Mother Tongue

Chapter Summary

Mother Tongue is a famous poem written by the poet Padma Sachdev, an acclaimed writer of friction from Jammu, India, who used to write her pieces in Dogri and Hindi. In this poem, the poet conveys her message through a simple conversation. The conversation that helped in this poem is between stem and poet which provides the Padma Sachdev with a quill to write her piece with imagination power and poetic license.

Padma Sachdev calls herself the servant of her mistress. Here, the language Dogri has been used to explain the term servant or slave. In this poem, the poet uses language that can be well relatable and understood by the readers. The conversation usually helps the poet to take her poem as a subtle dig at capitalism. The major problem that has been mentioned in this poem is the issue of capitalism that highly exploits all natural resources.

The hanging stem for the quail is often asked by the poet and in response to this, the stem kept a series of questions in front of the poet. This conversion revealed that both the stem and the poet are the servants of the Dogri language. The request for quills that are made by the poet is because she wanted to serve her Shahni through literature.

Symbolism of “The quill” as the central element in the poem

Quill mainly symbolizes Padma Sachdev, which is the basic script to preserve and propagate the mother language. The poet is much eager to make her mother language, Dogri famous and honourable, which was written in Sharade script originally and happened to be written in Devanagari script. This is the major reason the poet appealed to the stem to give a quill. The stem accepted her request as they both have a common mother tongue, Dogri.

Reason for the Sense of Urgency in the Poet’s Request

This statement shows a sense of urgency in the Padma Sachdev request and this is due to the fast depletion of the base of the Dogri language. The depletion of the poet’s mother tongue can be seen in its native speakers. The vital element of this poem is quill that helps to symbolized Sharade script that preserves and propagates mother language.

The request for quills that are made by the poet is because she wanted to serve her Shahni as it is being influenced by other languages. Dogri also got negatively influenced by other languages and the poet got highly concerned about the population who speaks Dogri and is ready to serve Shahni. Poet’s request to save her language was accepted by the stem as they both honor their mother tongue, Dogri.

The poet’s Brought Emotional Attachment to Her Mother Tongue

The poet has a strong emotional attachment to her mother tongue, Dogri and this love for her mother's langue is depicted in her poem. She treats her Dogri as Shahni in all her poems and calls herself the slave or servant of the queen or her mother tongue, Dogri (Shahni). This emotion becomes stronger during the poet’s conversation with the stem when he got convinced to provide her with as many quills as he can to save Dogri. This happened as both poet and the stem have the same mother tongue and want to save the population speaking Dogri. The stem wanted to help the poet to take their mother langue to a high status and honour.

How is the Personification attributing human qualities to inanimate things and abstract ideas is used in this poem?

The personification tool that has been beautifully used in this poem is to symbolise the mother tongue of the poet. The poet loves and honours her mother tongue and wants to save her language and the Dogri-speaking population. In this poem, queen’s maid and the quills personify the language Dogri as Sharade and Shahni script. The conversation in this poem between the stem and the poet depicts how a person can stand up for his or her mother language and tries to save it and take it to a high status.


Q1. What is the central idea of the poem?

Ans. The central idea of the poem Mother Tongue by Padma Sachdev depicts that the poet served the mother language Dogri as she writes poetry by using the language. The request for quills that are made by the poet is because she wanted to serve her Shahni through literature. Padma Sachdev’s poems are generally meant for the entire world to enjoy, read, celebrate, and realize the beauty and richness of her mother language, Dogri.

The stem was highly convinced after listening to poet’s words and wanted to help her to save their mother tongue, Dogri. The stem also ensures that he will remain by poet’s side in every situation if she wants to something worthy and noble.

Q2. What was the reaction of the stem after listening to the poet's thoughts for her language?

Ans. Padma Sachdev denotes herself the servant of her mistress. Here the language Dogri has been used to explain the word servant or slave. Padma Sachdev explained to the stem through a conversation that the entire world likes to enjoy, celebrate, and realize the beauty of her mother tongue, Dogri by reading her poetry. The use of the poet also calls himself the servant of Dogri and agrees to give the poet as many quills as he can. The stem also ensures at the end that he will help the poet to do something noble and worthy to enhance the richness of their mother tongue.

Q3. The poet held the mother tongue, Doigri in high esteem. Provide a brief explanation of this statement.

Ans. The mother tongue of Padma Sachdev is Dogri and she is very proud of her mother language. The poet calls herself Shahni in Dogri, which means a woman who is given high status and honor. The poet is from a wealthy family and has had a love for her mother tongue since she started reading scripts like Devanagari and Sharade.