Friday, November 9, 2018

083. Coromandel Fishers Sarojini Naidu Poem Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandran


Coromandel Fishers. Sarojini Naidu Poem. Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

09th November 2018


01. Article Title Image 1 & Graphics By Adobe SP.

The sea has been a fascination for man since his first appearance on this planet. Primitive forms of life originated first in the primeval soup of ancient oceans billions of years ago, migrated to land, and became bird, beast, reptiles and man. If we close both our ears with our fingers, we can still hear the reverberations of ocean waves crashing in our blood. Oceans have served not only as an ancient home to man but provided him with a multitude of marine products for sustenance also.

Evolution of bird, beast, reptiles, Neanderthals, Cro-Magnons and Homo-Sapiens from the sea.

Fishermen and fishing evolved into a distinctly defined profession and a community long before mankind turned to hunting and cultivation. Evolution first occurred in the sea, then on sea shores, then on inlands and then on mountains. After reptiles shortened their tails, grew wings and became birds, man was the next to evolve from apes living in the mountains and forests. The golden-haired and beautiful Neanderthals came first, then the shorter and lesser intelligent Cro-Magnons, and lastly the shortest and the least intelligent Homo sapiens. Whoever these ancients were and wherever they sheltered, they undoubtedly collected food from the sea. It was only natural for man turning to sea for food, to where he came from, as natural as a child turning to its mother for nourishment. And like a mother, the sea has eternally been providing for her children, without demanding much back except keeping her clean.

The swaying motions of a boat provided the rhythm and the wind and the wave the tune for the poem.

  02. Sustaining life in the planet By Cobber 17.  

The day-to-day life of fishermen had to be told in a poem by someone and Sarojini Naidu chose telling it as her privilege. The swaying motions of a boat she used to play in her childhood years in the Coromandel Bay in the Bay of Bengal provided the rhythm and the unrelenting sound of the waves and the wind provided the tune. The rest was easy and the poem was born as an immortal piece of world literature. When we read her lovely descriptions of the wind and wave and family life on shore, we are reminded of, and do subconsciously recreate, the tender feelings of a very young girl for the affection in human life for the astounding forces of nature.

It is only natural for a fisherman to start day by bowing before the life-giving sun.

  03. A playful child at sea shore By Sailu.d18.

Sun worshiping is prevalent among people of the nature. The Morning Sun and the Setting Sun both have their own worshipers among the Hindus of India. It is not a lone practice among the Hindus but the Ancient Egyptians also were stanch worshipers of the Sun. The name of the Egyptian Sun God was Ra. The name of their king Ramses originated from the Ra sound and this sound has been the basic root of the names of many mighty rulers in the world through centuries. It is such a powerful sound that a man or a woman with the Ra sound in his or her name would march to authority. (A book by the name ‘Magic Of Ra- The Most Cantankerous Political Theory Of India’ by P S Remesh Chandran has been published). As the Sun is the life-giver of the planet, it is only natural for a fisherman, or for anyone a devotee of nature, to start the day after bowing before his life-giver. Here in this poem we see not only the corporeal human beings but even the elemental sky also is offering its morning prayers to the rising Sun. In the very early dawn, it is the sky that wakens first and is offering its morning prayers to the Sun. Then the fishermen rise, before even the first ray of light touches the sky. Even the wind would not have risen then. ‘The wind would still be lying fast asleep in the arms of the dawn, like a child that has been crying all night.’ In real life it is indeed a beautiful sight to see the face of a child that had been crying all night but now is oversleeping peacefully into the late morning. The idea is not only romantic but scientific too, because the wind rises only after the sun has risen and the atmospheric temperature also has risen with the sun. 

Morning in sea shore is a scene of hectic activity before setting out to sea.

  04. Children are always happy in water By Biswarup Ganguly.

Morning in the sea shore is a scene of hectic activity. Fishermen of the Bay of Bengal, soon after they rise, begin works of preparation before going out to sea. The nets spread on the shore after yesterday's fishing for drying will have to be gathered. The catamarans turned upside down for drying and resting on the sand will have to be freed and carried to sea. Hasty but systematic preparations are going on, and now it is time to set out to sea for capturing the abundant and leaping wealth of the tide. Seeing all this clockwork-like activity, naturally, we will wonder if this wealth in the sea is their paternal property to capture at will. No, it is their mother’s, their maternal property. They are all the sons and rulers of the sea. The sea is their mother, the cloud is their brother and the waves are their comrades and playmates all. They have a birth right over the abundant wealth of the sea as sons of the sea. All mankind are. The sea shows her maternal affection to all sea-shore residents and fishermen. The sea is their only source of income and sustenance and the mother knows. 

