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The poem is all about, consoling the lamenting family members of Indian soldiers. The poet brings out the significance of doing one's duty for the common cause selflessly. For that, he takes the help of Mahabharata. He says, according to it, one has to do one's duty without expecting the fruit.
The first stanza deals, how a retired person/soldier wants to spend his last stage with his family members. He feels a sense of belongingness and comfort at his native place. He enjoys the companionship of his neighbour and chats with him in the evening hours when the sun sets. He also enjoys his grandson playing in mud with the grandson of his neighbour.
In the second stanza, the poet talks about the soldier who has both physical and mental scars but reached home safely. He refreshes those memories which are intact in his mind. Warm hour refers to Indian climate and cool hour to the climate of England. He talks about the unknown soldiers with whom he fought against Boers. Foreign place means unknown place that is Africa. Foreign to each other means both Indian and British soldiers are strangers to each other.
The third stanza reveals that the soldier did not go to that destination (Africa) by choice but his destiny has taken him there. As he is a soldier, he has to do his duty. Everyone wishes to live and die in his native place but it may not happen especially with soldiers. So, wherever he discharges his duty and dies over there, that becomes his land. This has to be accepted by his village people. T. S. Eliot is convincing Indian people not to lament for the dead body of their son. He says wherever he died and criminated is his land.
In the next stanza, he says, the land where the Indian soldier died was neither the homeland of Indian soldier nor of Midland soldier. But it was the common graveyard for both. The soldiers who have returned back home safely must tell about the brave actions taken up by the dead soldiers. Their sacrifice is for common purpose. The fruit (good result) of action will be known only on Judgment Day. However, the soldier who had sacrificed would not be there but his action (sacrifice) will not go vain. He refers to the Indian context, where the Indians believe in the philosophy of doing their work without expecting the result.
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