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‘Night of the Scorpion’ by Nissim Ezekiel is a vivid depiction of Indian life

 ‘Night of the Scorpion’ by Nissim Ezekiel

(A vivid depiction of Indian life)

‘Night of the Scorpion’ by Nissim Ezekiel is a vivid depiction of Indian life

Q. Critically comment on the depiction of Indian life in “Night of the Scorpion.”

Answer: "Night of the Scorpion" by Nissim Ezekiel is a vivid description of a rural Indian community's response to a scorpion sting that afflicts the poet's mother. The poem offers a glimpse into the community's culture, customs, and beliefs, as well as its response to adversity.

On the one hand, the poem highlights the communal spirit and cooperation that is prevalent in Indian life, as the entire village comes together to help the poet's mother in her time of need. The villagers create a "ring of supplication" around the poet's mother and engage in various rituals to ward off the evil spirits that are believed to have caused the scorpion sting. This depiction accurately reflects the importance of community and collective action in Indian life, where people often come together to support each other in times of need.

On the other hand, the poem also reveals some of the superstitions and irrational beliefs that are still prevalent in Indian society. The villagers' response to the scorpion sting is based on the assumption that it is caused by evil spirits, and they resort to various rituals to appease these spirits. The poem highlights the power of superstition and the fear it can generate in people, leading them to take extreme measures that may not necessarily be rational or effective.

Additionally, the poem also touches on the theme of fatalism, which is a common belief in Indian culture. The villagers' response to the scorpion sting seems to suggest that they believe in a predestined fate that cannot be altered, as they accept the sting as a given and believe that they must simply endure it. This fatalistic worldview can sometimes lead to resignation and a lack of agency, as people may feel that their actions cannot change the course of events.

Furthermore, the poem portrays the socio-economic conditions prevalent in rural India, where access to modern medical facilities is limited, and people often have to rely on traditional methods of healing. This can lead to a reliance on superstitions and rituals, which may not always be effective in treating illnesses or injuries. The poem's depiction of the villagers' response to the scorpion sting highlights the importance of improving access to healthcare in rural areas and promoting evidence-based medical practices.

Moreover, the poem portrays the role of women in Indian society as being largely relegated to traditional gender roles, as the poet's mother is depicted as a passive figure who endures the pain and suffering of the scorpion sting without complaint. This portrayal of women as passive and submissive reinforces traditional gender norms and patriarchal structures, which have been deeply ingrained in Indian society for centuries.

In general, while "Night of the Scorpion" offers a vivid portrayal of Indian life, it is important to recognize that the poem provides only a snapshot of a particular community's response to a specific event. Indian society is diverse and multifaceted, and it would be unfair to generalize based on one poem. Nonetheless, the poem offers a valuable perspective on the customs, beliefs, and challenges of a particular community, and highlights some of the issues that continue to impact Indian society today.


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