Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. The Golden Threshold is an off-campus annexe of University of Hyderabad. Contents. 1 History; 2 The Museum; 3 Significance; 4 References. History. The building was the residence of Sarojini Naidu’s father Aghornath. It was named after Naidu’s collection of poetry. Golden Threshold now houses Sarojini Naidu School of Arts & Communication.
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It is at my persuasion that these poems are now published. The earliest of them naldu read to me in London inwhen the writer was seventeen; the later ones were sent to me from India inwhen she was twenty-five; and they belong, I thinkalmost wholly to those two periods. As they seemed to me to have an individual beauty of their own, I thought they ought to be published. You know how high my ideal of Art is; and to me my poor casual gloden poems seem to be less than beautiful–I mean with that final enduring beauty that I desire.
I have the vision and the desirebut not the voice. If I could write just one poem full of beauty and the spirit of greatness, I should be exultantly silent for ever; but I sing just as the birds do, and my songs are as ephemeral. They hint, in a sort of delicately evasive way, at a rare temperament, the temperament of a woman of the East, finding expression through a Western language and under partly Western influences.
They do not express the whole of that temperament; but they express, I thinkits essence; and there is an Eastern magic in them. Sarojini Chattopadhyay was born at Hyderabad on February 13, Aghorenath Chattopadhyay, is descended from the ancient family of Chattorajes of Bhramangram, who were noted throughout Eastern Bengal as patrons of Sanskrit learning, and for their practice of Yoga.
He took his degree of Doctor of Science at the University of Edinburgh inand afterwards studied brilliantly at Bonn.
Sarojini Naidu – Wikipedia
On his return to India he founded the Nizam College at Hyderabad, and has since laboured incessantly, and at great personal sacrifice, in the cause of education. Sarojini was the eldest of a large family, gklden of whom were taught English at an early age.
So one day when I was nine years old my father punished me–the only time I was ever punished–by shutting me in a room alone for a whole day. I came out of it a full-blown linguist. I have never spoken any other language to him, or to my mother, who always speaks to me in Hindustani. I don’t think I had any go,den hankering to write poetry as a little child, though I was of a very fanciful and dreamy nature.
My training under my father’s eye was of a sternly scientific character. He was determined that I should be a great mathematician or a scientist, but the poetic instinct, which I inherited from him and also from my mother who wrote some lovely Bengali lyrics in her youth proved stronger.
One day, when I was eleven, I was sighing over a sum in algebra: I wrote it down. At thirteen I wrote a long poem a la ‘Lady of nnaidu Lake’ lines in six gplden. At thirteen I wrote a drama of lines, a full-fledged passionate thing that I began on the spur of the moment without forethought, just to spite my doctor who said I was very ill and must not touch a book. My health broke down permanently about this time, and my regular studies being stopped I read voraciously.
I suppose the thrshold part of my reading was done between fourteen and threeshold. I wrote a novel, I wrote fat volumes of journals; I took myself very seriously in those days.
Before she was fifteen the great struggle of her life began. Govindurajulu Naidu, now her husband, is, though of an old and honourable family, not a Brahmin. The difference of caste roused an equal opposition, not only on the side of her family, but of his; and in she was sent to England, against her threshodl, with a special scholarship from the Nizam.
She remained in England, with an interval of travel in Italy, tillstudying first at King’s College, Threshod, then, till her health again broke down, at Girton.
She returned to Hyderabad thdeshold Septemberand in the December of that year, to the scandal of all India, broke through the bonds of caste, and married Dr. If the gods are kind–and grant me a little measure of health.
It is all I need to make my life perfect, for the very ‘Spirit of Delight’ that Shelley wrote of dwells in my little home; it is full of the music of birds in the garden and children in the long arched verandah. My father is bu dreamer himselfa great dreamera great man whose life has been a magnificent failure. I suppose in the whole of India there are few men whose learning is greater than his, and I don’t think there are many men more beloved.
He has a great white beard and the profile of Homer, and a laugh that brings the roof down. He has wasted all his money on two great objects: He holds huge courts every day in his garden of all the learned men of all religions–Rajahs and beggars and saints and downright villains all delightfully mixed up, and all treated as one.
And then his alchemy! Oh dear, night and day the experiments are going on, and every man who brings a new prescription is welcome as a brother.
But this alchemy is, you knowonly the material counterpart of a poet’s craving for Beauty, the eternal Beauty. Do you remember Pater’s phrase about Leonardo da Vinci, ‘curiosity and the desire of beauty’?
It was the desire of beauty that made her a poet; her “nerves of delight” were always quivering at the contact of beauty.
To those who knew her in England, all the life of the tiny figure seemed to concentrate itself in the eyes; they turned towards beauty as the sunflower turns towards the sun, opening wider and wider until one saw nothing but the eyes. She was dressed always in clinging dresses of Eastern silk, and as she was so small, and her long black hair hung straight down her back, you might have taken her for a child.
She spoke little, and in a low voice, like gentle music; and she seemed, wherever she was, to be alone. Through that soul I seemed to touch and take hold upon the East. And first there was the wisdom of the East. I have never known any one who seemed to exist on such “large draughts of intellectual day” as this child of seventeen, to whom one could tell all one’s personal troubles and agitations, as to a wise old woman.
