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 Lotus by Toru Dutt


About the poet

Toru Dutt is an Indian poet, novelist, essayist, and translator. She was inspired by Dirozio. She had a keen interest in Indian, Greek, and Roman mythologies. She wrote in English and French. She died at the age of 21, and She is often compared to John Keats.

About the poem

  • Toru Dutt’s poem ‘Lotus’ is taken from Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan.

  • It is a Petrarchan sonnet that follows abba abba in octave, and cdcddc in the sestet.It is written in iambic pentameter.

  • The theme of this poem is pride in India’s culture and Hindu religion and the beauty of nature.

  • The poem ‘Lotus’ by Toru Dutt glorifies Lotus which is the national flower in India.


One day Cupid, the God of love goes to Flora and wants to have a flower that will be unquestionably accepted as queen. Lily and Rose are competitors who have been fighting to get the honor of ‘queen’ for a long time. Many well-known poets come in support of them and glorify them. Some say on behalf of Lily that the rose is unable to stand like Lily who appears as same as Juno. Some say on behalf of the rose if the lily is lovelier than the Rose. This way the poets are divided into two groups, and start fighting in Psyche’s bower.

Cupid tells Flora to provide a beautiful flower like a rose, but stately as the lily was in her pride. Flora asks him to choose the colour. Cupid chooses a red rose, then again, he chooses a white lily. After his confusion has been over, he requests Flora to give both the qualities in a flower. Then Flora gives him lotus, the queenliest flower which has all the excellent qualities of a red rose and white lily.



In the poem ‘Lotus’, the poet makes a comparison between the Lily and the Rose and establishes the superiority of the lotus over them. In this poem lily represents the Western culture, the rose represents Eastern culture, and the lotus represents a pure Indian culture as well as the superiority of the Hindu religion. The poet appreciates some qualities of Lily and Rose. She depicts how Lily appears to be like Juno appears, and Rose is lovelier than other flowers, but she confirms Lotus carries the most beautiful and graceful features of both of the flowers. Here, the poet wants to say both Western culture and Eastern culture have incredible features along with some shortcomings, but Indian culture carries with it the best part of both, so it becomes superior to any other culture.

Again, Lotus is born in muddy water but stands stately until it dies. It is known for its purity, and it is offered to several Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu religion. This poem enriches us with a message that human beings should be like the lotus. In the lease of life, human beings face sorrows and joys along with many challenges. But they should retain their existence without compromising circumstances, like the lotus, which possesses the combined qualities of Lily and Rose, but retains its unique characteristics.


Multiple Choice Questions

1. Lotus represents-

a)Western civilization and culture b) superiority of Indian civilization and culture c)Indian superstition c)romanticism

2. Flora is –

a)goddess of flower b) goddess of faith c) goddess of king d) goddess of love

3.“Bards of power had sung their claims” -What do you mean by ‘Bards’?

a)queens b)poets c)power d)factions

4. In the poem there was a rivalry between –

a) the lotus and the rose b) the lily and the lotus c) the lily and the rose d) the lotus and love

5. In the poem ‘Lotus’, Toru Dutt glorifies–

a)Lotus flower b) Lily flower c) Rose flower d)Love

6. Love came to Flora and asked for –

a) a leaf b) a flower c) a bird d) a net

7. Lily’s appearance was similar to –

a) Juno b) Queen c)peacock d) Lotus

8. The flower-factions meet for the challenge in the bower of-

a)Psyche b) Proteus c) Cupid d) Flora

9. The queenliest of flowers is-

i)Flora ii)lotus iii)lily iv)Rose

10. The flowers that had been fighting for the high honor are-

a) lily and rose b) lotus and rose c) lily and marigold d) lotus and lily

10. The Rose symbolizes-

a) Eastern civilization and culture b)Western civilization and culture c)strength d)courage

11. In the poem ‘Lotus’ Toru Dutt glorifies-

a)Rose b) Lotus c) Lily d)Cupid

12. The poem ‘Lotus’ is taken from-

a) Beowulf b) Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan c) Paradise Lost d)Lyrical Ballads

Short Answer Type Questions

1. Who came to Flora and why?

Ans: Cupid, the god of love came to Flora requesting to have a flower which would be the queen of flowers unquestionably by everyone.

