The Sower By Toru Dutt Class 11th Maharashtra Board


About the Poet: Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo was a renowned French writer and poet of the 19th century. He was born on February 26, 1802, and died on May 22, 1885. Some essential information about Victor Hugo includes:

  1. Literary Legacy: Victor Hugo is celebrated for his contributions to French literature. His notable works include “Les Misérables” and “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.”
  2. Social and Political Activism: He was not only a writer but also a prominent political figure, advocating for social justice and democracy. He was an outspoken critic of authoritarianism and injustice.
  3. Romantic Movement: Hugo was a key figure in the Romantic literary movement, emphasizing emotion, individualism, and a deep appreciation for nature and beauty.
  4. Exile: Due to his political beliefs, Hugo went into exile from France for several years, primarily residing on the Channel Islands.
  5. Humanitarian: He was a passionate advocate for human rights, and his writings often reflected his compassion for the poor and marginalized.
  6. Legacy: Victor Hugo’s literary and political influence remains significant, and his works continue to be studied and adapted in various forms of media.
  7. Notable Quotes: Hugo is known for his powerful quotes, including “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise,” from “Les Misérables.”
  8. Death: Victor Hugo passed away in Paris in 1885, and his funeral was attended by a massive crowd, demonstrating the profound impact he had on French culture and society.

Victor Hugo’s contributions to literature, politics, and humanitarian causes have left a lasting mark on both French and world history.

About the Poetess: Toru Dutt

Toru Dutt (1856-1877) was a pioneering Indian poet and writer of the 19th century. Born in Rambagan, Kolkata, she came from a prominent Bengali family known for their intellectual pursuits. Toru Dutt is celebrated for her contributions to English literature and her efforts in introducing Indian themes and culture to Western readers. Her notable works, such as “A Sheaf Gleaned in French Fields” and “Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan,” showcase her remarkable talent for blending Eastern and Western literary traditions. Despite her tragically short life, Toru Dutt’s literary legacy continues to be recognized and appreciated for its cultural richness and poetic elegance.

Warm up: Do you know the activities done by farmers?

  1. Plowing: Breaking and turning over soil using a plow to prepare it for planting crops.
  2. Planting: Sowing seeds or transplanting seedlings into the soil to begin crop growth.
  3. Irrigation: Providing water to crops through artificial means, such as canals, pumps, or drip systems, to ensure proper hydration.
  4. Weeding: Removing unwanted plants (weeds) from the cultivated area to prevent competition for nutrients and sunlight.
  5. Fertilizing: Applying nutrients or fertilizers to the soil to enhance crop growth and yield.
  6. Harvesting: Gathering mature crops at the right time for consumption or processing, typically done when the crops reach their peak ripeness.
  7. Livestock Care: Raising and managing animals like cows, chickens, or goats for meat, milk, eggs, or other agricultural products.
  8. Crop Rotation: Alternating the types of crops planted in specific fields to improve soil health and reduce pest problems.
  9. Pest Control: Managing and controlling pests, such as insects or rodents, to protect crops from damage.
  10. Farm Maintenance: Maintaining and repairing farm equipment, structures, and facilities to ensure the smooth operation of the farm.

Read and Reflect Your Views

  1. “Farmers are the backbone of our nation, toiling from dawn to dusk to feed the world.” – Unknown
  2. “The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.” – John F. Kennedy
  3. “Farming is a profession of hope.” – Brian Brett
  4. “Farmers don’t just work till the sun goes down; they work till the job gets done.” – Unknown
  5. “The toil of the farmer feeds us all, and without their efforts, civilization itself would be in jeopardy.” – Unknown
  6. “Agriculture is our wisest pursuit because it will, in the end, contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson
  7. “The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.” – Will Rogers
  8. “Farming is not just a job; it’s a way of life that requires dedication and resilience.” – Unknown
  9. “Every day, farmers wake up to challenges and uncertainties, yet they plant the seeds of hope.” – Unknown
  10. “The plowman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees.” – Benjamin Franklin

Brainstorming Questions

  1. What are the primary challenges that farmers face in ensuring a successful crop yield?
  2. How do farmers adapt to changing weather patterns and climate-related challenges in agriculture?
  3. What are the economic hardships that many farmers experience, and how do these impact their livelihoods?
  4. What role does technology play in modern agriculture, and how does it affect the daily lives of farmers?
  5. How do farmers address issues related to soil health, erosion, and sustainable farming practices?
  6. What are the challenges of accessing markets and ensuring fair prices for agricultural products?
  7. How do small-scale and subsistence farmers differ in their struggles and efforts compared to larger commercial farmers?
  8. What is the significance of government policies and agricultural subsidies in supporting or hindering farmers’ efforts?
  9. How do cultural and social factors influence farming practices and the challenges faced by farmers?
  10. What are the psychological and emotional tolls of farming, especially during difficult seasons or when facing crop failures?
  11. How do farmers work to protect and conserve natural resources like water and biodiversity on their lands?
  12. What are the efforts made by farmers’ organizations and cooperatives to empower and advocate for the rights of farmers?
  13. How do generational differences in farming practices impact the struggles and innovations within the agricultural sector?
  14. What are the global perspectives on the struggles faced by farmers in different regions and countries?
  15. How can society better support and appreciate the hard work and contributions of farmers to food security and the economy?

Central Idea of the Poem

The central idea of Toru Dutt’s poem “The Sower” revolves around the theme of renewal and hope in the face of adversity. The poem portrays a sower who tirelessly scatters seeds, despite the harshness of nature and the inevitability of some seeds falling on infertile ground. The sower’s actions symbolize the resilience of the human spirit, the willingness to persevere, and the belief in the possibility of growth and renewal. Despite the challenges and setbacks in life, the sower’s optimism and determination to sow the seeds of hope and life remain undeterred. This poem serves as a metaphor for the indomitable human spirit that continues to strive for a better future, even in the face of uncertainty and hardship

Poem: The Sower

Sitting in a porchway cool,

Sunlight, I see, dying fast,

Twilight hastens on to rule.

Working hours have well-nigh past.

Shadows run across the lands:

But a sower lingers still,

Old, in rags, he patient stands.

Looking on, I feel a thrill.

Black and high, his silhouette

Dominates the furrows deep!

Now to sow the task is set.

Soon shall come a time to reap.

Marches he along the plain

To and fro, and scatters wide

From his hands the precious grain;

Muse I, as I see him stride.

Darkness deepens. Fades the light.

Now his gestures to mine eyes

Are august; and strange; his height

Seems to touch the starry skies.

Summary Of the Poem

This poem describes a scene where the speaker is sitting in a cool porchway, observing the transition from daylight to twilight. As the sun sets, the twilight takes over, signaling the end of the working day. In the fading light, the speaker notices an old sower, dressed in tattered clothing, who continues to sow seeds in the fields. The sower’s silhouette stands out prominently against the darkening landscape, and the poem reflects on the significance of his actions. As darkness falls, the sower’s gestures take on a majestic and almost mystical quality, as if he is reaching for the stars. The poem highlights the enduring dedication of the sower and the profound impact of his work in the changing landscape.

Figures of Speech

“Sitting in a porchway cool,

[Sunlight, I see, dying fast,] personification

[Twilight hastens on to rule.] personification

Working hours have well-nigh past.

[Shadows run across the lands:] personification

[But a sower lingers still,]

Old, in rags, he patient stands.

Looking on, I feel a thrill.

[Black and high, his silhouette]

[Dominates the furrows deep!] personification

Now to sow the task is set.

Soon shall come a time to reap.

[Marches he along the plain]

[To and fro, and scatters wide]

[From his hands the precious grain;]

[Muse I, as I see him stride.]

[Darkness deepens. Fades the light.]

[Now his gestures to mine eyes]

[Are august; and strange; his height]

[Seems to touch the starry skies.]” Hyperbole

Post Teaching Activities

Think and Practice Gratefulness:

  1. Food Security: Farmers play a critical role in ensuring our food security. They work tirelessly to grow, cultivate, and harvest crops and raise livestock, providing us with the essential food we need to survive. Without their efforts, there would be a scarcity of food, leading to hunger and malnutrition.
  2. Economic Contribution: Agriculture is a significant contributor to the economy in many countries, providing employment opportunities for millions of people. By supporting farmers and their livelihoods, we contribute to the economic stability and growth of our communities and nations.
  3. Environmental Stewardship: Many farmers are increasingly adopting sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practices. They are custodians of the land, working to preserve natural resources, reduce pollution, and promote biodiversity. By supporting such practices, we acknowledge their role in protecting our planet for future generations.

Reflect Your Views on the Following Statement

  1. “Harvesting Hope: Farmers Feeding Humanity”
  2. “Cultivators of Compassion: Farmers and the Global Food Chain”
  3. “The Heart of Agriculture: Farmers’ Dedication to Mankind”
  4. “Sowers of Sustenance: Farmers and the Human Race”
  5. “The Breadwinners: Farmers Fostering Humanity’s Growth”
  6. “From Field to Fork: Farmers’ Impact on Humanity”
  7. “Guardians of the Earth: Farmers Nourishing Mankind”
  8. “Feeding the World: Farmers as Heroes of Humanity”
  9. “Bearing the Fruit of Compassion: Saluting Farmers”
  10. “Agrarian Angels: Farmers’ Contributions to Mankind”

Argument and Debate

Effort of Farmers vs. Soldiers:

  1. Debate Topic: “Who Deserves More Recognition: Farmers or Soldiers?”
    • Arguments could focus on the vital role of farmers in food production and the sacrifices made by soldiers in defense of the nation.

Politician vs. Teachers:

2. Debate Topic: “Who Has a Greater Impact on Society: Politicians or Teachers?”

  • Arguments could examine the influence of politicians on policy-making and governance versus the role of teachers in shaping the future through education.

Doctor vs. Civil Servants: 3. Debate Topic: “Whose Work is More Essential: Doctors or Civil Servants?”

  • Arguments could explore the life-saving contributions of doctors in healthcare versus the role of civil servants in maintaining governance and public services.

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