No Men Are Foreign
The main theme of the poem “No Men are Foreign” is the unity of humankind. The poet explains beautifully the shallow differences of colour, race, nationality and religion. He teaches that every single person is our brother or sister. The people who spread scorn and take up arms are hoodlums and have the right to be condemned. The poem vehemently discussed the matchless quality of affection, accord, companionship and friendship among all people in this world.
We are all alike. We have the same structure of the body. For many purposes, we all need air to breathe, sun to get sunlight and warmth and water. Our daily routine is nearly the same, too. In the morning we get up, have a bath, have breakfast and go to work or school. We all long for love. We all sleep at night and wake up in the morning. When we have the same needs and feelings, we should treat everyone equally. We should not look at anyone based on their colour, their caste, their region or their sex. Everyone should be our brother and sister. Sadly, some self-centred people are fighting and trying to hurt others. They believe others have hurt them.
They believe others have hurt them. They are our brothers, too. We should forgive them or compromise with them if they make any mistakes.
Universal brotherhood is the paramount need of the hour. This poem underlines the same concern of universal brotherhood. The poet tries to emphasize the similarities between the different races. The poet says that, although there are differences in colour, caste or religion, all people share many characteristics that distinguish them from animals.
The poet says everyone has the same body. All men’s bodies breathe, eat, sleep, drink alike. People live the same kind of life everywhere. All people live on the same earth. The same earth feeds all of them. We should, therefore, shun hatred. To hate others is to hate ourselves. People defile the purity of the earth by engaging in wars. The earth is everywhere our own. The poet says nobody is strange and there is no like a foreign land. Love all and hate none is the main theme of the poem.
NO MEN ARE FOREIGN | EXPLANATION
It is true that many people tell that they live a peaceful life for a long time. We never follow with their message. We also know that our greed for wealth and power can not give us peaceful lives. But some deep-rooted evils in our society distinguish us from others. We know that people have made all their customs and conventions. God made everyone equal. But for our selfish motives, we make differences between people. We hate even our family members more because of our ego. We’re finally harming ourselves. We are hateful objects for society. People in society dislike selfish people.
Therefore, before we hurt the feeling of others, we should, first of all, consider whether doing this with others is justified by other people or society. We should learn to do something, that is, live like brothers with others. We should learn to tolerate and forgive. Only then our life would only be happy and peaceful.
Sometimes selfish people incite the innocent to harm others. They do it for their selfish purpose. The ordinary person doesn’t understand their tricks and begins to hate their fellow human beings. They tell them to provoke riots. The poet says that nobody’s advice should be followed without brooding over it. The poet says again and again that there is no difference between them and foreigners. All the people of the world the same.
Everyone is responsible for the war. If we begin to hate our brothers, we will become the cause of tension, and the tension will one day be transformed into war. Therefore, nobody should hate and despise anybody. Our prejudice and impolite behaviour towards other people is the cause of unnecessary wars.
TITLE OF THE POEM “NO MEN ARE FOREIGN”
“No Men are Foreign” is an appropriate title for the poem because it gives the message of the widespread fraternity. People throughout the world have identical structural and behavioural features. The distinctions on the basis of manmade ideas of caste, ideology, colour and so forth are unnatural. Each individual shares the same blessings. Thus, no individual is a foreigner or an untouchable.
NCERT Solutions / Question Answers of No Men Are Foreign
Q.1 What does the poet mean by “uniforms” the poem?
Ans. The word “uniforms” in the poem probably means the dresses that the people of different nationalities, religions and castes wear as per their culture and geography. It may also mean the uniforms that the soldiers of different nations wear on their borders.
Q.2 What according to the poet makes all the people alike on earth?
Ans. All the people on this earth wake up, sleep, eat and drink likewise. Every one has the like feeling of love and hate.
We all share the same sunshine, air and water. All have the same structure of the body. The daily routine is nearly the same, too. In the morning all get up, have a bath, have breakfast and go to work or school. We all sleep at night and wake up in the morning. When we have the same needs and feelings. Everyone on earth has suffers in the same manner. These are the features which according to the poet make all people alike.
Q.3 What outrages the innocence and beauty of this earth?
Ans. It is the hatred against each other and impure thinking that outrages the innocence and beauty of this earth. By engaging in wars and shedding blood of innocent people the man defiles this earth.