In the East, maturity comes early; and this child had already lived through all a woman’s life. But thdeshold was something else, something hardly personal, something which belonged to a consciousness older than the Christian, which I realised, wondered at, and admired, in her passionate tranquillity of mindbefore which everything mean and trivial and temporary caught fire and burnt away in smoke. Her body was never without suffering, or her heart without conflict; but neither the body’s weakness nor the heart’s violence could disturb that fixed contemplation, as of Buddha on his lotus-throne.
And along with this wisdomas of age or of the age of a race, there was what I can hardly call less than an agony of sensation. Pain or pleasure transported her, and the whole of pain or pleasure might be held in a flower’s cup or the imagined frown of a friend. It was never found in those things which to others seemed things of importance. At the age of twelve she passed the Matriculation of the Madras University, and awoke to find herself famous throughout India. All is hot and fierce and passionate, ardent and unashamed in its exulting and importunate desire for life and love.
And, do you know that the scarlet lilies are woven petal by petal from my heart’s blood, these little quivering birds are my soul made incarnate music, these heavy perfumes are my emotions dissolved into aerial essence, this flaming blue and gold sky is the ‘very me,’ that part of me that incessantly and in- solently, yes, and a little deliberately, triumphs over that other part–a thing of nerves and tissues that suffers and cries out, and that must die to-morrow perhaps, threshhold twenty years hence.
Then there was her humour, which was part of her strange wisdomand was always awake and on the watch. In all her letters, written in exquisite English prose, but with an ardent imagery and a vehement sincerity of emotion which make them, like the poems, indeed almost more directly, un-English, Oriental, there was always this intellectual, critical sense of humour, which could laugh tolden one’s own enthusiasm as frankly as that enthusiasm had been set down.
And partly the humour, like the delicate reserve of her manner, was a mask or a shelter. Every one thinks I am so nice and cheerful, so ‘brave,’ all the banal things that are so comfortable to be. My mother knows me only as ‘such a tranquil child, but so strong-willed. Yes, it is a subtle philosophy, though it appears merely an epicurean doctrine: Any to-morrow I might die. It is scarcely two months since I came back from the grave: Of all things that life or perhaps my temperament has given me I prize the gift of laughter as goldrn price.
Her desirealways, was to be “a wild free thing of the air like the birds, with zarojini song in my heart. But in Italy she found what she could hy find in England, and from Italy her letters are radiant. Would it not be wonderful? One black night I stood in a garden with fireflies in nadiu hair like darting restless stars caught in a mesh of darkness.
It gave me a strange sensation, as if I were not human at all, but an elfin spirit. I wonder why these little things move me so deeply? It is because I have a most ‘unbalanced intellect,’ I suppose. Did I say dead? No, for the gods gokden immortal, and one might still find them loitering in some solitary dell on the grey hillsides of Fiesole.
Have I seen them? Yes, looking with dreaming eyes, I have found them sitting under the olives, in their grave, strong, antique beauty–Etruscan gods!
The Golden Threshold
In Italy she watches the faces of the monks, and at one moment longs to attain to their peace by renunciationlongs for Nirvana ; “then, when one comes out again into the hot sunshine that warms one’s blood, and sees the eager hurrying faces of men and women in the street, dramatic faces over which the disturbing experiences of life have passed and left their symbols, one’s heart thrills up into one’s throat.
No, no, no, a thousand times no! And she watches them with amusement as they flutter about her, petting her as if she were a nice child, a child or a toy, not dreaming that she is saying to herself sorrowfully: She sat in our midst, and judged us, and few knew what was passing behind that face “like an awakening soul ,” to use one of her own epithets.
Her eyes were like deep pools, and you seemed to fall through them into depths below depths. Lightly, O lightly we bear her along, She sways like a flower in the wind of our song; She skims like a bird on the foam of a stream, She floats like sarokini laugh from the lips of a dream.
Gaily, O gaily we glide and we sing, We sqrojini her along like a pearl on a string. Softly, O gklden we bear her along, She hangs like a star in the dew of our song; She springs like a beam on the brow of the tide, She falls like a tear from the eyes of a bride.
Lightly, O lightly we glide and we sing, We bear her along like a pearl on a string. Where the voice of the wind calls our wandering feet, Through echoing forest and echoing street, With lutes in our hands ever-singing we roam, All men are our kindred, the sarojoni is our home.
Our lays are of cities whose lustre is shed, The laughter and beauty of women long dead; The sword of old battles, the crown of old kings, And happy and simple and sorrowful things. What hope shall we gather, what dreams shall we sow? Where the wind calls our wandering footsteps we go. No love bids us tarry, no joy bids us wait: The voice of the wind is the voice of our fate.
Weavers, weaving at break of day, Why do you weave zarojini garment so gay? Blue as the wing of a halcyon wild, We weave the robes of a new-born child. Weavers, weaving at fall of night, Why do you weave a garment so bright? Like the plumes of a peacock, purple and green, We weave the marriage-veils of a queen. Weavers, weaving solemn and still, What do you weave in the moonlight chill?
White as a feather and white as a cloud, We weave a dead man’s funeral shroud.