Representation of the Voiceless: Nissim Ezekiel’s Selected Poems
Mohammad Shafiqul Islam
Abstract: Nissim Ezekiel (1924-2004), a major figure in the history of Indian English poetry, deals with a wide range of themes including the representation of the voiceless in his vast oeuvre of poetry. His poetic world is suffused with a variety of images, both urban and sylvan, and his poetry presents readers with people of different backgrounds from around the whole country. The poet depicts individuals from different strata of society who represent a great part of India. Some of his poems highlight distresses of the underprivileged people in various communities of India. Ezekiel shows that these people go through difficult times without having attention or empathy of the elites. Treated as the “other,” the poverty-stricken people cannot raise their voice though their struggle for survival continues. Ezekiel, a leading post-independence poet, represents his locale – many of his poems portray the actualities of Indian life. This article is an attempt to explore a selection of Ezekiel’s poems in order to find out how the marginalized people in India are exploited and oppressed, how they are deprived of their basic rights, how they suffer psychologically, how they are silenced, and how the poet strives to give voice to the voiceless.
Keywords: voiceless, subaltern, postcolonialism, exploitation, humanity, identity
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Published in 2017