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Friday, 21 July 2017

Bangle Sellers


Sarojini Naidu in her characteristic style highlights the different stages in the lives of the women of India through one of the most important items of their embellishment- bangles worn by them on different occasions. Ever taking a delightful interest in the culture and traditions of the motherland she wants to touch on the different aspects of national life. Such themes of relating to the different aspects of Indian life abound in her poems. The theme featuring in the poem bangle sellers is that of bangles associated with the women of the country in their different stages of life vibrant with their joys and sorrows.

In the opening stanza of the poem the poet introduces a group of bangle sellers on their way to the village fair where they intend to sell their wares- bangles. One of the bangle sellers representing others in the group is noisy in the trade call and lets people know about the wares they are carrying to the fair. As the bangle sellers move on one of them shouts, letting people know about their identity of being bangle sellers and their wares such as bangles which they refer to as ‘shining loads’ being carried by them. They want to attract the attention of prospective customers by highlighting the uniqueness of the bangles being carried by them. They want to know who would like to buy their delicate bangles, radiating various colors of joy and happiness. The circles of light that the bangles in their possession radiate have been compared to the different colours of the rainbow. The bangle sellers know for whom the bangles are meant and the symbolisms associated with them. They become specific and say that the bangles are the bright tokens of vibrant lives of women such as unmarried girls and mothers. Bangles are worn by Indian women on different occasions, each having a significance of its own.

The bangle sellers are not mere sellers of the bangles they are carrying but also familiar with the moods of the women synonymous with the bangles they will wear. Such insight into the significance of the different colours of the bangles becomes vivid when they speak about the use of bangles by women in an allegorical manner. Keeping in mind the mood of the young girls yet to be married, they say that some of the bangles suitable for the wrists of young girls are of the combination of the colours of silver and blue like the mist enveloping a mountain. Some of the bangles have the colour of pink associated with the shyness of a girl having her dormant desires comparable to the some buds sleeping on the bank of a woodland stream. Some of the bangles have the glowing colour of the blooming flowers that glorify the birth of some of new leaves.
The bangle seller now highlights the colour of some bangles suitable for a bride to be married on the same day. Some of the bangles befitting such a bride are of the yellow colour of corn fields bathed in sun light. This colour of the fields of corn bathed in sun light is indicative of the fertility of Nature. According to one of the bangle sellers, the glowing colour of some of the bangles comparable to the reddish yellow colour of the sacred marriage fire that is lit at the time the marriage being solemnized. According to the Hindu traditional custom prevalent in the country, the bride and the bridegroom are required to take seven rounds of the holy fire, muttering their oaths to preserve the holiness of the new marital relationship or this colour of the bangles is enriched with the colour of the desires cherished by the heart of the bride. The tinkling sounds made by the bangles when they are shaken together with their brightness, tenderness and clarity can be compared to the laughter, that is, the happiness of the bride and her tears, that is, her sorrow. The bride breaks into the vivacity of her laughter as she realizes that her wedding has given her a sense of fulfillment in her right as a woman. But when the time to depart from the parental home comes to live at the house of the in-laws, bidding farewell to her parents and her siblings, she becomes heavy with sadness and her sorrow finds expression in her tears.

Now the representative voice of the bangle sellers highlights the type of bangles meant for middle aged women. These bangles are enriched with the colours of purple and grey for the mature woman who has already completed half of the journey of her life. During this period of her life she has been an epitome of motherly affection, nourishing her children and bringing them up with loving care. At the same time she has discharged her household duties with unfailing commitment, taking the place of glory beside her husband in an ideal relationship. With a great sense of piety (religious feeling) she has ever worshipped the household gods along with her husband.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

What do the bangle sellers carry and where are they headed?

The bangles sellers are carrying loads of bangles which they refer to as shining loads. In order to sell their bangles they are on the way to the temple fair.

Why is a temple fair held?

A temple fair is held on an auspicious occasion when a large number of people converge at the temple with the purpose of offering their worship. Then they also take some time off visiting the fair and buying things of their choice.

What do the bangle sellers want their customers to know and how do they convey it?

A group of bangle sellers is on the way to the temple fair to sell bangles to women who are supposed to gather there in a large number. One from the group of bangle sellers shouts, letting people know about the things they are carrying. The trade call of the bangle sellers gives their customers an idea of the wares they are carrying and the symbolical quality of their wares.

What do the bangle sellers say referring to happy daughters and happy wives?

The bangle sellers want to highlight the symbolical significance of the wares they are carrying and convey it through the colours of the bangles being carried by them. One of them says that the bangles radiate myriad circles of colours like the seven colours of a rainbow. According to the bangle seller such bangles having he colours of rainbow are bright tokens of the happiness in the lives of daughters and mothers.

What is the nature of bangles suitable for the writs of unmarried girls?

According to one of the bangle sellers representing others, some of the bangles being carried by them are meant for the wrists of unmarried girls. The colours of the bangles suitable for the wrists of the unmarried girls are of silver and blue, resembling mists enveloping a mountain or hovering over it.
What is said in the poem with reference to the bank of a woodland stream?

According to the bangle sellers being represented by one of them by the trade call, some of the bangles have the colour of pink comparable to some buds dreaming on the bank of a woodland stream while some others have the glowing colour of the blooming flowers glorifying the birth of new leaves.
What are the colours of bangles meant for the bride on the morning of her wedding?

According to the trade call of one of the bangle sellers, some of the bangles suitable for a bride on the morning of her wedding are of the colour of yellow like that of cornfields bathed in sun light. Then there are also some bangles having the reddish yellow colour of the sacred fire that is lit to solemnize the marriage and its vows. The bride and the bride groom are require to take seven rounds of the holy fire, taking their vows of remaining faithful to each other. Alternately the bangles enriched with glowing colour are suggestive of the intensity of the desires cherished by the heart of the bride.

What is the significance of the sentence ‘Like her bridal laughter and bridal tear’? What is the figure of speech used here?

The above sentence occurs in the poem Bangle Sellers written by Sarojini Naidu.
Some of the bangles being carried by the bangle sellers produce tinkling sounds when shaken together. The tinkling sounds with their brightness, tenderness and clarity are suggestive of the sheer happiness of the bride who finds fulfillment in her marriage in her right as a woman. This feeling of happiness of the bride finds expression in her laughter. On the contrary, when the time comes for the bride to take leave of her parents and siblings to depart for the house of the in- laws, her heart is filled with agony on account of the separation from her dearest one and her sorrow finds expression in her tears.
The figure of speech used in the sentence simile.

What are the colours of bangles meant for the middle aged woman? What is she credited with?

One of the bangle sellers representing others in the group shouts that some of the bangles meant for a mature or middle aged woman are of the colours of purple and grey. The colour of grey stands for the maturity of age.

The middle aged woman has already completed half of the journey of her life, fulfilling her duties as a mother and a house wife. She has become an epitome of motherly affection, nourishing her children and brining them up with utmost care. At the same time she has fulfilled all her duties, taking the place of pride beside her husband. At the side of her husband she has ever been sincere in offering her worship to the household gods with a great sense of piety.












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