In accordance with our meta agreement to have topic challenges and a later meta agreement to have topic challenges lasting for two months and overlapping by one month, it is (past) time to announce the September–October 2023 topic challenge. Unfortunately, due to factors not just contained to Literature.SE, the August–September topic challenge was skipped, and so we're heading directly to September–October.

Based on the number of votes (+4/-0), the next topic challenge of the year 2023 will be:

Sarojini Naidu

What's a topic challenge?

See the meta posts linked above, and also this main meta post. In short, during September and October 2023 you are invited to try to read at least one Sarojini Naidu story and ask questions about it.

Participation is not obligatory in any sense, and questions on other works are more than welcome during September and October too; they just won't count as part of this topic challenge.

How can I take part?

By getting hold of some works of Sarojini Naidu and asking (or answering!) good questions about them. Questions about these works should be tagged with and . We'll keep a list of all such questions in an answer to this meta post.

Below is Rand al'Thor's presentation:

Sarojini Naidu

I just learned about this person today, but she seems to have been an important figure in Indian history as well as an outstanding poet. Quoting from Wikipedia:

Naidu's literary work as a poet earned her the nickname the "Nightingale of India" by Gandhi because of the colour, imagery and lyrical quality of her poetry. Her oeuvre includes both children's poems and others written on more serious themes including patriotism and tragedy. Published in 1912, "In the Bazaars of Hyderabad" remains one of her most popular poems. [...] Naidu's poetry was written in english [sic], and usually took the form of lyric poetry in the tradition of British Romanticism, which she was sometimes challenged to reconcile with her Indian nationalist politics. She was known for her vivid use of rich sensory images in her writing, and for her lush depictions of India. She was well-regarded as a poet, considered the "Indian Yeats".

Beginning in 1904, Naidu became an increasingly popular orator, promoting Indian independence and women's rights, especially women's education. Her oratory often framed arguments following the five-part rhetorical structures of Nyaya reasoning. [...] Naidu is known as "one of India's feminist luminaries". Naidu's birthday, 13 February, is celebrated as Women's Day to recognise powerful voices of women in India's history.

Her poetry will be interesting to read and analyse in its own right, and it may also be interesting to examine the relationship between her artistic writing and her political views (e.g. what does it mean that she "sometimes challenged" the "tradition of British Romanticism" in her poetry? there, I've already come up with a question for this potential topic challenge!)

Several of Naidu's works can be found on Wikisource.

What's next?

1 Answer 1


List of all questions posted in this topic challenge

  1. How was the poem "The Pardah Nashin" received by critics and the general public? by Charo, 01/09/2023.
  2. When and how did the nickname "the Nightingale of India" originate? by Rand al'Thor, 01/09/2023.
  3. What is the "pride of a soul that has conquered fate"? by Mithical, 03/09/2023.
  4. What is the "living shroud" in Sarojini Naidu's "Dirge"? by Mithical, 04/09/2023.
  5. Why a "moonless" vigil in Sarojini Naidu's "Dirge"? by Mithical, 05/09/2023.
  6. What view of suttee comes across in Naidu's poem? by Rand al'Thor, 06/09/2023.
  7. What does "the clustering keovas" mean in Sarojini Naidu's "The Snake Charmer"? by Mithical, 07/09/2023.
  8. What are the "sirisha-bowers" in Sarojini Naidu's 'Indian Love Song'? by CDR, 07/09/2023.
  9. Significance of the title of "Corn-Grinders" by Sarojini Naidu by Mithical, 08/09/2023.
  10. What is "The sounding cheer of Time's prophetic horn" in Naidu's "An Anthem of Love"? by Mithical, 11/09/2023.
  11. What is the "love-god's string" in Sarojini Naidu's "A Song in Spring"? by Mithical, 13/09/2023.
  12. Why are the champak flowers in particular "foredoomed... to shrivel and shrink and fade"? by Mithical, 14/09/2023.
  13. Why is there a kokila in the henna-spray? by Rand al'Thor, 15/09/2023.
  14. What does the title of "Leili" mean? by Mithical, 15/09/2023.
  15. Meaning of "a bride high-mated with the spheres" in Sarojini Naidu's 'To India' by CDR, 15/09/2023.
  16. 'Wild-bee hours' and 'wild-parrot days' in Sarojini Naidu's "A Rajput Love Song" by CDR, 18/10/2023.`

The highest-voted of these is 'Wild-bee hours' and 'wild-parrot days' in Sarojini Naidu's "A Rajput Love Song", with a score of 7 at the end of October.

The most viewed is Significance of the title of "Corn-Grinders" by Sarojini Naidu, with approximately 650 views during the months of September and October.

14 questions received at least one answer.

Reviews submitted to our Tumblr blog: TBD.

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