The Poems of Nissim Ezekiel

The Poems of Nissim Ezekiel Glossary

dialectic (adj.)

1. Holding two different opinions or points of view at the same time

2. Of, or related to, the nature of logical argumentation

equipoise (n.)

Even distribution of weight; even balance; equilibrium

élan (n.)

Energy, style, and enthusiasm

bacilli (pl. n.)

rod-shaped bacteria

Gethsemane (n)

The garden outside Jerusalem mentioned in Mark 14. The setting of the arrest of Jesus.

uncouth (adj.)

lacking good manners, refinement, or grace

Indirabehn (n.)

Madam Indira. The poet is probably alluding to Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi (1917-1984), India’s first and only female Prime Minister. ‘Behn’ is the usual Gujarati word of respect while addressing a lady.

Lassi (n.)

An Indian drink made of curd

Gujaratis (pl. n.)

People living in the Gujarat province of India

Maharashtrians (pl. n.)

People living in the Maharashtra province of India

Hindiwallahs (pl. n.)

Hindi-speakers. This has a tone of disgrace, as the suffix 'wallah' is generally used for artisans or low-class shopkeepers like bhujiawallah (snacks-seller), taxiwallah (taxi or cab driver) etc.

anna (n.)

A former monetary unit of India and Pakistan, equal to one-sixteenth of a rupee. Found in "Episode" from The Third (p 98).

Noumena (pl. n.)

Objects or events that happen and/or exist independently of human sense and/or perception. From "Cry" in Hymns in Darkness (p 178).

crushing seed (v.)

From "Background, Casually." Bene Israel tradition of oil pressing, which began soon after the Bene Israel arrival in India.

ashram (n.)

Hermitage, religious retreat.

bhikshuks (n.)

Religious mendicants.

burkha (n.)

Garment worn by orthodox Muslim women which covers them completely from head to foot, hiding the face.

chapati (n.)

Small round of unleavened bread, baked on a griddle.

paan (n.)

Astringent mixture of areca-nut, lime, tobacco, etc. wrapped in betel leaf for chewing.

Padma Shri (n.)

The fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India. It is awarded by the Government of India, every year on India's Republic Day.