ESL Activity -Á Different History by Sujata Bhatt

A Different History –Sujata Bhatt

Sujata Bhatt’s poem ‘A Different History’ is an appealing poem because it _______________________________________. The poem is divided up into two sections and the tone also changes from the descriptive to some very big questions. The first  part of poem reflects Bhatt’s cultural background. We know this because there are references made to _______________________ and ______________________. This is rather appealing to the reader as we _____________________________

__________________________________________________________________. Upon the first reading the first poem appears to be about ___________________. Though later it becomes clear that the poem is about learning a new language. I can personally relate to the poem because _______________________________ ____________________________________________. I remember finding it hard to learn another language because ____________________________. The second part of the poem becomes more wide-ranging and far-reaching. Bhatt makes references to how a new language becomes the dominant one, the linga franca of a particular country. Countries adopt new languages because ________________ __________________________________________________________________. Clearly Bhatt is negative about being forced to adopt a new language because ____________________________________________. The poem ends on a slightly more uplifting note with the last line referring to ___ __________________________________________________________________.

This suggests that _____________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________.

I like this poem because ____________________________. I also find it interesting because _____________________________________.

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4 Responses to ESL Activity -Á Different History by Sujata Bhatt

  1. Rick says:

    Rick V (A Different History)
    Sujata Bhatt’s poem ‘A Different History’ is an appealing poem because it its full of culture of a different country. The poem is divided up into two sections and the tone also changes from the descriptive to ask some very big questions. The first part of poem reflects Bhatt’s cultural background. We know this because there are references made to gods and books. This is rather appealing to the reader as we talk about Indian culture.Upon the first reading the first part of the poem appears to be about gods. Though later it becomes clear that the poem is about learning a new language. I can personally relate to the poem because I also had to learn four languages. I remember finding it hard to learn another language because you are scared to make mistakes. The second part of the poem becomes more wide-ranging and far-reaching. Bhatt makes references to how a new language becomes the dominant one, the linga franca of a particular country. Countries adopt new languages because are forced to do so, sometimes for sake of deveolping economically, but there are negative consequences as suggested in the line “languages kills’’. Clearly Bhatt is negative about being forced to adopt a new language because takes place in their own culture but after a few years they all speak English without thinking an why they speak English ( sacrifice their culture). The poet ends on a slightly more uplifting note with the last line referring to their children learn to speak a different language and didn’t learn to speak cultural language. This suggests that he thinks in a few years their cultural language disappears and English takes place for the languages.I like this poem because you learn something of a culture. I also find it interesting because now you know how others think about learning languages.

  2. Intan Amalia Putri says:

    Sujata Bhatt’s poem ‘A Different History’ is an appealing poem because it tells about the change of cultures and different language in a country can affect people. The poem is divided up into two sections and the tone also changes from the descriptive to some very big questions. The first part of poem reflects Bhatt’s cultural background. We know this because there are references made to Indian God and Goddess. This is rather appealing to the reader as we read the poem and it related to the Indian God and Goddess. Upon the first reading the first poem appears to be about the nature in India that related to knowledge. Though later it becomes clear that the poem is about learning a new language. I can personally relate to the poem because in my country I had to learn the traditional language and also language from another country such as English. I remember finding it hard to learn another language because it’s way different than my first language. How to read, to spell, and to pronounce it, is really different. The second part of the poem becomes more wide-ranging and far-reaching. Bhatt makes references to how a new language becomes the dominant one, the Linga Franca of a particular country. Countries adopt new languages because the invader forced them to speak their new language. It shows by the line “Which language has not been the oppressor’s tongue”. Clearly Bhatt is negative about being forced to adopt a new language because it’s so exhausted and making language difficulties at that time. The way by ‘forcing’ is not good and eventually they all forgot with their first language. The poem ends on a slightly more uplifting note with the last line referring to the children. This suggests that even though the older people were forced to learn the new language but the new generation born and speak the oppressor language and they actually come to love that strange language. I like this poem because it tells me many Indian cultures, God and Goddess, also how change of language can affect people. I also find it interesting because about the learning a new language in this poem say is actually happen all over the world.

