Indian Weavers by Sarojini Naidu is a short poem consisting of three stanzas having four lines each. The poet talks about three types of dresses that the Indian Weavers weave at three particular times of the day. Metaphorically each time and the dress weaved in that time symbolises a particular stage of life.
The poem has the rhyme scheme AABB. The poet uses a number of literary devices to express her ideas like smile, imagery, metaphor etc. The poem consists of a discussion between the poet and the weavers; the poet asks the weavers and the latter reply.
Table of Contents
Stanza 1: Young Age
In the first stanza, the poet asks the weavers why they are weaving clothes early in the morning which seem to be quite beautiful and charming (gay). The clothes are blue as the wing of a halcyon wild. Halcyon is the other name of the kingfisher.
The wings of the kingfisher are bright blue in colour. In addition blue colour also symbolises loyalty. The blue colour thus symbolises something beautiful and precious. Hence, in this stanza, the clothes weaved by the weavers are quite special and this is why the poet is curious to know about them.
The Indian Weavers reply, We weave the robes of a new-born child i.e. they are weaving the beautiful dress for a young one who has just came to the world.
In this stanza, a number of images are used to describe the first stage of human life like break of day, garments so gay, & blue as the wing of halcyon wild. This stage is full of happiness, freshness, hope, beauty etc. There is no sorrow in the stage.
Stanza 2: Adulthood
In the second stanza, the poet again meets the Indian Weavers, this time during the fall of night. It probably refers to the evening or dusk time when the sun sets and darkness paves the way. Moreover, it is also the time during which most of the Indian marriages take place.
The poet questions the weavers why they weave a garment so bright like the plumes of a peacock, purple and green. The garment at this time is bright and full of colours like feathers of peacock unlike the one colour-blue (during the morning time).
The weavers reply that they weave the marriage-veils of a queen, thus referring to the second or in other words adult stage of the life. During this stage, humans are quite active. They love each other, get married and quest for a better and prosperous life.
The colours purple and green symbolise sorrow and happiness or struggle and ease in one’s adult stage and these all colours or ups and downs of life make the adulthood bright.
Stanza 3: Death
In the final stanza, the poet finds the weavers solemn and still i.e. they are quite sorrowful, grieved and silent. They are weaving something weird in the moonlight chill i.e. in the dead of the night which is White as a feather and white as a cloud, i.e. colourless, lifeless.
As the poet fails to figure out what it is (the cloth) and why they are sorrowful and silent, she asks them what are they weaving rather than why are they weaving. They reply that they are weaving shroud (cloth put on the dead body) for a dead person.
Thus the 3rd and the final stage is death which is emotionless and lifeless like a white cloud or feather. In this way, the life which begins with life, joy, hope etc ends with sorrow and grief.
Indian Weavers by Sarojini Naidu sums up the life of human beings on earth in three main stages by using symbols like clothes and times of the day. The journey of life begins with one colour-blue which means joy and happiness.
It continues with the addition of a number of colours-green and purple which means sorrows also enter into life along with happiness. Life is more active in this stage than in the first stage.
In the final stanza, all the colours vanish away and a single colour-white remains which means emotions are connected with life and when the person dies, emotions also die.