Wednesday 16 December 2020

Razia, the Tigress


Razia, the Tigress


[The present poem sketches before the reader a world of fast depleting natural resources which is threatening the wildlife around us. Razia, the tigress, is worried for her partner and two cubs who, like many other tiger cubs, are in danger of being poached and killed. The poem also shows how man has usurped all land and how he has plundered his natural resources. This has threatened both the wildlife as well as human life and environment.]


The tigress Razia lives alone.

Her two cubs haven’t yet been named.

Sheru barely played with them

And now he’s gone, O what a shame!

Sheru was an expert on winds,

Knew how they traversed dale and hill,

And where they put up for the night

When no leaf stirred and all was still.

He knew his winds, their traffic lanes!

He knew the deer would smell him out,

If they were down-wind.

So he would belly-crawl and crouch

And take a long circular route,

Hiding behind bush and shrub

Once he knew his scent won’t carry,

In a flash he would erupt.

 (Deer hadn’t sniffed that thick and musty

Smell of his which people dubbed

As tiger-scent.) He got the stag,

His claw fell like a giant club

On neck and antler-both were crushed

Now Sheru’s gone. Not any more

Do people fear his dreaded spoor,

Pug-marked on the forest floor.

Grief and fear start competing

In Razia’s heart. With Sheru gone,

Will the hyenas hound her cubs?

Can she leave the little ones alone,

When she goes hunting flesh and bone?

The tigress Razia lives in fear.

A greater dread, when will again

The poachers with their guns appear?



Keki N Daruwalla

[Keki N Daruwalla is a great contemporary Indian poet. He was born in Lahore in 1937 and was educated at Government College, Ludhiana. He currently lives in New Delhi. He is the winner of the Sahitya Akademi and Commonwealth Poetry Awards. He is praised for his bitter, satiric tone, which is rather exceptional in Indian poetry in English.]




traversed – travelled


dale – valley


stirred – moved


shrub – small, low tree


erupt – jump, come up


dubbed – described


dreaded – feared


spoor – animal scent.


poachers – animal hunters



Enjoying the Poem:


1. Rewrite the poem 'Razia, The Tigress' in prose, with one sentence for each stanza.

Ans.1 The tigress Razia lives alone with her two cubs as Sheru has gone away.

1.     Sheru knew where winds went and what they did.

2.     Knowing that a deer could smell his presence, he crawled in his belly.

3.     Taking a long circular route and hiding himself behind bush and shrubs, he attacked his prey.

4.     He got the stag who hadn’t sniffed the tiger-scent.

5.     Now he has gone but his pug marks are on the forest floor.

6.     Razia is afraid of hyenas who kill tiger cubs.

7.     She is more afraid of poachers.


2. Write a summary of the poem 'Razia, The Tigress'.



3. What is the theme of the poem 'Razia, The Tigress'?

Ans. The theme of this poem is based on the life of tigers in the forest. This poem tells us how they their prey. It gives us the useful information about wild life that due to destruction of forests, the poor wild animals live in the danger of poachers.


4. Why does Razia, The Tigress live alone?

Ans. Tiger Sheru has left Razia. So she lives alone with her two cubs.


5. What was Sheru’s expertise?

Ans. Sheru was an expert on winds. He knew their directions. He also knew that with their help, the deer could smell the presence of a tiger. So he kept himself in such a position that his smell would not reach the deer and he could get at them easily.


6. What happened to Sheru?

Ans. The forests were destroyed. It became difficult for Sheru to find food. There was fear of poachers also. So Sheru left Razia and the cub and went somewhere else.


7. What are Razia’s fears?

Ans. Razia fears about her cubs. She is afraid of hyenas who kill tiger cubs. She is more afraid of poachers who have guns for hunting and stealing forest animals.


8. What kind of a creature was Sheru –


(a) coward


(b) shrewd hunter


(c) lazy


(d).. timid


Ans.  (b) shrewd hunter



9. Rhyming words are those words which end in similar


sounds. Some rhyming words are ‘branch – avalanche’,

‘prayer – air’, ‘hound – found’. Write two pairs of rhyming words each from the last two stanzas of the poem.