Part 1 of the project available here.

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio is considered to be the first Indian English poet, followed by writers such as Tagore, Manmohan Ghosh, Aurobindo Ghosh, Toru Dutt, and Sarojini Naidu. Nissim Ezekiel is often credited to be the father of modern English verse, and together with his predecessors, and other contemporaries such as Dom Moraes, Kamala Das, Gieve Patel, Keki Daruwalla, R Parthasarathy, Jayant Mahapatra, AK Ramanujan, Adil Jussawalla, Eunice De Souza, Agha Shahid Ali, and Arun Kolatkar, he laid the foundation of Indian English poetry. Here is a sampling of some works by the forerunners of Indian English poetry. The list begins with two works by male poets: the Jewish poet, actor and playwright Nissim Ezekiel, and the Kashmiri poet, Agha Shahid Ali. The four female poets in this list – Toru Dutt, Sarojini Naidu, Kamala Das (known as Madhavi Kutty before her marriage, and as Kamala Suraya when she died, after having converted to Islam later in life), and Eunice De Souza – have paved the way for contemporary Indian women writing in English. 

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“Night of the Scorpion,” Nissim Ezekiel, read by Annapurna Palit. The poem was published in 1965.

“Not All, Only a Few Return,” Agha Shahid Ali, read by Inam Hussain Mullick. The poem was published in 2003.

“The Lotus,” Toru Dutt, read by Santasree Chaudhuri. The poem was published in 1882 in the anthology Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan.

“The Pardah Nashin,” Sarojini Naidu, read by Anwesha Ganguly. The poem was published 1905.

“An Introduction,” Kamala Das, read by Sujata Jha. The poem was published in 1965.

“He Speaks,” Eunice De Souza, read by Naina Dey. The poem was published in 1979.