A Different History
Writer: Shujata Bhatt- Born in India and moved to America. She writes poems about the importance of language and culture which show who you are.
Summary: She is writing about the effeects of colonization and the loss of culture that comes for globalisation and the loss of part of her history as the old culture and heritage is rejected. This could be why she named the poem 'A Different History'. She is writing that language should be respected because it is beautiful as well as the written word, however, it can be used for oppression but there is still a vision of beauty as it wasn't the language that oppressed anyone but the people speaking the language so all languages are beautiful,
Form: There are two stanzas. The first stanza is about the spiritual world so the stanza is in an irregular and unorganised pattern to reflect the freedom of the spiritual world. However, the second stanza is the oppostise as it talks about the human world so the stanza is regular and organised. However, the first stanza could show the Indian Culture before colonisation which was free to express itself like the structure of the stanza and the second stanza shows the British colonisation of India and how their culture wwas restricted which is why the stanza is regular.
Tone: Distressed, mournful, emotional, hopeful and optimistic that we can change, moralistic,
A Different History
Language and Imagery:
- 'Great Pan is not dead; he simply emigrated to India'- Great Pan is the only God ever to have died in Roman history so she is saying he isnt dead but he emigratd to India. When people migrate, it is usually to more benficial places like India as is a beautiful place to live
- 'Here the Gods roam freely; disguise as snakes or monkeys'-juxtaposition here as you can't roam freely if you are disguised. This suggests that for people, the Gods, to be accepted, they need to pretend to be one of them and become one of the crowd. This is a freedom image,
- 'It is an sin to shove a book aside' Here the writer has accentuated the actions described. When it talks about kicking a book, the sentence shifts to the right like it has been kicked which is why this indentation is more exaggerated then 'to slam books' and 'to toss one'. She repeats the word 'sin' which contrasts with 'sacred' used before which really amplifies how terrible it is to do it,
- 'without offendign the tree from whose wood paper was made'- She is saying you shouldn't insult the tree who sacrificed its life to make a work of art and appreciate what it has given,
- 'Which language has not been the oppressor's tongue? Which language truly meant to murder someone'- She us addressing the loss of language and because of colonisation, we are now speaking foreigner's tongues which she uses as a mockery. The last line about murder is a like slap to the inner heritage to every man. Oppressor-> Conqueror
A Different History
- 'That after the torture, after the soul has been cropped with a long scythe swooping out of the conqueror's face.'- Here she hints at the influence of the foreigners in the region by taking their freedom and their is despair in her tone. There is a metaphor of the 'long scythe swooping out' which is like a tongue moving so speaking.
- 'the unborn grandchildren grow to love the strange lanuage'- 'grandchild' suggests she is talking to the elders of India who are considered wise in almost every society and shosw that her argument is significant as it is difficult to arrange a meeting with them. There is sadness that the children will adopt a language of foreigners so there is beauty in this image but also sadness as losing the lanugage which is a contrast.
English: She has wrote this whole poem in English which contradicts the fact that she is angry at how there is a chnagbe in culture and language due to colonisation but it allows her to create an empathy link between the reader and poet as it shows she is a victim of colonisation as she has lost her language and culture due to colonisation.
Links: 'Where I come From' as both have a strong link with places where they come from but there is also a comparison between urbanization and rural atomosphere. Also, 'The Planners' as there is a sense of distress and inevitabilty that nothing will ever be the same and different it is to the past,