2. Name the flowers who were rivals for a long time.

Ans: The rose and the lily were rivals for a long time.

3. Why did Love come to Flora?

Ans: Love came to Flora to request a flower that would be unquestionably the queen of flowers.

4. What is the queenliest flower according to Toru Dutta?

Ans: According to Toru Dutta, lotus is the queenliest flower.

5. Why did Flora choose Lotus to be the queenliest flower?

Ans: Flora chose Lotus to be the queenliest flower as Lotus has the best qualities of red rose and white lily.

Long Answer Type Questions

1. Who had approached Flora asking for a flower to be known as the undisputed queen? What did Flora give to Love and why?

Ans: Cupid, the God of love had approached Flora asking for a flower to be accepted as the undisputed queen.

Flora gave lotus to Love.

Flora gave him a lotus because it carries the most beautiful features of a red rose and white lily.

2. Who had a rivalry for the superior position in the poem ‘Lotus’? What does the phrase ‘Bards of power’ refer to? What did ‘Bards of power’ claim?

Ans: The lily and the rose had a rivalry for the superior position in the poem ‘Lotus’.

The phrase ‘Bards of power’ refers to well-known poets.

Some poets claimed that Rose can never stand as the pale lily which is as same as Juno in appearance. Again, another group of poets claimed that Lily is not as lovely as Rose.

3. Who is Flora? What do Rose and Lily symbolize?

Ans: Flora is a Greek Goddess of flowers.

 In this poem, the Lily represents Western civilization and culture, and the rose represents Eastern civilization and culture.

4. Discuss the theme of Lotus.

Ans: In the poem ‘Lotus’, the poet glorifies Lotus to explore various themes. The poem tells about the beauty and dignity of Indian culture and civilization, establishes the superiority of the Hindu religion over all religions, and depicts the beauty of nature. The lotus is the national flower of India. Generally, it stands for purity and good fortune, so it is used to worship several Gods and Goddesses. In this poem, the poet compares Western culture and Eastern culture by comparing Lily and Rose. She describes some incredible features of the Lily and the Rose and tells us how Lotus carries the combined features of the White Lily and red Rose but becomes superior to all flowers. She tells about an association Indian culture has with European culture, but she also tells us how Western and Eastern beauty are combined in the Lotus. So Lotus is not only the most beautiful and graceful flower, but also it is the pride of Indian culture.


A. Answer each of the following questions in a complete sentence:

1. What is meant by ‘Bards of power’?

2. Why did Flower-factions ring the strife?

3. How did Lily appear?

4. What do you mean by the phrase ‘Psyche’s bower’ and ‘Flower factions’?

B. Answer each of the following questions in about 80 words:

1. What did Love want to get from Flora? What did Flora give to Love and why?

2. What qualities did Love want in the ‘Queenliest flower’? Which of them did she hesitate about for a moment? What decision did she come to?

3. Do you agree with Flora’s decision about the quarrel between the rose and the lily? Explain.

4. What are the main thoughts and ideas contained in the poem ‘The Lotus’?

5. How had the poets sung about the lily and the rose?

Textual Grammar

C. Do as directed:

1. The lily and the rose, long, long had been rivals of that high honor. (Correct the error)

2. Bards of power had sung their claims. (Change the voice)

3. Love comes to Flora asking for a flower. It would of a flower be undisputed queen. (Join into a complex sentence)

4. Love said to Flora, “Give me a flower delicious as the rose and stately as the lily in her pride”.(Change the narration)

5. Between Flower faction rang a strife on Psyche’s bower. (Split into two sentences)

6. Flora gives the lotus. (Correct the error)


♦Flora-Goddess of flowers, ♦undisputed-unquestionably, ♦ honor-superior position, ♦Bards-poets, ♦tower-stand, ♦Juno-wife of Jupiter as well as queen of flowers, ♦mien-appearance, ♦lovelier-very beautiful and attractive, ♦rang-sound loudly, ♦Psyche-a beautiful princess who fell in love with Cupid, god of love, ♦bower-shelter, ♦delicious-extremely pleasing and beautiful, ♦stately-majestic