Please give a detailed critical appreciation of Nissim Ezekiel's poem "The Professor"

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In his poem "The Professor," Nissim Ezekiel employs a certain satire in order to mock Indianism, urbanity, and academic achievement in the one-way conversation of an aging professor and his former student. In this poem, the professor brags about his family, yet there is a mockery of his achievement that has not taught the professor standard English or given him any sense of family security or place in this family. For, his wife has died and his children have moved away,

By God's grace, all my children
Are well settled in life.
One is Sales Manager,
One is Bank Manager,
Both have cars.

With irony, a tool of satire, the professor brags about his children having achieved monetary success and material possessions, yet his loneliness is apparent as in non-traditional, modern fashion his children do not have him live with any of them.

In an effort to seem urbane and modern, the old professor mimics the "conventional wisdom" of the new thinking, 

How many issues you have? Three? 
That is good. These are days of family planning.
I am not against. We have to change with times.
Whole world is changing. In India also
We are keeping up. Our progress is progressing.

Yet, at the same time the professor mocks himself because he is truly not keeping up in sentiment with the "times" or changing as indicated by his awkward speech and circuitous phrases, as well as his admission that he rarely goes out. Ironically, he comes to the former student to brag, but instead he reveals himself as a man whom progressive thinking has left behind as he lives "just on opposite house's backside."

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