To India – My native land is a poem by Henry Louis Vivian Derozio. Derozio lived during the early 19th century. He was a teacher, a scholar, a poet and an academician of Eurasian and Portuguese descent. He considered himself to be an Indian and encouraged free thinking among his students. He oversaw the publication of a journal in which his student wrote against the British rule in India, orthodox Hindu practices and favored emancipation of women. The journal was banned and Derozio lost his job due to his unorthodox views.
His opposition to the British and the orthodox Hindu practices alienated him from both the society as well as the government. He spent his last days in penury, starvation and died of cholera at the age of 22. It’s sad to know such a great thinker and poet had a sad end. Derozio was one of the few people who used to think much ahead of their times and is remembered as an intellectual anarchists of his times. To India – My Native land My country! In thy day of glory past A beauteous halo circled round thy brow, And worshipped as a deity thou wast.Order now
Where is that glory, where that reverence now? Thy eagle pinion is chained down at last, And groveling in the lowly dust art thou: Thy minstrel hath no wreath to weave for thee Save the sad story of thy misery! Well let me dive into the depths of time, And bring from out the ages that have rolled A few small fragments of those wrecks sublime, Which human eyes may never more behold; And let the guerdon of my labour be My fallen country! One kind wish from thee! – Henry Louis Vivian Derozio Brief explanation In this poem, Derozio personifies India and talks to her in a monologue.
Derozio talks about the glorious past of India, is evidently unhappy with the British rule in India and refers to the same in the line “The eagle pinion is chained down at last“? , where eagle refers to India (It is said that in early days of British rule foreigners referred to India as the Golden Eagle or Golden bird as it was very rich and one of the largest producer of gold and diamonds). Derozio wishes to bring back the glorious past of India by “diving into the depths of time“? and bringing back “small fragments of those wrecks sublime“.