Rolling mountains of waves and abysmal depths do not make them fear.

  05. Papa will be back soon. Child with mother By Biswarup Ganguly.

Where sea-gulls call, fishes are in plenty. Only in places where fishes are abundant would sea-gulls make their presence. So the fishermen hasten away, without delay, in the track of the sea-gull's call. They follow the path of the sea gull’s call to places where fishes are in plenty. Once there, their job is easy. Rolling mountains of waves, abysmal depths of sea and massive dark clouds looming in the sky normally should make anyone fear about their safety once the firm shore is left behind, but not the fishermen. They have no reason to fear the sea, clouds or waves. The sea is their mother, the cloud is their brother and the waves are their comrades all. Unwavering faith is everything in one’s life. 

Sea is a motherly lady and sea god Neptune is a father figure.

In the evening they would be tossing with waves somewhere in the mid-ocean, in unfathomable depths and faraway distances fully at the mercy of the wind and waves and sky where the sea god Neptune controls everything. But they needn’t fear; the all-powerful Sea God Neptune, strong enough even to hold the storm by its hair, will hide (protect) their lives in his broad breast. It’s fatherly affection! Once they are beloved to the sea, they are beloved to the mighty wind also who is the lover of the sea who moves the sea in whichever direction he desires and who in his turn is at the disposal of the sea god Neptune. In poetic conviction, sea is a motherly lady and sea god Neptune is a father figure who controls the wind and the sea and the human lives tossing in the waves . 

Which is sweeter to fishermen, the turbulent sea or the peaceful shore?

  06. Bondages as old as the sea By Biswarup Ganguly.

Which is the most restful and peaceful to a bird- the sky it soars in or the nest it returns to everyday? Which is dearer to a swan- the broad sunlit waters it swims in or the shaded watery glade it always makes its home of? Which is sweeter to a fisherman- the turbulent seas he makes a living out of or the peaceful shore he has built his hut in to live with his family? The fishermen indeed have sweet attractions on the shore. The shade of the coconut glade, the scent of the mango grove and the sands at night lit by the full moon, with the sounds of the voices of their most beloved ones nearby, are indeed sweet. 

The fishermen long for the sea and prefer the sea, insatiate with the sea.

  07. Resting at home after work By Biswarup Ganguly.

Glades are open spaces in a forest or wood; here it is an open space amid coconut palms beside the sea shore where fishermen’s children play and the fishermen spend an evening away. Groves are small woods, orchards or groups of trees; here it is a small mango orchard near the homes of the fishermen where they occasionally gather for passing time or assemble themselves for local celebrations. Going through such rustic pleasures in these glades are sweet to the fishermen indeed, but the kiss of the spray wash on their lips and the feel of happiness in the dance of the wild foam are sweeter to these fishermen. The sea and the shore are not two separate entities for them but one inseparable unity. They long for the sea and prefer the sea, insatiate with the sea. So, they row to the blue of the verge where the low sky comes down to meet the rising sea like an eager friend from above, and there they are at play like eternally happy children. 

The fishermen rowing towards the bluishness of the distant horizon, at sunset.

  08. Kerala Fishermen launching boat By Prime Jyothi.

Towards the close of the poem, we see the fisherman and his comrades, bathed in broad daylight, rowing towards the bluishness of the distant horizon where the sky lowers itself to come meeting the sea, where the sky and the sea are at play, like eager friends. They are not coming towards us to the landlocked limitedness of the shore but moving towards the broad and limitless expanse of many things. What better setting to land a poem on the sea! The poem itself is an illustration of how the sea, cloud, waves and human lives are interconnected. In some versions of this poem, the end line is seen to be changed as ‘Row, brothers, row to the edge of the verge’ which is not correct. The original line as written by the Nightingale of India must be ‘Row brothers row, to blue of the verge, where the low sky mates with the sea’. 

