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Don't Call me Indo-Anglican- Syed Amanuddin- Poem Summary

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

POEM: no i don't want to be a hotchpotch of culture a confusion of language a nullity of imagination an abortive affair between an indo and an anglo i hate hyphens

the artificial bridges between artificial values in the name of race religion n language i damn all hyphenated minds prejudiced offsprings of unenlightened souls i denounce all labels and labelmakers i refuse to be a moonrock specimen to be analyzed labelled n stored for a curious gloomy fellow to reanalyze reclassify me for shelving me again

they call me indo-anglian I don't know what they mean cauvery flows in my veins chamundi hills rise in my mind with stars afloat eyes of the goddess smiling on the slain demon brindavan fountains sing in my soul but i am not tied down to my childhood scene. i have led languages by their ears i have twisted creeds to force the truth out i have burned candles in the caves of prejudice i have surged in the oceans of being i have flown across the universe on the wings of my thought

they call me indo-anglian the mistaken misinformed folk n class me with a small group of writers cloistering me crippling me i would rather roam with kalidasa n kabir or go on a spiritual journey with dante meditate with khayyam on the mathematics of existence or sing with ghalib the anguish of love or drown with li po kissing the moon's reflection in the river they call me indo-anglian it's true i write in english dream in the language of shakespeare n keats but I am not an anglo my friend i am a POET i have lived forty centuries under various names i am now amanuddin - Syed Amanuddin POEM SUMMARY: In Don't call me Indo-Anglican poem, in the first stanza, the poet vehemently opposes being a person who is lingering between two identities. He considers such hyphenated terms invalid, null, and obscure. He says that he denies being considered as a representative of a confusing language which leads to loss of imagination. Whatever the people call him (Indo- Anglian) is nothing but an ‘abortive affair’. Because he knows it’s not him, whatever the common public name him.

In the second stanza, the poet denounces and damns all the labels he has got regarding his origin and identity and all the label makers who call themselves valid to categorize him because as for him, those label markers are none other than an unenlightened soul with prejudice and unstable mind. He refuses to be a specimen in a lab to be securitized by an observer just to be labeled for the latter’s (observer’s) curiosity. In the third stanza, the poet is doubtful why “they”, the label makers call him Indo- Anglian because as for his memory, still, he has the essence of his childhood in him. He states this with reference to the geographical connections he had in his childhood. He says his soul still feels connected to Cauvery, an Indian river that rises from the Brahmagiri range in the Western Ghats; Chamundi hills, in Mysore his birthplace, which has the Chamundeshwari temple at the top of the hills; the eyes of the goddesses Chamundeshwari smiling while slaying the demon and the Brindhavan fountains. And so he claims that he cannot be called Indo- Anglian as if he is an Indian only by birth because he justifies he also feels Indian.

In the fourth stanza, he says that just because he still feels Indian, he does not wish to be confined to his childhood and identity. He says he has used languages to lead away for the label makers to mark him ‘whatever they call him. He has twisted his belief to force the truth out. He once celebrated prejudiced thoughts. He rose among others and he has used his imagination to flow across the universe. In the fifth stanza, the poet goes to the extent of leaving the world and go on a roam with the dead poets, who were once like him. He says instead of living in a world that labels him Indo- Anglian and cripples him by adding a remote group of writers, he would drown happily like Li Po did (a Chinese poet belonging to the Tang Dynasty, it’s been said that he died drowning in a river trying to catch a moonbeam). He lists the names of the poets he would like to spend time with. They are Kalidasa, an Indian classical author; Kabir Das, an Indian mystic poet and saint who influenced Hinduism’s Bhakti Movement; Dante Alighieri, an Italian Poet; Omar Khayyam, a Persian Poet, Mathematician, and Li Po.

In the final stanza, the poet says that people (label makers) call him Indo- Anglian. He admits that he writes in English, the language that William Shakespeare and John Keats have thought. But he denies their claim (i.e. he is an Indo- Anglian) as he cannot be confined by any religious, cultural, or national identity because he is a POET. He enlightens that he has lived over 40 centuries under various names and in this present life, he is called Amanuddin. This final statement reflects Yeats’ idea of the self and the soul.

~ Literpretation Team for Education

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