Sarojini Naidu is one of the greatest Indo-Anglican poets. She is called the nightingale of India. She is remembered as a poetess for the 'Golden Threshold', 'The Bird of Time' and 'The Broken Wing'. Her poetry is conspicuous for the vivid presentation of Indian atmosphere. Her poetry shows the influence of English Romantic poets. Despite her interest in the presentation of Indian atmosphere, Naidu shows no awareness for depicting contemporary reality.
'The Lotus' is a beautiful sonnet by Sarojini Naidu. It has been taken from the collection of poems entitled 'The Broken Wing'. In our country 'The Lotus' is associated with Lakshmi, Saraswati, Brahma and Vishnu. Thus it is treated as a symbol of knowledge, beauty, creation and purity. In the present poem 'The Lotus' has been used as a metaphor for the Mahatma Gandhi who is an epitome of sublimity of thought and action. The poet dedicates this poem to Mahatma Gandhi. Here she highlights the virtues of Mahatma Gandhi.
The poem 'The Lotus' is an expression of Naidu's patriotic fervour. Here she speaks about the greatness of Mahatma Gandhi in very symbolic terms. She compares Gandhi to a lotus. In India lotus is considered very holy because it is associated with many gods and goddesses. The poet says that like the myriad petalled Lotus Mahatma Gandhi has countless qualities. Like lotus he is inviolate. He can't be destroyed. He would remain immortal. In the middle part of the poem Naidu criticises the invaders who attacked and plundered India. In the last part of the poem she compares Mahatma Gandhi to Lord Brahma. The poet is of the opinion that Gandhi is immortal. He can never be forgotten by the grateful nation. In short, he has become equal to Lord Brahma for Indians at large:
But who could win thy secret, who attain
Thine ageless beauty born of Brahma's breath
Or pluck thine immortality, who art
Coeval with the Lords of Life and Death?
This sonnet is a Miltonic sonnet. It contains an octave. It is followed by a sestet. The lines are written in iambic pentameter. The rhyming scheme of octave is abba abba. In sestet it is cde cde. This sonnet is remarkable for its quality of suggestiveness and imagery.
Thus 'The Lotus' is an excellent poem. The use of imagery, mythical flavour, metrical skill and appropriate diction has made this poem a beautiful specimen of Naidu's art and sensibility.