A different History by Sujata Bhatt
1-2-3) The poet addresses the movement of culture across the globe in the very first line, by mentioning the Greek God Pan. She talks about cultures moving with people and lifestyles by implying that the God Pan has not seized to exist but simply moved to India. By saying this Sujata Bhatt also indicates that there is a similarity between the cultures of the east and the west.
4-5) The poet says that the gods in India roam disguised as snakes and monkeys. By this she indicates that all the elements of nature, flora and fauna, are worshipped here.
6-7-8) Bhatt also sheds light on the fact that Indian culture is very deep rooted. She shifts her attention from worship of animals and nature to reverence and respect in India. She talks about customs and behaviour by mentioning trees being treated as sacred in India and how it is a sin to treat books shabbily.
9 -14) While talking about Indian customs and traditions, Sujata Bhatt uses a book as an example. She keeps repeating that it is a sin to treat books without respect, slam them down on a table or touch one with the foot or toss it around.
15-16) While still on Indian customs and behaviour, Sujata Bhatt reveals how it is very important in India to be careful, and not disturb the Goddess who resides in books, “Saraswati”.
17-18) She indicates how religion is dominant in the region by describing the Indian attitude towards something as common as a book. She talks about the need for Indians to respect books so that they would not offend the tree sacrificed to make the paper.
19-20) In this second stanza Sujata Bhatt addresses a number of key issues through rhetoric. Using language as strain of culture and a representative of the people, she asks the reader to understand and identify with the fact that people across the globe at some time or the other have been oppressors or the oppressed.
21-22) Again in rhetoric and again using language to represent people, she throws light on the fact that language is universal and is never intended to cause harm.
23-27) She goes on to hint at the influence of foreigners in the region by referring to the freedom struggle as the period of torture. Bhatt asks the reader to try and analyse and find a rational explanation as to why after the damage of invasion the foreign culture continues to linger in India. She personifies India as having a face and a soul, and refers to colonization and injustice as a long scythe.
28-29) Sujata Bhatt addresses the preference of English over native languages by addressing the youth in India and the unborn, who are preferring the foreign language at the cost of the extinction of native Indian languages and dialects.