What is a critical appreciation of Derozio's poetry?

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Henry Louis Vivian Derozio is one of the most important poets in India’s history. His influence stems from the fact that he was the first Indian poet to be nationalistically motivated. His works lived and breathed a passion for India and his native region of Bengal. His poem To India—My...

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Henry Louis Vivian Derozio is one of the most important poets in India’s history. His influence stems from the fact that he was the first Indian poet to be nationalistically motivated. His works lived and breathed a passion for India and his native region of Bengal. His poem To India—My Native Land is a prime example of this theme. The first four lines read,

My Country! In the days of Glory Past
A beauteous halo circled round thy brow
And worshiped as deity thou wast,
Where is that Glory, where is that reverence now?

The poem is meant to acknowledge the beauty and importance of his home. His works helped to inspire the Bengali renaissance, a cultural and artistic movement in Bengal similar to the European renaissance. It often takes just one person to spark a crucial cultural change. Derozio was that man for India.

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When we examine Derozio's work, one has to examine the strong zeal of Indian identity and a passionate embrace of freedom.  As a professor, Derozio was passionate about encouraging his students to read works by writers like Thomas Paine that embraced freedom and individual rights.  In the end, much of Derozio's writing sought to apply the ideas and works from the West to the Indian predicament.  His love of Byron caused him to inject the Byronic hero into the context of Indian subjugation at the hands of the British in The Fakeer of Jhungeera. Derozio is seen as a prominent poet and thinker in Indian Poetry for a couple of reasons.  His geographic location of Bengal helped to start the idea that the state was an intellectual hotbed of political activity and social change.  Additionally, he can be seen as a prominent poet in the diaspora of Indian poetry because he understood that the Indian context can be merged with ideas and beliefs from the West.

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