Don’t Call Me Indo-Anglian Poem by Syed Amanuddin Summary, Notes and Line by Line Explanation in English


Syed Amanuddin’s poem “Don’t call me Indo-Anglian” makes a strong argument against classifying literature according to language and nationality. The poem disproves the idea that authors who write in English can’t be taken seriously as authentic representatives of culture.

 The poem’s speaker argues that his work should not be evaluated based on the language he uses and that he does not want to be categorized as an “Indo-Anglian” author. He claims that his art represents his culture, ancestry, and identity and that the language he uses to communicate these things does not define them.

About the poet

Syed Amanuddin was born, raised, and eventually migrated to America from Mysore, South India. This is the foundation for his poetry’s fusion of American modernism with Indian clarity. Syed Amanuddin is a poet whose works include elements of both Indian and American culture. His creations perfectly encapsulate the essence of the human condition, including pleasure, happiness, love, sorrow, and death.


Stanza 1

no i don't want to be

a hotchpotch of culture

a confusion of language

a nullity of imagination

  an abortive affair between an indo and an anglo

i hate hyphens

  the artificial bridges

  between artificial values

  in the name of race religion n language

i damn all hyphenated minds

  prejudiced offsprings of unenlightened souls

i denounce all labels and labelmakers

i refuse to be a moonrock specimen

 to be analyzed labelled n stored

 for a curious gloomy fellow to

   reanalyze reclassify me

   for shelving me again


The speaker conveys his strong denial of their identity as a culture mashup or hybrid. He objects to being identified with hyphenated identities like “indo” and “anglo,” seeing them as fictitious creations that create division and miscommunication. The speaker criticizes the biased thinking of those who have ideas based on racial, religious, and linguistic factors. He opposes being labeled and stored as a specimen and is regarded as a subject of research or analysis. The speaker highlights his desire for uniqueness and the ability to identify oneself independently of conventional norms.


The concept of being defined by hyphenated identities, which are frequently used to classify people based on their cultural origin or heritage, is rejected by the speaker. The use of “indo” and “anglo” emphasizes the speaker’s opposition to being reduced to a mix of cultures and symbolizes the conflict between Indian and Anglo influences. The speaker criticizes labels’ artificial nature and the preconceptions that frequently go along with them. They consider hyphenated brains to be the work of ignorant people who uphold barriers and distinctions based on language, race, and religion. The speaker’s rejection of labels and label makers represents his desire for independence from cultural norms and the ability to establish his own identity. 

The speaker’s objection to being scrutinized or treated like an unusual specimen reflects his opposition to being analyzed, categorized, and shelved. He expresses his uniqueness and rejects the idea of fitting into a single category for the sake of others’ understanding or convenience. These words reflect the poet’s adamant opposition to labeling and their need for autonomy and self-definition. The poem stresses the variety and fluidity of personal experiences while challenging the idea of fixed identities.

Stanza 2 and 3

they call me indo-anglian

 I don't now what they mean

 cauvery flows in my veins

 chamundi hills rise in my mind with stars afloat

 eyes of the goddess smiling on the slain demon

 brindavan fountains sing in my soul

but i am not tied down to my childhood scene.

 i have led languages by their ears

 i have twisted creeds to force the truth out

 i have burned candles in the caves of prejudice

 i have surged in the oceans of being

 i have flown across the universe on the wings of my thought


The speaker discusses his complex identity and refuses to be constrained by the term “Indo-Anglian.” With allusions to the Cauvery River, Chamundi Hills, and Brindavan Fountains, he claims to be of Indian descent. The speaker stresses that his identity goes beyond his childhood memories and cultural roots. He expresses his freedom from cultural limitations and intellectual and spiritual development. The lines portray the speaker’s freedom and the broadness of his experiences and ideas.


These lines emphasize how the speaker’s identity is both diverse and fluid. The remark of being referred to as “Indo-Anglian” shows that the speaker is frequently categorized in terms of his mixed influences from the English and Indian cultures. However, he admits to being unsure of the term’s actual meaning and insists that they are more than titles suggest. The speaker’s connection to his Indian background is indicated by the mention of the Cauvery River and Chamundi hills. A feeling of rootedness and belonging is evoked by these natural factors. The goddess’s eyes appearing to be grinning at the dead demon is a reference to the rich mythological and religious imagery present in Indian culture.

The speaker continues by claiming their intellectual and spiritual independence. He speaks about picking up languages with his ears, suggesting his command of and skill with language. The speaker’s challenge of preexisting ideas is symbolized by the speaker’s twisting of creeds to seek out the truth. His dedication to uncovering the truth and rejection of prejudice are symbolized by burning candles inside the prejudice caves.

“I have surged in the oceans of being” and “I have flown across the universe on the wings of my thought” are phrases that convey a feeling of exploration, enlargement, and liberation. Through the power of his ideas, the speaker symbolically descends into the depths of existence and soars across the vastness of the universe. The speaker’s ability to transcend boundaries and restrictions is celebrated in these phrases, which also show the speaker’s intellectual and creative ability.

Stanza 4 and 5

they call me indo-anglian

 the mistaken misinformed folk

 n class me with a small group of writers

   cloistering me

   crippling me

i would rather roam with kalidasa n kabir

or go on a spiritual journey with dante

meditate with khayyam on the mathematics of existence

or sing with ghalib the anguish of love

or drown with li po kissing the moon's reflection in the river

they call me indo-anglian

 it's true i write in english

 dream in the language of shakespeare n keats

 but I am not an anglo my friend

 i am a POET

 i have lived forty centuries under various names

 i am now amanuddin


The speaker complains that he dislikes being referred to as an “Indo-Anglian” writer. He criticizes individuals who misidentify and categorize him because he feels constrained and restricted by such labels. The speaker emphasizes his admiration for well-known poets from many cultures and eras while pointing out how they are connected to the larger field of poetry. He emphasizes the fact that he is a poet who has lived through centuries under several names ultimately identifying himself as Amanuddin.


These lines express the speaker’s wish to escape the limitations of being labeled as an “Indo-Anglian” writer as well as his dissatisfaction with this label. In order to expose the misunderstanding around his real identity, he views others who categorize him in this way as incorrect and uneducated.

The speaker expresses a desire to be recognized among great poets from various backgrounds. The mention of Indian poets Kalidasa and Kabir, who lived in various times, suggests a bond with his country’s rich lyrical traditions. Additionally, he expresses a wish to travel on a spiritual path like Dante and think about the conventions of life with Khayyam. These allusions serve to highlight the speaker’s admiration for poetry that speaks to global issues and breaks across cultural boundaries.

The speaker’s claim that he is a poet and not an “Anglo” emphasizes his opposition to limiting classifications. He declares himself to be a poet who has survived the ages and has lived for forty centuries under different names. This claim reflects his relationship with the enduring qualities of poetry and the ageless quality of his artistic soul.

 The last line, “I am now Amanuddin,” declares the speaker’s unique identity. He expresses his exclusive presence in the poetry community by announcing his name. As a poet who transcends cultural boundaries and has a great literary tradition within himself, it emphasizes his refusal to be constrained by any label or categorization.