Remembering their forefathers who crossed vast expanses of oceans and went in search of new lands.

09. Fishermen's catch in Bangladesh By Balaram Mahalder.

Sometimes in their rustic simplicity, while sitting in their crude catamarans tossed up and down with waves, these fishermen will think about their ancient forefathers who crossed the vast expanses of oceans and went in search of new lands. The anxiety to know where all these waters are flowing into is what creates in sea-going people this urge to explore beyond horizons. Man’s yearning for sea voyages was what opened up the seas, chanced new continents like America and Africa to the found, and expanded the known world and distributed the human race far and wide. Remembering these forefathers even while battling with waves in new-found routes keeps mankind’s flame of wander-thirst burning, prompting him to explore still more unknown depths, though almost all the known depths and breadths of the oceans have already been surveyed and mapped. Sarojini Naidu too in her childhood years, rowing her fragile boat to and fro in waves in some sea-side cove in the Bay of Bengal, might have wondered in her sweet childish innocence where all these waters must be flowing into. 

The picture of a teen-aged poetess rowing her boat in the Bay of Bengal.
  10. Fishermen Life 1832 Painting By Carl Portmann 2.

When we sing this poem, if we sing this poem which is more like a song, we can see in our minds the teen-aged poetess rowing her boat in the Bay of Bengal conceiving things and thoughts, all finally evolving into this poem. The rhythm and tune of this poem, characteristic only of the sea, denotes the physical presence of an observant poet in the sea, rowing to and fro with waves in a rocking boat. There have been poems in all languages written keeping the rhythm of moving things in mind, written in the tune of moving buses, trains, ships, boats, horses and running rivers. The Night Mail follows the movement of a train, Coromandel Fishers the movement of a swaying boat, The Highway Man the rhythmic tiot-tiotting of a trotting and galloping horse, Tennyson’s Brooke the gentle and uninterrupted flow of a mountain river reaching the forests and village hamlets and Wander Thirst follows the rhythm of a ship in the sea. It is a special branch of poetry which has not been much researched into. 

  11. Fisherman's Family Awaiting Return 19th Century Painting By Unknown.

‘The mind of a fisherman sitting on the bow of his boat is a kaleidoscope of thoughts- the beauty of the wind and water and light coming and going and mingling with the myriad miseries of his everyday life. Once, the sea was a very clean entity, except for the salt and remains of plant and marine life contained in it, which anyway sank to the bottom of the sea as sediments and came out again as oil after millions of years. Now it is littered with man’s spoils- plastics, oil spills, poisonous chemicals and nuclear waste deposits- and this broth which once gave birth to precious biological life may not do it again or sustain life anymore.’ 

‘The broad expanse of the sea, with the sun and moon and stars appearing like clock work in the horizon, creating regular tides and the harsh sunlight scorching and the soft moonlight soothing the weathered bodies of sailors at sea, have taken away the fear of depth from man and have brought men very close to their creator many millions of times in the sea. And there is brutality too in the soul of the sea, sending tsunamis landward, wrecking ships, destroying islands and carving away great chunks of land from her eternal lover, the shore.’
  12. The eternal fascination for man By Vinayaraj.

The roar of the sea has provided perfect background noise for poets to compose poems through ages, making their thoughts kinetic, by imparting momentum through her constant motion. When we reach the sea shore, our true nature- the primitive traits hidden in our blood- come out and manifest in our behavior. Some run along the shore, some dive into the waves, some howl loudly and some kick waves as they come. Some build castles in the air sitting on sand and some weep remembering their sorrows, as they all are in the presence of their beloved consoling watching mothers. As John F. Kennedy noted, ‘all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean from whence we came; we have salt in our blood, we have salt in our sweat, we have salt in our tears, in the exact percentage.’ 

‘The sea is something that does not like to be restrained, something always tossing and restless, hiding even high mountains in great unfathomable depths, revealing only tops of those mountains here and there as islands situated between great distances’. The sea has its own serenity, calmness and majesty which beckon regular fishermen and occasional travellers to forget their miseries as long as they are enveloped in her protective wash of spray’. Without sea travels in his ship The Beagle, and research in the Galapagos Islands, Darwin could not have come up with the theory that man descended from the apes in the forests.


  13. A coconut glade by sea shore in Kerala By ReNiz.

Famous sea poems of the world.

Since the time of the famous Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer, there have been quite a number of famous poems on the sea. The most noted among them are The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798) Samuel Taylor Coleridge, On The Sea (1817) John Keats, The Secret of the Sea (1850) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Sailor Boy (1861) Alfred Lord Tennyson, O Captain! My Captain! (1865) Walt Whitman, Forsaken Merman Matthew Arnold, A Ballad of Boding (1881) Christina Rossetti, Requiem(1887) and Christmas at Sea (1888) Robert Louis Stevenson, Crossing the Bar (1889) Alfred Lord Tennyson, A Sailors Song (1899) by Paul Laurence Dunbar, Wander Thirst by Gerald Gould and Sea Fever (1902) by John Masefield. Lord Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage also contains magnificent cantos on the sea. 

Classic sea novels, adventures and travelogues.

Novels, travelogues and adventures on sea are not few. They abound in numbers and it would take more lives to read them all. Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe 1719, James Cook’s The Journals of Captain Cook 1768-1779, Charles Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle 1839, Herman Melville’s White Jacket 1850 and Moby-Dick 1851, Victor Hugo’s The Toilers of the Sea 1866, Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea 1870, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island 1883, Rudyard Kipling’s Captains Courageous 1896, Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim 1900, Jack London’s The Sea Wolf 1904, Rafael Sabatini’s The Sea-Hawk 1915, Ernest Shackleton’s The Last Antarctic Expedition of Shackleton 1919, Rafael Sabatini’s Captain Blood: His Odyssey 1922, Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki 1950, Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea 1952 and, of course, Peter Benchley’s Jaws 1974 are a noted few among the classic novels, travelogues and adventures written with sea as the background. 

Classic films on sea adventure.

There are hundreds of movies made based on adventures, life, battles, disasters and calamities on seas. Since when movie was invented, before trains and cars, the sea was a favourite subject for movie makers. The number of magnificent sea movies are in hundreds so cannot be included here, for fear of doing the injustice of omitting many famous and beautiful ones. 

The finest songs of Sarojini Naidu noted for musical quality and her books.

The finest songs of Sarojini Naidu based on their musical quality as selected by this writer are Indian Weavers, Palanquin Bearers, Coromandel Fishers and The Queen’s Rival. The published books by Sarojini Naidu are The Golden Threshold: 1905, The Bird of Time: 1912, The Broken Wing: 1917, Muhammad Jinnah: An Ambassador of Unity: 1916, The Sceptred Flute Posthumously: 1943, The Feather of the Dawn Posthumously: 1961 and The Indian Weavers Posthumously: 1971.

Bloom Books Channel has a video of Coromandel Fishers.

14. Coromandel Fishers Video Title Image By Moon Sun 1981.

Coromandel Fishers was written by Sarojini Naidu in the 1920s. It’s one of the most famous and endeared songs in the English language. A primitive prototype rendering of this song was made with a crude tape recorder decades earlier, in 1984. In 2014, a home made video of this song was released. This third version is comparatively better. The next version, we hope, would be fully orchestrated. This song was originally part of the project PROPÈS INDIA or ‘Project For The Popularization of English Songs In India’, recorded from an English class by Mr. P S Remesh Chandran. Today it belongs to Bloom Books Channel’s Sing A Song Project for Children. It's free for reuse, and anyone interested can develop and build on it, till it becomes a fine musical video production, to help our little learners, and their teachers. Rushes of the original recordings were made available from the archives of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Our listeners mostly comprised of teachers and students who needed, and demanded, studio-versions with more clarity. Though beyond our limited resources, we release these new versions, for them. We thank them all for their support and goodwill. Why we, with only scanty resources, prepared these recordings in the first place and released them and made them mostly public domain can be read about in the article, 'My First English Recitation Videos Took Thirty Years To Produce By P S Remesh Chandran' here:

Bloom Books Channel’s video of Indian Weavers.

15. Indian Weavers Video Title Image By Radio Free Barton.

Indian Weavers was written by Sarojini Naidu in the 1920s. Besides being a great poetess, she was one of the leading figures of the Indian Independence Movement. This article therefore is also a lookout into what happened to the weavers of India after independence. Indian weavers who were once favorites in king’s homes to poor man’s huts are now pushed to extinction by governments, politicians, large textile mills and arrogant bureaucrats. Suppose Sarojini Naidu returns, and finds this? Read the full article here: July 2017 

Also read The Life And Works Of Sarojini Naidu by P. S. Remesh Chandran.

  16. Life And Works Article Title By Sahyadri Archives.

‘It is impossible to tell whether Sarojini Naidu was a poet or a politician. She left her footprints in both fields and her achievements in poetry and politics make it impossible for us to select either one as her favourite field. From studying in England as a teenager to dying while at work in the UP Governor’s office in India as Governor, her life was one of the most vibrant tales of Indian women, stretching through nations and touching peoples in Asia, Europe, Africa and America.’ (Excerpt from the article). Read the full article here: June 2017 

Links to Sarojini Naidu’s works by the author.

1. The Life And Works Of Sarojini Naidu: Article

Article: June 2017

2. Indian Weavers: Poem

Article: July 2017
Video: May 2015

3. Coromandel Fishers: Poem

Article: November 2018
Video: May 2015

(Prepared from an English Poetry Class by P S Remesh Chandran)

First Published: 09 November 2018
Last Edited:

 17. Article Title Image 2 & Graphics By Adobe SP.

Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Picture Credits:

01 Article Title Image & Graphics By Adobe SP
02 Sustaining life in the planet By Cobber 17
03 A playful child at sea shore By Sailu.d18
04 Children are always happy in water By Biswarup Ganguly
05 Papa will be back soon. Child with mother By Biswarup Ganguly
06 Bondages as old as the sea By Biswarup Ganguly
07 Resting at home after work By Biswarup Ganguly
08 Kerala Fishermen launching boat By Prime Jyothi
09 Fishermen's catch in Bangladesh By Balaram Mahalder
10 Fishermen Life 1832 Painting By Carl Portmann 2
11 Fisherman's Family Awaiting Return 19th C Painting By Unknown
12 The eternal fascination for man By Vinayaraj
13 A coconut glade by sea shore in Kerala By ReNiz
14 Coromandel Fishers Video Title Image By Moon Sun 1981
15 Indian Weavers Video Title Image By Radio Free Barton
16 Life And Works Article Title By Sahyadri Archives
17 Article Title Image 2 & Graphics By Adobe SP
18 Author Profile Of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives

About the Author P. S. Remesh Chandran: 

18. Author Profile Of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives.

Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan: The Intelligent Picture Book. Born and brought up in the beautiful village of Nanniyode in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Trivandrum, in Kerala. Father British Council trained English teacher and Mother University educated. Matriculation with distinction and Pre Degree Studies in Science with National Merit Scholarship. Discontinued Diploma studies in Electronics and entered politics. Unmarried and single. 

Author of several books in English and in Malayalam, mostly poetical collections, fiction, non fiction and political treatises, including Ulsava Lahari, Darsana Deepthi, Kaalam Jaalakavaathilil, Ilakozhiyum Kaadukalil Puzhayozhukunnu, Thirike Vilikkuka, Oru Thulli Velicham, Aaspathri Jalakam, Vaidooryam, Manal, Jalaja Padma Raaji, Maavoyeppoleyaakaan Entheluppam!, The Last Bird From The Golden Age Of Ghazals, Doctors Politicians Bureaucrats People And Private Practice, E-Health Implications And Medical Data Theft, Did A Data Mining Giant Take Over India?, Will Dog Lovers Kill The World?, Is There Patience And Room For One More Reactor?, and Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book. 

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Post: P. S. Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books, Trivandrum, Padmalayam, Nanniyode, Pacha Post, Trivandrum- 695562, Kerala State, South India.


Coromandel Fishers, English Poems Prose, English Indian Poets, Fishermen’s Life, Free Student Notes, Literary Articles Essays Reviews, Poem Reviews Notes Appreciations, Politician Poets, P S Remesh Chandran, Sahyadri Books Trivandrum, Sarojini Naidu, Sea Poems Films Books, 

Identifier: SBT-AE-083. Coromandel Fishers. Sarojini Naidu Poem. Appreciation. P. S. Remesh Chandran. Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. 

Published by Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. 
Editor: P S Remesh Chandran.