Nissim Ezekiel

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Nissim Ezekiel Biography

Nissim Ezekiel was an Indian Jewish poet, playwright, editor and art-critic. He was a foundational figure in postcolonial India's literary history, specifically for Indian writing in English.

He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1983 for his Poetry collection, "Latter-Day Psalms", by the Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letter ...

Nissim Ezekiel Poems

Night Of The Scorpion

I remember the night my mother
was stung by a scorpion. Ten hours
of steady rain had driven him
to crawl beneath a sack of rice.

Minority Poem

In my room, I talk
to my invisible guests:
they do not argue, but wait


Unsuitable for song as well as sense
the island flowers into slums
and skyscrapers, reflecting
precisely the growth of my mind.


There is a place to which I often go,
Not by planning to, but by a flow
Away from all existence, to a cold
Lucidity, whose will is uncontrolled.

The Patriot

I am standing for peace and non-violence.
Why world is fighting fighting
Why all people of world
Are not following Mahatma Gandhi

Nissim Ezekiel Comments

Sarah Jones 24 September 2013

An absolutely brilliant poet. The sarcasm and wit employed in his poem is outstanding. He has mocked the contemporary usage of Indian English in many of his poems, which is not correctly understood by many readers. Nissim will be immortal for his creations Night of the Scorpion and Poet, Lover, Bird Watcher. These two are among the best poems in Indian English writing.

53 26 Reply
Bijay Kant Dubey 09 May 2014

Nissim Ezekiel is the poster boy of modernism in the history of Indian English poetry who together with P.Lal tries to give a dimension to it, but to credit to him merely only will not serve our point and for it, this must go to C.R.Mandy, the then editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India who gave a chance to many a verse-practitioner. At that time Nissim too was a new-comer, unheard of. Nissim had not been so famous as he is today.A Bene-Israeli, I mean a Jew he was outwardly frank, bold and daring, but from his interior within a conservative fellow who stepped not outside, just like a modern hollow man he kept himself to modernity, modernism and hollow urbanity rather than allowing some space to India, Indianism and the theme of Indianness. He had been blind to the treasure trove of the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and other things philosophical and scriptural. A modern man, he thought of modernity and modernism; city life and culture. The tea party, marriage party, exchange of pleasantries, welcome speeches, greetings, birthdays, new year eves; airports, picnic spots, restaurants, travel destinations, theatres, cinema halls, art exhibitions and journalistic tidbits are the things of his discussion. To joke with and to caricature is the chief property of the poet. The wife under the ghumta (veil) taking not the name of the husband at the modern party is the protagonist of his humour. People trying to learn spoken English too comes under the glare of his jokes. A clear-cut poet, he seeks to employ a clear-cut language for his poetry. He can date, but can never turn up for a consummation. to go to the cinema hall with the beloved and to smile with her is acceptable ti him, but never, never the love marriage going outside the gamut; the ghettos binding upon. As a poet he is Indian as for his bare ground realities, wit, fun, pun and humour, India-connections, not for his relationships. He is a poet of the urban space, not the Indian countryside.

46 28 Reply
Bijay Kant Dubey 02 October 2015

With the scorpion, he turned into a reputed poet, had he the cobras like the charmer, what would it have as Girish Karnad turned into a famous man just with the story of the Icchanagin and Nagakanya in Nagamandala!

12 6 Reply
Ghannsulo 19 September 2018

Top re

4 2 Reply
Kamna 06 April 2018

Chapter 1 literature poem the child writer by nissim ezekiel pls help all exercise

6 0 Reply
Anisha Halder 14 October 2020


1 1 Reply
dumdum 22 January 2019

i really enjoy these poems

6 0 Reply
Thara 30 November 2018

I wish to read the poem very indian poem in indian english

8 1 Reply
anon0 29 October 2018

I wish the poem 'Very Indian Poem in English' by Ezekiel was also included in this list

8 1 Reply
pragti 11 October 2018

Philosophy is good poem bt not very interesting

4 4 Reply