars of Hyderabad by Sarojini Naidu

About the Poet

Sarojini Naidu (13 February, 1879 – 2 March, 1949) was a very popular poet who played an important role in the freedom struggle of India. She was called the Nightingale of India and served the country in various positions. She was the second woman to become the President of the Indian National Congress in 1925 and the first Indian woman to do so. Some of her famous poems are – Ecstasy, The India, In the Forest, Planquin Bearers, In the Bazaars of Hyderabad and so on. Sarojini Naidu died of a heart attack while working in her office in Lucknow.

Outline of the Poem

In the Bazaars of Hyderabad is a vibrant, colourful poem describing the bazaars of Hyderabad. This poem was written during the British rule when Indians were asked to boycott foreign products and buy goods from traditional Indian bazaars. During this time, publication of Indian newspapers was banned so the poet might have thought that the best way to spread the message to people was through he poems.

Line by Line Explanation of the Poem

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.

‘In the Bazaars of Hyderabad’ begins with a question form the poet to the merchants in the bazaar about what they are selling. The merchants reply that they are selling silver and crimson coloured turbans, purple brocade tunics, mirrors framed in amber and daggers with handles made of jade.

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.

The second stanza is about another stall and the same question is asked by the poet to the vendors about what they are weighing and selling. Saffron, lentils and rice are being sold by the vendors. The poet asks the maidens what they are grinding and she gets a reply that they are grinding henna, sandalwood and spices. The poet then questions the pedlars about what they are selling and they say chessmen dice made from ivory.

What do you make,O ye goldsmiths?
Wristlet and anklet and ring,
Bells for the feet of blue pigeons
Frail as a dragon-fly’s wing,
Girdles of gold for dancers,
Scabbards of gold for the king.

In the third stanza, the poet asks a goldsmith what ornaments they make. The goldsmith replies that they make wristlets, anklets, and rings. Moreover, they say that they manufacture bells to be tied to the feet of blue pigeons. The bells are as delicate as a dragonfly’s wing. Simultaneously they make gold girdles for dancers and sheaths for kings to keep their swords.

What do you cry,O ye fruitmen?
Citron, pomegranate, and plum.
What do you play ,O musicians?
Cithar, sarangi and drum.
what do you chant, O magicians?
Spells for aeons to come.

In the fourth stanza, the poet visits a fruit shop. There she enquires about what the fruitmen are selling. They tell her that they sell lemons, pomegranates and plums. Then the musicians are asked what they play and the reply is that sitar, sarangi and drums are played. She even comes across magicians and asks them what they are chanting and they say that they are chanting magical spells to charm thousand ages to come.

What do you weave, O ye flower-girls
With tassels of azure and red?
Crowns for the brow of a bridegroom,
Chaplets to garland his bed.
Sheets of white blossoms new-garnered
To perfume the sleep of the dead.

The final stanza is about the flower girls who are asked what they are weaving with strands of red and blue flowers. The girls reply that they are making garlands for bride and groom to decorate their bed for their wedding night. They are also weaving sheets of white flowers which are placed on graves for fragrance.