Nissim Ezekiel was an Indian-born poet of Jewish descent. People describe him as the “father of post-independence Indian verse in English”. A number of collections of Nissim Ezekiel Poetries were published which were very popular. Some, such as The Night Of The Scorpion, and the anti-jingoism poem The Patriot, are standard verses still studied in some British and Indian schools. Further he had a varied career as an English teacher.

The ‘Minority Poem’ by Nissim Ezekiel conveys the message that theme is beauty in abnormality. In addition it means that the people that are often considered outsiders are the truly spectacular ones, as well as the idea of unity in abnormality.

He wrote plays, worked as a broadcaster on Indian radio. He also contributed many critical articles to the literary sections of magazines and newspapers. Ezekiel was born in December 1924 in Mumbai. The family lived in a small, Marathi-speaking community known as the “Bene Israel” which numbered some 20,000 inhabitants at that time. Unlike other communities around the world this was a peaceful place with no evidence of anti-Semitism to worry about. Moreover they were a relatively affluent family with his father being a professor of Botany at the Wilson College and his mother the Principal of the school that she, herself, had set up.

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Nissim Ezekiel Poetries
Nissim Ezekiel Poetries
Poems and Writeups

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

Till I am exhausted,
then they slip away
with inscrutable faces.

Nissim Ezekiel Poetries

I lack the means to change
their amiable ways,
although I love their gods.

It’s the language really
separates, whatever else
is shared. On the other hand,

English Poetries

Everyone understands
Mother Theresa; her guests
die visibly in her arms.

It’s not the mythology
or the marriage customs
that you need to know,

Nissim Ezekiel Poetries

It’s the will to pass
through the eye of a needle
to self-forgetfulness.

The guests depart, dissatisfied;
they will never give up
their mantras, old or new.

Nissim Ezekiel Poetries

And you, uneasy
orphan of their racial
memories, merely

Polish up your alien
techniques of observation,
while the city burns.


CA Nitin Kaushik (Imaginary_Lands)

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