Reading Comprehension 16 - Poetry Comprehension 2
Whilst studying Upper Primary English you will come across many different types of writing. The epics, such as Ramayana and Mahabharata or the Iliad and the Odyssey, are all forms of poetry. They were originally in the spoken form and were only later written down. Most countries' national anthems are basically poems which reflect their country’s ethos, coupled with some soul searching melodies.
Poems have the power to motivate a whole country, if the people have a comprehension of their meanings.. India’s independence movement was spearheaded by three great poems, its national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana,’ national song ‘Vande Mataram’ and Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite ‘Raghupathi Raghava Rajaram.’ All these come under the genre of poetry.
India’s history of literature is characterised in scintillating poetry of Purandaradasa and Sarvajna in Kannada, Kabir Das and Tulsidas in Hindi and Thiruvallavur and Subramanya Bharathi in Tamil. One of India’s most famous literary masterpieces is the Bhagavad Gita, which is in poetry form.
Poetry is one of the more alluring forms of literature, perhaps why it is so well suited to anthems. It attracts poets from all walks of life. Even India’s former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is an excellent poet. Poems also take on a variety of forms such as couplets, sonnets, ballads, limericks, elegies and epics.
Poets take recourse to all facets of the English language, using similes, metaphors, onomatopoeic words, idioms, hyperboles and personification in their works. Some of the greatest poets, including Alfred Tennyson and William Shakespeare, used their command of words and the construction of sentences, lines and stanzas to craft their poems in styles of their own.
A piece of poetry well suited to your reading comprehension studies is Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Where the Mind is Without Fear.’ This is another great motivating poem for Indians. The poem was written during the height of British Rule in India. Rabindranath Tagore’s literature was so captivating that it earned for him the Nobel Literature Prize in the year 1913. Three countries, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, owe their national anthems to the great poet. The quiz that follows is a test of your comprehension of the Rabindranath Tagore poem, ‘Where the Mind is Without Fear.’