Table of Contents
The poem Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa TS written by Nissim Ezekiel is a satire on the way Indians use the English Language. As English is the second language, there remains a lot of influence of Hindustani when people try to talk in English, and somehow the cultural and traditional habits are also quite visible in their language.
Nissim Ezekiel in this poem narrates an incident when a lady namely Miss Pushpa is supposed to leave India and her colleagues have arranged a “Goodbye Party” for her. The narrator who is probably a man uses Babu English which is quite funny as he uses the Hindustani dialect and manners in it. The poem is quite long and I have divided it into two parts.
The narrator begins by announcing that their dear friend is about to leave the country and they have gathered there to bid her goodbye. He then starts praising Miss Pushpa saying that she is beautiful not only because of her charms but her honesty as well. She keeps smiling each time.
He then tells them that she comes from a reputed family. Her father is a renowned advocate. The narrator doesn’t remember the place and guesses that it could be Bulsar or Surat. He then starts talking about himself. According to him long ago he had stayed in Surat with his Uncle’s friends’ family. His wife used to cook very delicious food.
The narrator uses Babu English which can be considered a mix of English and Hindustani. e.g. ample use of -ing and funny terms like two three days, What sweetness is Miss Pushpa, external and internal sweetness, smiling and smiling, simply because she is feeling etc.
The narrator is actually trying to exaggerate to show his love and respect for Miss Pushpa. Such kind of exaggeration is quite common in Hindustani and even an important part of Indian culture.
After praising Miss Pushpa, the narrator begins talking about his stay in Surat which is also an exaggeration or a kind of self-praise which is also common in Indian culture. According to him, he has stayed with his uncle’s friends’ family whose wife cooked good food and in the end, he adds that was long time ago which indicates that he does not want others to cross-check his statement.
Having talked about himself, the narrator returns back to Miss Pushpa’s praise. According to him, she is quite popular as she does everything whenever asked to do. She never refuses. Now that she is leaving he asks others to bid her goodbye. In the end, he asks others to praise her and finally, Miss Pushpa will sum up the event.
The narrator again uses exaggeration and all those Babu English words to praise Miss Pushpa. He narrates how good she had been to him. In the end, he asks others to deliver a speech that would be of course praise for Miss Pushpa.
This tradition of over-praising the one who is about to leave or retire is common in India. The colleagues praise the person and talk too good of him though he might not be so. e.g. here the narrator says that Miss Pushpa never said “no” which is, of course, a boastful statement and cannot be true. Hence the poem is all about the use of English by Indians and the reflection of their culture in their expression. You may read other poems of Nissim Ezekiel like Background, Casually, and Enterprise.