Mother India in her sweetest

Mother India in her sweetest expresses herself through the heart and pen of her gifted son, Dwijendra Lal Roy. Bengal is all admiration for D.L. Roy. He is never named without enthusiasm and praise as a man in the highest degree amiable and thought-provoking. His was the faith that did not waver. His was the courage that did not falter. Poetry was not the sole field of D.L. Roy, for he excelled likewise in prose. His poems, his songs, and especially his dramas brought him unbounded fame. He was the poet of poets, the singer of singers, the dramatist of dramatists, not made but born. He won the heart of Bengal by the originality of his thought, couched in a novel language, impregnate with a fresh vitality which he infused into Bengal.

Curiously enough, like Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Dwijendra Lal too wrote poems in English while starting his poetic career. He who reads even D.L. Roy's English poems enjoys the power of a poet, embellished with beauty and enlarged with majesty. Lyrics of Ind was his first and last work in English. The poems were written in London when he was barely twenty-three. The book was published there in September 1886. "My principal object in the composition of the following verses," says he, "has been to harmonise English and Indian poetries as they ought to be. Both are beautiful; but whilst the one is visionary and sensuous, the other is vigorous and chaste; whilst the one dreams, the other soars; whereas the one makes a poetry of Religion, the other makes a religion out of Poetry.”

Let me cite the last stanza from the poem entitled "The Marriage":

Let man to man be joined in love,
And dance to its sweet measure;
Let soul to soul be married here,
Our high-priest will be Pleasure.

As the blue heavens kiss the sea,
As the sea clasps the river;
Let heart to heart now blended be
for ever and for ever.

Can these lines ever be consigned to the limbo of oblivion?

One more quotation from that book is irresistible:

Mine is a heart that weeps with gratitude,
And for a word or deed of love, that would
Cry childlike; weave a wreath with many a tear;
In gratitude worship, even before it kneel;
But from beloved lips an accent rude
Might rend my heart in twain, that none could heal,
And my life's flowery days might blast and sear.

What an irony of Fate that on his return from England he should have been abandoned by his friends and relatives. It was long after his return from England that his relatives and friends came to his place while his son, Dilip Kumar Roy, was being invested with the sacred thread. Indeed, it was a moment of extreme delight for the poet. For he had hopes that the son would carry on the many-sided genius that the father had bequeathed to the Nation.

The patriotic urge in D.L. Roy became visible during his college life. Gradually he developed and matured it along with his lofty thought and inner search. He scattered patriotic songs like jewels. And some of these songs in no time quickened the tempo of patriotic fervour in those days in idealistic souls of youthful revolutionaries. Love of his country welled forth from his heart like a fountain. Sri Aurobindo praised highly two of his songs which he translated himself. One was Dwijendra Lal's immortal song Bharat Amar:

India, my India, where first human eyes awoke to heavenly light!
All Asia's holy place of pilgrimage, great Motherland of might!
World-mother, first giver to humankind of philosophy and sacred lore,
Knowledge thou gav'st to man, God-love, works, art, religion's opened door.
O even with all that grandeur dwarfed or turned to bitter loss and maim,
How shall we mourn who are thy children and can vaunt thy mighty name?
Before us still there floats the ideal of those splendid days of gold;
A new world in our vision wakes, Love's India we shall rise to mould.
India, my India, who dare call thee a thing for pity's grace today?
Mother of wisdom, worship, works, nurse of the spirit's inward ray!

He has written a score of beautiful patriotic songs. But this counts among his very best and remains a source of inspiration to all to this day. Even if he had written nothing else, it would have made him immortal for all time.

Many provinces in India have not only translated his exquisite dramas, but also staged them time and again quite successfully. Mebar Patan (Fall of Mevar) is perhaps the best of all the dramas written by him. It is a book of absorbing interest by which every son of the Motherland should feel inspired.

Dwijendra Lal was endowed with a many-mooded personality. Virility, strength, lyric beauty and simplicity are four pillars on which rested the entire superstructure of his poetry. He had an admirable freedom of thought from the usual traditional ideas and sentiments. Also, he was rich in wit, humour, irony, sarcasm, comedy and parody.

One of the notable features in his dramas is the lucid expression of the sacrifice, love and inspiration of women. He says, "I believe that the Bengalees, though fallen on evil times, can yet keep their heads erect because of the strength of character of their women."

Rabindranath admired his genius profoundly as he himself wrote in the preface of his biography:

"The only thing worthy of note, so far as my relationship with him was concerned, is that I have always felt the profoundest admiration for his lofty genius."

Neither are we to forget Roy's high appreciation of Tagore:

"He stands head and shoulders above all his contemporaries in Bengal."

"His was the feast in presence." This appreciation sprang out from the lips of a critic while describing Shakespeare. The very same quality D.L. Roy possessed.

He died before his fiftieth birthday in 1913, mourned by thousands who had been inspired by his character and poetic gifts.