  3. Pratibha Bhardwaj says:

    I would like to put forward my interpretation of Sujata Bhatt’s “A Different History”. The first part is relatively straight forward. When she begins the rhetoric of language, it becomes rather difficult to analyse without going deeper into the myths of Hindu religion.
    “Which language is not oppressor’s tongue?’ connects the previous threatening, deterrents to instil good manners in children. As the overpowering images are given earlier, ‘Gods roaming freely’ and the list of ‘sins’ in the next part of the poem, where Sujata Bhatt tackles some other deeply ingrained expressions used in Hindu religion by posing this question.
    It appears that the rhetorical question (“Which language is not oppressor’s tongue?’) is to point out the Mythical way of declaring ‘death’ in Hindu Mythology. For example, Lord Rama kills the demon king of Lanka, but the poetic way in which this killing is recorded in the Scriptures, is that Raavan was given ‘mukti’, or he was ‘liberated’ from his lesser life. He was given this role to cleanse himself as a demon and the punishment ended with Lord Rama’s ‘mercy’ of alleviating him from the inferior being, hence the expression: “Which language truly meant to murder someone?” In other words what appears to be a ‘murder’ is an ‘act of mercy.’
    She goes on to take the idea of austere life, pure living and cleansing ones’ soul in order to attain the highest stage of human life. It is believed that if you follow a very strict code of pure living whereby eating, living and thinking is controlled by meditation and fasting. Renouncing all pleasures of this world and living a life similar to a nun, even more controlled, because fasting is one of very common, important and widely accepted purification process of the soul. I would like to take “the torture” to be a reference to hardships inflicted upon himself by persons trying to reach their ‘heavenly abode’ (Nirvana) and not to return to this world again.
    Such a person who, in order to improve his spiritual status, is fasting and ‘torturing’ himself. And when the person, in the process, dies, “the soul has been cropped” with the invisible hand of destiny “a long scythe swopping out of the conqueror’s face”. He is considered to have attained a seat in ‘heaven’. He is declared a ‘sufferer for a cause’ and is worshipped by all, a hero. It becomes so important for all, even for generations this sacrifice is considered as a symbol of family pride. Children, who arrive long after, also are supposed to take pride in this.
    The poet attributes this to the language used by the religious leaders and scriptures. By association of words and stories of this nature the whole culture has become impenetrable and oppressive.
    It is a common issue with Hindu religion that the language of religion is not the language of the common Hindu. Therefore the priests and leaders of religion so often interpret it as per their preference. So much has been included in religious texts and commentaries due to this. Similarly a lot has been left out. The language, no doubt, becomes an instrument of oppression. Sujata Bhatt is making a comment as she can now observe it from far and with knowledge of other languages and religions, as Diaspora poet.

  4. I would like to put forward my interpretation of Sujata Bhatt’s “A Different History”. The first part is relatively straight forward. When she begins the rhetoric of language, however, it becomes rather difficult to analyse without going deeper into the myths of Hindu religion.
    “Which language is not oppressor’s tongue?’ connects the previous threatening deterrents to instil good manners in children. As the overpowering images are given earlier, ‘Gods roaming freely’ and the list of ‘sins’ in the next part of the poem, where Sujata Bhatt tackles some other deeply ingrained expressions used in Hindu religion by posing this question.
    It appears that the rhetorical question (“Which language is not oppressor’s tongue?’) is to point out the Mythical way of declaring ‘death’ in Hindu Mythology. For example, Lord Rama kills the demon king of Lanka, but the poetic way in which this killing is recorded in the Scriptures, is that Raavan was given ‘mukti’, or he was ‘liberated’ from his lesser life. He was given this role to cleanse himself as a demon and the punishment ended with Lord Rama’s ‘mercy’ of alleviating him from the inferior being, hence the expression: “Which language truly meant to murder someone?” In other words what appears to be a ‘murder’ is an ‘act of mercy.’
    She goes on to take the idea of austere life, pure living and cleansing ones’ soul in order to attain the highest stage of human life. It is believed that if you follow a very strict code of pure living whereby eating, living and thinking is controlled by meditation and fasting. Renouncing all pleasures of this world and living a life similar to a nun, even more controlled, because fasting is one of very common, important and widely accepted purification process of the soul. I would like to take “the torture” to be a reference to hardships inflicted upon himself by persons trying to reach their ‘heavenly abode’ (Nirvana) and not to return to this world again.
    Such a person who, in order to improve his spiritual status, is fasting and ‘torturing’ himself. And when the person, in the process, dies, “the soul has been cropped” with the invisible hand of destiny “a long scythe swopping out of the conqueror’s face”. He is considered to have attained a seat in ‘heaven’. He is declared a ‘sufferer for a cause’ and is worshipped by all, a hero. It becomes so important for all, even for generations this sacrifice is considered as a symbol of family pride. Children, who arrive long after, also are supposed to take pride in this.
    The poet attributes this to the language used by the religious leaders and scriptures. By association of words and stories of this nature the whole culture has become impenetrable and oppressive.
    It is a common issue with Hindu religion that the language of religion is not the language of the common Hindu. Therefore the priests and leaders of religion so often interpret it as per their preference. So much has been included in religious texts and commentaries due to this. Similarly a lot has been left out. The language, no doubt, becomes an instrument of oppression. Sujata Bhatt is making a comment as she can now observe it from far and with knowledge of other languages and religions, as Diaspora poet.

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