This article aims to highlight the significance of the gendering of the emerging nation that literature in India’s nationalist period generated, nurtured and reinforced. This article focuses on what Judith Brown ( 1985) identified as the ‘decisive decade’ (1930–1940) of the nationalist movement, when nationalist vision and imagery extensively penetrated people’s imagination. It will examine two contexts (Hindi and Bengali), which are certainly different but in some ways interestingly similar, through the works of two poets, both ‘independent’ of both literary movements and political parties. Besides having been published the same year, Harivansh Rai Bacchan’s Hindi collection Madhuśālā ( 1935) and Jibanananda Das’ Bengali poem Banalatā Sen ( 1935) are romantic works, somewhat distinctive to most literary production of this period, and both exploit in a rather similar way an evanescent female figure who continues to fertilize Hindi and Bengali imaginations. The purpose of this paper is to question the practice and the function of these romantic figures in nationalist imagination and to examine the issues of differences and similarities they raise regarding the vision of the utopian nation in both Hindi and Bengali contexts.