After reading the poem “A Different History” in Literature class, we had to watch a presentation and answer the questions to reflect and think about.
What is being compared in the poem?
Comparison is made between Greek and Indian gods: ‘[Pan] simply emigrated / to India’, and ‘Here [in India], the gods roam freely’.
What is the attitude towards books?
Next the poem focuses on the reverential attitude towards books in a country where ‘every tree is sacred’. Books symbolize identities, ideologies, knowledge, power, language.
Is there a change of mood in the poem?
A clear shift in mood comes at the start of the second section with the first rhetorical question which takes us to the heart of what the poem is about: ‘Which language / has not been the oppressor’s tongue?’
Do you feel that a particular point has been clarified by the tone of voice in which Bhatt reads the poem?
Yes, the tone Sujata uses while she is reading the poem is very depressing, and sad. She is making clear the point that she is serious about the topics she is discussing.
How does Bhatt use words and phrases to convey how sacred trees and books are?
She uses very striking language to convey this. She repeats the word “sin” four times, and then she uses words such as “rude”, “shove”, “slam” and “toss”.