Sometimes selfish people incite the innocent to harm others. They do it for their selfish purpose. The ordinary person doesn’t understand their tricks and begins to hate their fellow human beings. They tell them to provoke riots. The poet says that nobody’s advice should be followed without brooding over it.
Q.4 What message do you get from them?
Ans. The poem gives us a lesson of universal brotherhood. The poem is an attempt to keep people away from hating other people. The poet also tries to make it clear that we should not dismantle the peace and harmony. We should not look at anyone based on their colour, their caste, their region or their sex. Everyone should be our brother and sister
Q.5 Do you find any rhyme scheme in the poem?
Ans. No, there is no rhyme scheme in this poem. It has been composed in free verse.
Q.6 What is free verse?
Ans. A kind of poetry berated from the shackles of rhyme and metre.
Q. 7 What is the style used by the poet in the poem?
Ans:- The style of the poet is quite impressive. The poet has tried to explain each and every point with the help of distinct examples and expressions. He has tried to convey the message of oneness and the importance of universal brotherhood.
The poet has used repetition and refrain in the poem to emphasise the message of brotherhood in the poem. The word ‘remember’ has been used at many places in the poem.
1. All people on the earth are alike. How?
Ans. The poet suggests that all people on earth are the same. They breathe, eat and walk in the same way. They all are aware of the sun, air and water. They all love peace and hate war. They have similar eyes the poet says. No men are foreign and no countries strange; we all have a common entity of being humans.
2. What does the poem tell us to remember?
Ans. In the poem ‘No Men Are Foreign’, the poet asks us to remember that under all uniforms, a single body breathes like ours. We all walk on the same land. We all live and work in the same way
3. Poet does not believe in narrow patriotism. What is patriotism to the poet?
Ans. The poet does not believe in narrow patriotism. He says human beings are equal. All the men are like us. They wake up and sleep equally. Love is common and can win all. There is no difference among the nations.
4. How does the poet explain that all people are the same?
Ans. The poet says that all live and suffer the same. The human body is the same everywhere. All are aware othe f the sun, the air the and water. All prosper when there is peace. All starve when there is war. War destroys everyone equally.
Factual and Inferential Questions
I. Read the lines from the poem and answer the questions.
Remember, no men are strange, no countries foreign beneath all uniforms, single body breathes Like ours;
a. What does the poet mean by the word ‘strange’?
Ans:- By the word strange, the poet means uncommon, not same or hard to understand.
b. Which uniforms does the poet refer to here?
Ans:- The uniforms the poet refers to here is uniforms worn by soldiers.
c. What is meant by the words ‘a single body breathes’?
Ans:- ‘A single body breathes’ means a person of same physical nature as anywhere lives and only the uniform is different.
B) Their hands are ours, and in their lines, we read A labour not different from our own. a. Which lines are being spoken of?
Ans:-The lines here spoken of are the marks in the hands caused by the callousness of hard work.
b. What do we read in these lines?
Ans:-In these lines we read the message that men everywhere work hard for their living. Everybody works the same way despite all regional differences.
c. Why is their labour not different from ours?
Ans:-Their labour is not different from ours because their hands work the same way as ours do for the livelihood.
C. Remember, we who take arms against each other.
It is the human earth that we defile.
Our hells of fire and dust outrage the innocence of air that is everywhere our own,
a. What does the poet mean by the phrase ‘take arms’?
Ans:-The phrase ‘take arras’ means fight.
b. How do we defile the earth and outrage the air?
Ans:-We defile the earth and outrage the air with the hells of fire and dust caused by the wars.
c. Explain ‘hells of fire and dust’.
Ans:-When a war breaks out the gunshots and cannons create a hellish atmosphere with fire and dust.
II. Think and answer in about 150 words.
1. What do you think are the moral and the message of the poem?
Ans:-The poem ‘No Men are Foreign’ written by James Falconer Kirkup is a condemnation of wars which are caused by earthly disparities and delimitations. The boundaries make people aliens in
spite of all their physical and emotional sameness. The poet brings out this aspect of human beings in order to question the reason for wars which harbour hatred and widen the gap among the people caused by geographical or racial differences. In this context, the poet reminds us of the fact that the life of the unit formed soldiers is similar to one another with regard to their needs, nature of activities and the exposure to consequences of wars. When the poet progresses in his condemnation on wars, he pro-poses a means for conquest and that is love. He believes that love can win any strength. Since no men are foreign, the war victims are like our own brothers and so their killing brings no gain but losses. In short, what the poet wants to convey through this poem is the message of universal brotherhood and the moral degeneration caused by wars.
