Sarojini Naidu Questions and Answers
by Sarojini Chattopadhyay

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Would "In the Bazaars of Hyderabad" be possible without the bazaar backdrop?

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Christine Jarus eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The setting of a bazaar is integral to the poem “In the Bazaars of Hyderabad.” The author, Sarojini Naidu, paints a bright, lively picture of a typical Indian marketplace. She mentions merchants, vendors and pedlars directly in the poem. The author uses a style of poetry in which she asks a question and then answers it. This style helps sets the scene of the poem. She describes in detail the sights, sounds and smells often found in a bazaar. The author takes the reader to the bazaar and makes them feel a part of the action. The items described by Naidu give you a sense of the importance of the bazaar in her culture. The poem includes items for everything from celebrations (girdles of gold) to death (sheets of white blossoms). With the elaborate details included by Naidu, it would be hard to imagine the poem occurring anywhere other than a vibrant bazaar.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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When Sarojini Naidu wrote once that, "I sing just as birds do," I think that she might have been indicating the overall tone of the poem.  Given this, I think that it is nearly impossible to divorce the background from the song she sings.  She captures much of the eclectic and diverse nature of the bazaar marketplace.  When one thinks of the Indian bazaar, there is an eclectic collection of goods and services offered, of sights and sounds, and a multiplicity of what is experienced.  The "song" that is sung is one that brings out much in way of narration of this experience.  When the poem unfolds with multiple colors such as crimson, azure, and white blossoms, spices and flavorings such as saffron, sandalwood, or citron, and different elements within the setting such as henna, magicians, and anklets, it is nearly impossible to bring these elements out without the bazaar as a backdrop.  Naidu's song that is "sung" is one of a bird (perhaps as "The Nightingale of India") that is on a fly over of a bazaar, describing the totality of the experience from a vantage point that transcends subjective sensation in the hopes of evoking all that is there.

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