Today's Beautiful Gem: `The Harp of India' by Henry L. Derozio.

Which word did the child speak first?
Who was the first child?
Do only sounds that have meaning form a word?
Which poem did the poet write first?
Who was the first poet?
Do only written words form a poem?

I don't have the answers for the above questions. However Henry
Derozio was _perhaps_ the _first_ Indian who ever wrote poetry in
English. He taught English in the 1820's in the Hindu College,
Calcutta. Though his premature death denied the posterity with more
of his trend-setting poetry, he did inspire many young Indians with
a love for English language and literature. He was half-Indian,
half-Portuguese. Remember, in a way, we are all the descendants
of Derozio. Appreciate the English poem below written by the first
Indo-Anglian poet!

"Why hang'st thou lonely on you withered bough?
Unstrung for ever, must thou there remain;
Thy music once was sweet-- who hears it now?
Why doth the breeze sigh over thee in vain?
Silence hath bound thee with her fatal chain;
Neglected, mute, and desolate art thou,
Like ruined monument on desert plain:
O! many a hand more worthy far than mine
Once thy harmonious chords to sweetness gave,
And many a wreath for them did Fame entwine
Of flowers still blooming on the minstrel's grave:
Those hands are cold-- but if thy notes divine
May be by mortal wakened once again,
Harp of my country, let me strike the strain!"

Om s'aantih! Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao