Poem Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa T.S., Summary and Critical Analysis

Introduction of the Poem:

This poem appeared in Nissim Ezekiel's sixth volume of poems which was published in 1976 under the heading of “Hymns in Darkness”. It is a satirical poem, written in a light vein like many other poems by Nissim Ezekiel who has also written poems which are not only solemn and grave but very often sombre and dark. Here we find Ezekiel poking fun at the way semi - educated Indians speak or write the English language.

Poem Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa T.S., Summary and Critical Analysis


Whether the poem is based on an actual incident or an imaginary one, we do not know; but that makes no difference to our enjoyment of the poem in which the author has ridiculed the errors of grammar, syntax, and idiom which many Indians commit while speaking the English language. The occasion is a party given by Miss T.S. Pushpa's friends or colleagues to bid her farewell when she is leaving for a foreign country, perhaps for higher education, perhaps for sight-seeing. The speaker is here supposed to be the author himself, and he mimicks Indians’ style of speaking. It is a highly amusing poem, indeed.

Summary of the Poem: 

The speaker, addressing those present at a farewell party, points out to them that their dear sister, namely Miss Pushpa, is leaving for foreign in two three days, and that they are meeting on this day to wish her a happy voyage. He tells them of the sweetness which is in Pushpa and which they are all knowing. He says that he is not referring only to Miss Pushpa's external sweetness but her internal sweetness. Miss Pushpa keeps smiling and smiling, even when there is no reason for her to smile, he further says. 

The speaker goes on to say that Pushpa is coming from very high family and that her father was well - known advocate in Bulsar or Surat, though he (the speaker) is not now remembering which place. The speaker then remembers the place and says that it was Surat where he stayed once only with the family members of his uncle's very old friend. The advocate's wife was cooking nicely, but that was long time ago. 

Coming back to Miss Pushpa, the speaker says that she is most popular lady with men also and ladies also. Whenever he asked her to do anything, she was saying that she would do it just now only. This reply from her is showing her good spirit and he is always appreciating the good spirit. Pushpa Miss is never saying no to any request. Whenever he or anybody is asking, she is always saying yes; and today she is going to improve her prospects, and they are wishing her a happy voyage. 

At the end the speaker asks others to speak, telling them that afterwards Miss Pushpa will speak and do the summing up.

Critical Analysis of the Poem:

“Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa, T. S.” is a very Indian poem in Indian English, in which Ezekiel parodies the craze for “foreign” in modern Westernised ladies and their typical way of using English. It reflects the mental vacuity of young ladies who are full of affectations and pretensions and have no ideals and ideas. It is a fine piece of social satire in which irony is used not so much to make fun of or mock at, but to enlighten us about an essential stratum of our society. This is the ill - educated or half - educated Indian who flaunts his little learning in English unabashedly and dangerously. Moreover, the need to communicate in English, however badly, is inherent in the Indian psyche. On this poem Ezekiel describes the articulations of such a person, an epitome of a certain section of our society.

The poem is in the form of a farewell speech. A party has been thrown in to bid farewell to Miss Pushpa who will soon go to a foreign country to improve her prospects. So, a number of her friends have gathered to bid her goodbye and to wish her good luck. The speaker mentions the occasion of the party: 

our dear sister 
is departing for foreign 
in two three days 
we are meeting today 
to wish her bon voyage. 

The speaker praises Miss Pushpa for noble qualities of head and heart, her friendliness, her smiling appearance, her sweetness, both external and internal. In this poem Ezekiel tries to parody such speeches which are usually rambling. Even the logical connections between ideas are missing. He expresses the typical Indian thought processes in Indian English in the following lines: 

Miss Pushpa is coming 
from very highly family. 
Her father was renowned advocate
in Bulsar or Surat 
I am not remembering now which place...… 
Surat? Ah, yes, 
Once only I stayed at Surat 
with family members 
of my uncle's very old friend. 
his wife was cooking nicely … 
that was long time ago.

It is a characteristic Indian way in which the speaker goes far away from the main subject without bothering about it. After much digression the speaker again describes the remaining qualities of Miss Pushpa. She is very popular both with men and women. She is very obliging. She never says, “no”. She is always willing to help her friends. Whenever she is asked to do anything, she always replies that she will do it just then. She always shows friendly gestures to all and the speaker praises her for her good spirit. He informs quite late that she is going to foreign “to improve her prospects” and he wishes her bon voyage. He asks other speakers to speak and in the end Miss Pushpa “will do summing up”. 

There is a certain class of our society these days that wields considerable power by way of its economic or political clout. Such people are called upon to make inaugural or farewell speeches. The ignorance in most matters is of little or no importance. The poet may have such a person in mind.

What distinguishes this poem is the vivid reproduction of Indian way of speaking English. Indians use present continuous tense for the simple present, for example, Ezekiel uses “we are meeting” for we meet, “your are all knowing” for you all know, “Miss Pushpa is smiling and similing” for smiles and smiles, “Miss Pushpa is coming” for Miss Pushpa comes, “I am not remembering” for “I do not remember, etc. Ezekiel has used Indianisms also; for example, “family members” has been used for “members of the family”, in “that was long time ago.” “time” is superfluous and in “with men also and ladies also” one “also” is superfluous and “women” and not “ladies” is used with “men”. The language is simple and colloquial.      

Saurabh Gupta

My name is Saurabh Gupta. I have designed this blog to help those students and people who are greatly interested to get knowledge about English Literature. This blog provides precious knowledge and information about English Literature and Criticism.

Previous Post Next Post

Breaking Posts