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Toru Dutt and Indian-English Poetry

            Toru Dutt was a product of 19th century Bengali Renaissance. She belongs to a family of newly converted Christians. Christianity was introduced in Bengal and finally upper caste Hindu elites who were impressed by the literal principals and theory of Western education. The Dutt family of Ram Bagan was one of very few families to imbibe new faith. Toru's family was baptized in 1862 when she was six years old, but the new religion never alienated her from the traditional roots. She sought inspiration for her creativity from the Hindu epics and myths. Toru dutt actually inherited the literary genius that was inherent in her family. .
             The Dutt family was a family of noted historians and poets. Govin Chunder Dutt, Greece Chunder Dutt, Omesh Chunder Dutt, Romesh Chunder Dutt were some of the eminent intellectuals of the age. Toru Dutt was greatly influenced by her father in her life. It is her father who instilled in young Toru a deep passion for ancient tradition that served as source and inspiration to her creativity. She herself acknowledge her father's role in determining the course of her life-without papa, I should never have known good poetry from bad, but he used to take such pains with us .
             Toru Dutt's poetic out-put was brief for her literary career and it was limited by her untimely sad demise. Despite the brevity of her volumes, it remains a real gem because of its worth and merit and it has enabled her to carve out a permanent place for herself in the history of Indian English literature. Her life was fraught with many tragedies. It was the personal experience of pain that Toru translated into her verse. Her poetry was tinged with an acute sense of loss, anguish, longing and nostalgia. She also fused the romantic and classical elements both in her diction and theme.
             A Sheaf Gleaned in French Fields, a collection of nearly one hundred translations of French poets, was the only work which Toru could see published during her life time.

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