The Lotus by Toru Dutt Notes for B.A. English Honours

The Lotus by Toru Dutt

This sonnet is one of the most important topics for the B.A. English Honours Students semester 2 of Vinoba Bhave University, Binod Bihari Mahto Koylanchal University, and the other universities of Jharkhand, India. 

This lesson helps you to understand this beautiful sonnet. It also helps you to make notes for your examination. We tried to make the lessons very easy. We provide you with some important questions and answers which really help you to answer your exam paper. 

Love came to Flora asking for a flower
That would of flowers be undisputed queen,
The lily and the rose, long long had been
Rivals for that high honour. Bards of power
Had sung their claims. “The rose can never tower
Like the pale lily with her Juno mien” –
“But is the lily lovelier?” Thus between
Flower fractions rang the strife in Psyche’s bower.
“Give me a flower delicious as the rose
And stately as the lily in her pride”-
“But of what colour?”- “Rose red,” Love first chose,
Then prayed, – “No, lily-white, – or both provide”;
And Flora gave the lotus, “rose red” dyed
And “lily white,” queenliest flower that blows
Resources: Reference books at the local library

Note: The Text of this poem is not used for commercial purposes. It is only used for Education reviews. If anyone has any problem with this, you can content me by the detail given on this website on the contact page. 


Flora – Roman goddess of flowers
undisputed – unquestioned
Juno – wife of Jupiter, queen of heaven, goddess of light
mien – appearance, bearing
strife – struggle
psyche- a princess loved by Cupid (the Roman god of love)
Rivals – competitor, challenger
Bards – poets
Tower – stand like a tower
Fractions – division, section 
Delicious –  delightful, pleasant


Toru Dutt is one of the most famous Indo-Anglican poets. Most of her poetic works have an Indian theme and an Indian background. The poem, ‘The Lotus’ is a sonnet and its style is Petrarchan sonnet. Toru Dutt’s mastery idea has been given to this sonnet to make it a masterpiece. The sonnet is divided into two divisions, the Octave and the Sestet. The octave consists of eight lines and therefore the sestet consists of six lines. A sonnet deals with one idea, the octave proposing and therefore the sestet resolving. Within 14 lines of the sonnet, Toru Dutt raises a drag within the Octave and resolves it within the sestet. In this poem, Toru Dutt presents the idea that the Indian Lotus is the most beautiful of all flowers. For an extended time, Lily and Rose had been fighting for the title ‘Queen of flowers.’ Each flower with its own support from poets claimed the title. At this time, God of Love came to Goddess Flora asking for a flower, which would be the unchallenged queen of flowers. She wanted a flower, which was stately as the Lily and as delicious as the Rose. Goddess Flora gave God of Love the lotus flower and resolved the long-standing quarrel between Lily and Rose. Great poets supported the flowers consistent with their wishes, and a few poets even raised the doubt that the lily was more beautiful than the rose. Lotus combines the redness of the rose with the paleness of the lily. Goddess Flora created Lotus, which was both rose red and lily-white.
One more thing to note is that the lotus is a flower of significance both to the Indian and Hindu religions. We can understand Toru Dutt’s affection for an Indian flower and also she wanted to establish the superiority of the Hindu religion over other religions in the world. As Toru Dutt was mentioned and educated abroad, she always turned to mythology to determine her stand.

Ques: Write a critical appreciation of the poem “The Lotus” by Toru Dutt.
Ans: “The Lotus” is one of the important poems of Toru Dutt. She got an important place in Indian literature in English. She is considered in British Romantic poet because of her idea, thoughts, image
writing style, and many other features marked by this particular era. Toru Dutt’s frequent use of archaism in her poetry recalls the same tendency in Wordsworth, Scott, and Burns.

This poem opens with the direct statement that love approached Flora, the reigning sovereign of the kingdom of flowers and vegetation, and asked for a flower that would be the undisputed queen. “Love came to Flora asking for a flower
That would of flowers be undisputed queen.”
The above line of the poem clarifies the idea of Toru Dutt very clearly. In the sonnet’s first line, Toru Dutt raises a question about the most beautiful flower in the world. She is the first Indian writer who showed Indianism in her works.  For a long time, the lotus has been a religious flower in India. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Bramha, Vishnu and the Saraswati are fond of this flower. But no poets showed its significance in their works. 

Toru Dutt delivered a clear message that some poets write about the beauty of the Rose and some are proud of the lily but they forgot the religious lotus. She is truly a great writer, she played a vital role in keeping the sacred forms of Indian mythology alive. She had already decided that the sacred lotus flower of India should be seen as superior to all other flowers. She very beautifully described the lotus flower as the best in this poem. 

Before rating the lotus flower, the author explains two beautiful flowers. Some writers describe the beauty of the rose, while others praise the lily for standing upright. For centuries, there has been a struggle between these two flowers, who is the best? And in the end, the author states that the combined quality of these two is found in the lotus flower. In this way, the lotus flower is the best flower, unlike which there is no other flower. Torulata was much mixed with European civilization and this was the reason that she used to write her literature in English, yet her love and respect for India would not diminish from her heart. The Lotus Poem is a great example of this.

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