NCERT Textbook: Poem 6 - Mother Tongue Class 11 Notes | EduRev

English Class 11

Class 11 : NCERT Textbook: Poem 6 - Mother Tongue Class 11 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


Mother Tongue
Padma Sachdev
I approached a stem
Swinging on a reed
And asked him
To give me a quill.
Irritated, he said
I gave you one only the other day
A new one, what have you done with it?
Are you some sort of an accountant
With some Shah
Writing account books
Where you need a new pen
Every other day he asked.
No, I don’t work for a Shah
I said, but for a Shahni, very kind,
Very well off
And I am not the only one
Working for her
She has many servants
Ever ready to do her bidding
That Shahni is my mother tongue
Dogri
Give me, a quill, quickly
She must be looking for me
The reed cut off its hand
Gave it to me and said
Take it
I too am her servant.
6
2019-2020
Page 2


Mother Tongue
Padma Sachdev
I approached a stem
Swinging on a reed
And asked him
To give me a quill.
Irritated, he said
I gave you one only the other day
A new one, what have you done with it?
Are you some sort of an accountant
With some Shah
Writing account books
Where you need a new pen
Every other day he asked.
No, I don’t work for a Shah
I said, but for a Shahni, very kind,
Very well off
And I am not the only one
Working for her
She has many servants
Ever ready to do her bidding
That Shahni is my mother tongue
Dogri
Give me, a quill, quickly
She must be looking for me
The reed cut off its hand
Gave it to me and said
Take it
I too am her servant.
6
2019-2020
120 Woven Words
ABOUT THE POET
Padma Sachdev (born 1940) writes in her mother
tongue Dogri and in Hindi. She has received
many awards for her poetry, including the
Sahitya Academi Award she received at the age
of thirty for her first collection of Dogri poems.
The above poem, translated from the original Dogri, bemoans
the deprivation of Dogri of its native script Sharade, that
evolved from the original Brahmi around the time Dogri
developed. Once widely used by the people of all religions in
the valley, Sharade, for various reasons, came to be replaced
by the Persian script. Presently both Persian and Devanagri
(Hindi and Urdu) scripts are used for Dogri, a language listed
in Schedule VIII of the Constitution of India.
UNDERSTANDING THE POEM
1. The quill is the central element in the poem—what does it symbolise?
2. You notice a sense of urgency in the poet’s request—what is the
reason for this?
3. How has the poet brought out her emotional attachment to her
mother tongue?
4. Personification is a figure of speech that attributes human
qualities to inanimate things and abstract ideas. How has it
been used in this poem?
TRY THIS OUT
1. Talk to five people from different spheres of society around you
and ask them the number of languages they know and use for
various purposes. Try to gather information about their attitude
to the different languages they know and use.
2. Dogri is a language spoken in parts of Jammu and Kashmir,
Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. Its earliest mention is in Amir
Khusro’s list of Indian languages. It does not have a script of its
own. It is written in either the Devnagari or the Persian script.
Find out about other Indian languages that are spoken but do
not have a script of their own.
SUGGESTED READING 
1. ‘Hindi’ by Raghuvir Sahay.
2019-2020
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