2. Remember; no men are foreign, and no countries strange-Do you agree with this statement? Give reasons.
Ans:-Yes, I do. This statement is doubtlessly proven with many sup-porting examples cited by the poet. Life is indeed common everywhere. Our physical features and needs and emotional responses are all similar. It is illogical to call the people of other countries, foreigners because there is nothing foreign in them as they all have the same kind of body which sustains our life. The earth we live in is not a different one. They have eyes like ours with which they see and sleep as we do. In every land love is the most powerful weapon. When a war breaks out every-body affected by it suffers for want of peace and food. The impact of wars in the form of sufferings is same everywhere despite regional or continental disparities. For a living, everybody has to work in all nations. As such, we should agree with the poet’s notion that ‘no men are foreign and no countries strange’.
3. The poet tries to make us understand that the differences in people are superficial. Substantiate with examples.
Ans:-The poet tries to make us understand that the differences in people are superficial by giving us a number of examples like uniforms, geographical barriers, wars for want of territorial conquests and the countries which are termed as foreign for the simple reason that they are scattered in different continents. The poet asserts the fact that the soldiers who fight are different only in uniforms. Except this superficial difference does not make people different. Beneath all uniforms, the physical formation of man is the same everywhere. Our brothers – the soldiers of other countries -walk on the same earth. When we die, we are all buried in the same earth. Like us, they know the importance of the heat of the sun, the life-giving oxygen and life-sustaining water.
When there is peace, we have all food but when there are wars, we all starve. War is like a long winter. They do the same manual labour as we do and which we can identify from the callousness they have in their hands just as we have in our own hands. They have the same physical and emotional aspects as we have. In short, it is proved beyond doubt that life is common everywhere and there is no power which cannot be conquered by love.
4. Who tells us to ‘hate our brothers’? Why do ‘they’ do this? How do we lose? What ‘can be won by love’ instead?
Ans:-The vested interested rulers in whose command soldiers have to fight tell us to ‘hate our brothers’. They do this for their personal gain making soldiers scapegoats. When we hate our brothers, it is ourselves that we lose. Hatred begets hatred. It is not a solution. Love is the strongest weapon. There is no strength which cannot be won by love.
More Elaboration on The poem
➡ It is true that many people have been telling us to live harmoniously since long. We never follow their message. We also know that our greed to get more wealth and power cannot give us a peaceful life. But some deep-rooted evils in our society make us draw a distinction between people. We know that all customs and conventions have been made by people. God has made all people equal. But we make differences between people for our selfish motives. We start to hate even our family members due to our ego to be more powerful. By doing so, we at last harm ourselves. We become objects of hate for society. In society, people dislike selfish people.
So before going to hurt other’s feeling, first of all, we should think whether doing such act with others are justified by other people or society. We should learn to live with others as brothers. We should learn to tolerate, forgive and compromise. Only in this way, our life would be happy and peaceful.
➡ Sometimes some selfish people instigate the innocent to harm others. They do it for their own benefit. The common or ordinary man does not understand their tricks and starts hating his fellow human beings. They tell them to cause riots. The poet says that one should not follow anybody’s advice without brooding over it. The poet repeatedly says that there is no difference in them and the foreigners. The people of the entire world are the same.
➡ Everyone is responsible for the war. If we start hating our brethren, we will become the cause of tension. And the tension is converted into war one day. So nobody should hate and despise anyone. Our biased and impolite behaviour toward fellow human beings becomes the cause of unnecessary wars.
➡ We all are alike. We have the same body structure. All of us need air to breathe, sun to get sunlight and warmth and water for many purposes. Our daily routine is also almost the same. We get up in the morning, take a bath, have breakfast and go to work or school. All of us long for love. We all sleep at night and wake up in the morning. When our needs and feelings are the same, then we should treat all people equally. We should not look down upon anybody on the basis of his her colour, caste, region or gender. We should treat everyone as our brother and sister.
Unfortunately, some self-centred people fight with others and try to hurt them. They think that others have harmed them. They are also our brothers. If they make any mistake, we should forgive them or compromise with them.