Dawn at Puri | Dawn at Puri Jayanta Mahapatra | Dawn at Puri Poem Analysis | dawn at puri question answer

 Nissim Ezekiel, Kamala Das, A.K .Ramanujan are the three luminaries in the sky of Indian English poetry. After this three luminaries in the sky of Indian English poetry the star which draws our attention is Jayanta Mahapatra. He was the first ever Indian English poet to win Sahitya Akademy Award for his book of verse, "Relationship" in 1981. He is highly dynamic poet who till now have produced sixteen volumes of poetry. This has earned him the fame of the poet producing the largest number of poems in English in India. He has been successful to a great extent in acclimatizing English language to an indigenous tradition. 

Dawn at Puri
Dawn at Puri

  He Is mentally pre - occupied with the soil of odisha, which is adorned by great places. 

  How ever, this affinity to one's own land and landscape with its myths and tradition should not lead a person to make the opinion that the poet is an emotional temperament like Keats and Shelly.

  There are a vast number of poems in his fourteen volumes of poetry; all of them is an equivocal manner speak of the way in which the poet feels himself marginalized from the centre of his social sphere. This marginalized consciousness has stuck to him from as early as 1976, the year in which he published his fourth volume of poetry "A Rain of Rites". In that volume there are some particular poems like "Dawn at Puri", "Sunburst" and "Hunger", which speak of the radical views of the poet which exclude him from the general crowd.

Form of the poem Dawn at puri

Dawn At Puri is a modern poem written in free verse by Jayanta Mahapatra. This six stanza poem did not follow rhyme scheme as this poem is written in a free flowing thought or style. 


"Endless crow noises 
A skull in holy sands
Tilts its empty country towards hunger." 

        -Explain this line based on " Dawn At puri" By Jayanta Mahapatra. 

  The poem "Dawn At Puri" starts with the description of a skull upon holy sands of the famous temple - town Puri. This poem portrays a collage of bleak pictures observed by the poet himself in and around the famous Jagannatha Temple at Puri. The poem paints beautifully a morning landscape of the sandy beach at puri. 

   Here, 'endless' means never-ending or uncountable and 'noises' is a word which is used for present the social hum. 

   'Noises' is a words which is used in human world but it is used in the natural world in this poem so the poem begins with the conterory and recognition and as we know the modernist note is contrary and recognition so the poem is a modern poem.

    The Opening line of the poem marks the harsh cawing of the crows that announce the break of the day. The image of the crow suggest the existence of a wasteland full of striking refuse, corps and carcasses. The light of dawn unfolds a second image which is part of a skull on the 'holy sands'. The sight of the skull speaks of the presence of a cremating ground. Symbolically however, it alludes to the abject poverty of people living in the area. This area, in turn, may be said to represent in miniature the entire country. The skull also acts as a symbol of death in whose shadow the widows described in the poem live constantly. The image of the skull may also signify the holloness of the gloryfide rites and rituals that feed the thoughts of the ardent devotees. 

"White-clad widowed women 
 Past the centers of their lives
 are waiting to enter the Great Temple".

              -Explain this line based on " Dawn At puri" By Jayanta Mahapatra. 

     The poet then catches sight of a good number of 'widowed woman' in white garments waiting eagerly to step into the Great temple. The use of the term 'widowed woman' instead of the usual word 'widows' is noteworthy. It is society that reduces a woman to a widow - not that she becomes a widow only because her husband is dead. The state of being a widow means much more than the passing away of her husband. It enjoins her to observe strict rigour in her food habbit, dress and Lifestyle. They are merely breathing corpses as they have been made bereft of all joys, desires and insignificant by the society from the day of the death of their husband. It is as if they have also died with their husband in an informal manner and are waiting only to get a formal death certificate. 

    The Great Temple is an image of stability and permanence amid changeability. For the widows it is a symbol of hope, faith and spiritual salvation. 

"Their austere eyes 
Stare like those caught in a net
hanging by the dawn's shining strands of faith. 
The frail early light catches
ruined, leprous shells leaning against with one another, 
a mass of crouched faces without names,"

                  -Explain this line based on " Dawn At puri" By Jayanta Mahapatra. 

   By the side of the glowing eyes of the austere Widows, their lies the picture of a group of leprous. These leprous throng the place everyday to seek alms from the devotees. They are humble and lowly people so much so that they have almost their identity as human beings. 

"and suddenly breaks out of my hide 
Into the smoky blaze of a sullen solitary pyre
that fills my aging mother:
Her last wish to be cremated here 
Twisting uncertainty like light
On the shifting sands."

                     -Explain this line based on " Dawn At puri" By Jayanta Mahapatra. 

   The poet cannot alienate himself from pervading milieu or ambience of decadence. A funeral pyre on the beach puts him in mind his mother's last wish. His mother's wished to be cremated at this Swargadwara, that is the gateway to Heaven. His mother's long might have no practical logic. But a deep sense of faith underpins her last wish in life. This reference to the poet's mother's wish indicates the last wishes of many Indian women to be cremated in this Holy place.

   Though the poet is christian in religion, he is also an Indian and so he is well aware of the Hindu customs and belief systems. The picture drawn by the poet is realistic in nature with a touch of irony and satire. This poem in fact satirises the holiness associated with the life. 

Conclusion of the poem Dawn at Puri

Conclusion can be drawn that Jayanta Mahapatra is worldly  and full of events. 

  According to Raymond Williams classification, Mahapatra's poetry is 'indictive' text. Indictive text is a text which indicates what is happening in the world. This is why Dawn at Puri is an example of a successful indictive poem which reflects the contemporary socity in its totality. To read Mahapatra's poetry is to acquire a kind of empathy with the contemporary life. Mahapatra has successfully decolonized his poetry and made it a vehicle for the expression of indian scene in the post - colonial era.

   What is more is that he along with other indian English poets has created a new indian English idiom that gives 'a local habitation and a name' to post colonial poetry in our country. In this context "Dawn at Puri" is a successful post colonial poem apart from symbolic and imagist, nativist and post modernist.


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