Here is my 2 cents on the big hue and cry on Sugatha Kumari (The renowned Malayalam Poetess) refusing to release the poetry collection “Sparsham” by Meena Kandaswamy (The english Indian Poetess) a translation of her english poetry book “Touch”.
It is a free world and if Meena has the right to publish poems as an expression of her creative calibre, Sugatha Kumari has an equal right to abstain from a function that releases the book for what ever reason that she has.
The poem that made Sugatha Kumari decide to not attend the function “Mohandas Karam Chand” she felt was derogatory to the Mahatma and I feel Sugatha Kumari has her right to her opinion in a free world… No poet in this world has ever written something for the 100% population to accept…If they have then it is is diplomatically tainted and impure…. So that being true Meena should not have made such a big fuss.
Though I personally did not feel the poem was that great and out of ordinary except for the way it bashes Gandhi like never read before and to convey the message in the poem you could have writen it in a different way, but hey! thats the poet’s decision not mine…but I have right to my views as well. we should not forget that some people bash Gandhi just to get a mileage as well. Yet one stanza in the poem did touch me
“You knew, you bloody well knew,
Caste won’t go, they wouldn’t let it go.
It haunts us now, the way you do
with a spooky stick, a eerie laugh or two.”
Also as Indians I think we need to get out of the clutches of this Mahatmaism in a way that people treat Gandhi like a Godman. I am ok with ‘the father of Nation’ title and truly feel ahimsa is the better solution than violence. But I hate to look at Gandhi as the Father figure and the single pious soul who granted us freedom because I would like to keep next to him the images of Bhagat Singh, Azad, Subash Chandra bose and many others in equal prominence in making India Free…
It is a sad fate that now you go to some places and see the photos of Gandhi and Nehru together and then Nehru, Indira, Rajeev and Soniya even Rahul and priyanka…. The message is loud and clear but completely farcical, cheap propaganda and misleading… In that way i guess it is high time we look at India without Gandhi in mind…
While Meena has a right to expressing her creative thoughts.. so does Sugatha Kumari a right to her opinion but we as the common man should rise beyond Gandhi and the mahatma stature and look around us and then we will know the many follies of the Gandhi era and the cheap publicity stunts in the name of Mahatma on various levels of our society… be it bashing or approving Gandhi..The bottom line is that all are equal and when I say that I mean inside and outside… It is not the flag you hold, the slogan you shout or the color of the dress you wear…it is how honestly you feel equality inside you….
The whole Sugatha Kumari – Meena kandaswamy controversy is just an eyeopener that we still have divisions in our mind… Meena should have just gone forward without making this such an issue and she could have done with a lesser publicity… but seems like she is interested in making points in public and can keep intact her position of having that fiery image……
Personally I feel Meena could have removed many of the lines like “Bapu, Bapu, you big fraud, we hate you….” which I think is totally useless and uncalled for…
But it is a Free World….Free enough to be creative, raise an opinion, debate, disagree, argue and coexist…..