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Chapter 19 - South Asian Poetry

from Part II - Nations and Voices

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 January 2023

Jane Potter
Affiliation:
Oxford Brookes University
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Summary

The chapter recovers and investigates a substantial body of poems from undivided India composed during 1914–1918 and how such a corpus challenges conventional Anglo-centric understandings of the term 'First World War poetry'. Showcasing the remarkable range and richness of war poetry written in Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, and English, the chapter examines some of their historical and formal complexities, including their oral and aural dimensions; in the absence of testimonies, such poetry fills in the gaps left by history. Starting with civilian verse and songs – elite and subaltern, written and spoken, pro-war and anti-war, direct, oblique or diffuse - I propose the idea of a war 'poetics' rather than ‘poetry’ from combatant men and village women who were often non-literate but highly literary. I conclude with readings of the 'war poems' of Rabindranath Tagore, Muhammed Iqbal and Kazi Nazrul Islam, the national poets of the future India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh respectively.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • South Asian Poetry
  • Edited by Jane Potter, Oxford Brookes University
  • Book: A History of World War One Poetry
  • Online publication: 18 January 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009120098.020
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  • South Asian Poetry
  • Edited by Jane Potter, Oxford Brookes University
  • Book: A History of World War One Poetry
  • Online publication: 18 January 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009120098.020
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • South Asian Poetry
  • Edited by Jane Potter, Oxford Brookes University
  • Book: A History of World War One Poetry
  • Online publication: 18 January 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009120098.020
Available formats
×