The poem “The Gift of India” by Sarojini Naidu is a patriotic poem that glorifies the contributions and sacrifices given by the sons of soil i.e. the Indian soldiers who served in World War 1 and also laments their loss.
During that World War period, around 1 Million Indians served in the British Army on the foreign lands. Thousands of them wounded and hundreds of thousands never returned back. The poem consists of four stanzas having 6 lines each and the rhyme scheme is in the pattern of AABBCC.
The Gift of India Summary
The speaker here is either Mother India or collective of Indian mothers whose sons fought wars. The mother raises a rhetorical question that has she denied clothes, food or gold i.e. has the Mother India ever denied anything when the world asked for?
She answers herself that she has given the priceless treasures i.e. her sons who were torn from my breast i.e. separated from her to fight in the East and the West.
In the next line, she says that she has given the sons of her injured womb (because the sons were inseparable from her yet they were separated.) to the drum-beats of the duty i.e. for doing duty and the duty was the sabres of doom i.e. fighting in the war.
Thus in the stanza 1, Mother India tells the world that she has never denied anything to the world and not even her sons which are priceless. They were separated from her to fight and die in deadly wars.
Mother says that her sons are gathered like pearls in their alien graves.The means that they were buried with each other in foreign countries. They are sleeping silently along the persian waves and are scattered like shells on Egyptian sands.
They are lying there with pale but brave foreheads and broken hands. Their bodies are scattered like blossoms (flowers) which have been trimmed by chance on the meadows of Flanders and France which have turned red with their blood.
Stanza 2 is full of rhetorical questions. Mother India asks if they can measure the grief of the tears which she weeps every day or they can understand the griefs and sorrows which she has or the pride that thrills her heart which is though weeping and a little hope which she has because of her painful prayers (for the safety of her sons) and also the sadness which she sees beyond the torn red banners of victory (because it costed her sons).
The speaker says that when the terror and the tumult of hate i.e. deadly war will end, and life be refashioned on anvils of peace i.e. the life will go to normal in the peace time (anvils of peace).
At that time, the people will remember and thank out of love and respect the comrades who fought in dauntless ranks i.e. the brave soldiers who fought with fear. The people will also honour the deeds of the deathless ones. And they will remember the blood of her martyred sons for eternity.