Towards an Understanding of Indian Poetry in English within Indian Critical Tradition

  • C. D. Narasimhaiah
Part of the Cambridge Commonwealth Series book series (CAMCOM)


In a determined bid to assert my self-respect and my right to experience (not ‘enjoy’, which trivializes it) a work of art without the interference of received reputations — for, as with eating and love-making, no one can do it for another — I turned away, at least a quarter of a century ago, from the lush jungle of Western cannibalistic critical theories, hoping to find a centre of sanity in my own three-thousand-year-old inheritance. I sought to sweep away the cobwebs of Euro-centric critical theories with a broomstick from my backyard, for (a) I knew a dead author never wrote a book and (b) a book was very much there — it was there before the reader came to it and would continue to be there after he was gone. I recognized, though, more than one reader and my pluralistic tradition provided for at least five categories:

Acharya — the cultivated reader

Pandita — the learned one, but not necessarily a discriminating one

Bhakta — the devoted reader — devoted to the writer, the cause, etc.

Sadharanajana — the common reader

Alpabuddhijana — the groundling


American Scholar Indian Scholar Indian Mind Short Poem Collect Poem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    A.K. Coomaraswamy, The Dance of Shiva (New York: The Noonday Press, 1957) 2.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Toru Dutt, Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan (London: Kegan Paul and Trench, 1882) 79.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    E.W. Gosse], The Examiner (26 August 1876) 967.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Quoted in Padmini Sengupta, Sarojini Naidu: a Biography (London: Asia Publishing House, 1966) 55.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Sarojini Naidu, The Sceptred Flute. Songs of India (Allahabad, Kitabistan, 1943; 1969), The Queen’s Rival’ 45–8, To a Buddha Seated on a Lotus’ 61–2.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    Aurobindo Ghosh, Collected Poems, Vol. 5 of the Birth Centenary Library, 30 vols. (Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Asram Trust, 1972) 119–20.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    C. D. Narasimhaiah, The Swan and the Eagle (Simla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study, 1969) 32–3.Google Scholar
  8. 17.
    M.C. Bradbrook, Literature in Action: Studies in Continental and Commonwealth Society (London: Chatto and Windus, 1972) 8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. D. Narasimhaiah

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations