“If I was a Tree” is a thought-provoking poem by Charles Ghigna that invites readers to contemplate the idea of becoming a tree and experiencing the natural world from a unique perspective. The poem ‘If I was a Tree’ places before the readers an age-old custom of discrimination practised in India. The poem satirises the idea of defilement and purification. The unasked but implied question in the poem is about the defilement of the mind. Read More 1st PUC English Summaries.
If I was a Tree Summary
If I was a Tree Summary in English
The poem ‘If I was a Tree’ places before the readers an age-old custom of discrimination practised in India. The poem satirises the idea of defilement and purification. The unasked but implied question in the poem is about the defilement of the mind. The poem implies that the ones who practise caste system go against God’s design. In the different creations of God, there is not a single creature that is considered superior to other creations.
It is clear from the poem that the speaker has suffered the bane of discrimination in human society. His statement that if he were a tree, no bird would ask him what caste he was, makes it clear that the speaker is made to feel ashamed of his caste repeatedly. When he states that the shadow of the tree which is formed on the ground when the sunlight falls on it, wouldn’t feel defiled, it is clear that people keep him at a distance and do not allow even his shadow to come in their way as he and his shadow are considered impure. When he talks about the sweet friendship with the cooly breeze and leaves, it is crystal clear that in society not many extend to him their hands of friendship.
When he avers that raindrops wouldn’t turn back from him considering him a dog eater, it is understandable that people from whom he hoped for sustenance just as a tree gets its sustenance from water, he got only abuse and rejection. When he writes that mother earth wouldn’t flee from him with the fear of getting defiled, the picture of upper caste people shooing him away forms in the imagination of the readers. The phrase ‘branching out’ makes it clear that the hopes and aspirations of the lower caste people are curbed and they are not allowed to make use of their potential. Through the image of the sacred cow coming to the tree and giving the tree the joy of being touched by the three hundred thousand gods sheltering inside her, the speaker shows that entry to sacred places is denied to him. It could even be an ironical reference to the higher caste people who worship cows as divine but fail to see divinity in their fellow human beings.
It could even be a mockery of the upper caste people who worship thousands of gods but have no respect for their brethren. Finally, when the speaker says that if he is a tree he would have the privilege of being burnt in the holy fire or becoming the bier, it is clear that as a human being, he knows that he would be shunned even after death and wouldn’t be allowed a decent death. Thus, as a human being, in life and death, he would be condemned, but as a tree, he would live a life of dignity and joy. Thus the speaker makes it clear that instead of being born as a human being in a society which practices discrimination, it is better to be born as a tree or any other creature in nature, as in nature there is no discrimination.
The poet wishes he would have been born as a tree rather than a person, because the human race still practices immoral discrimination based on caste. The poet, on the other hand, turns to nature, which he believes does not discriminate against any creature regardless of size, colour, habitat or gender.