Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Prof. KGS Writes

Prof. K. G. Sankara Pillai K.G. Sankara Pillai is one of Kerala’s finest poets. A recipient of the state and central Sahitya Akademi Awards in 1998 and 2002 respectively apart from many other awards. His poetry has been translated into Chinese, French, German and Sinhala. He has been editor of important literary journals: Prasakthi (a journal of radical political views, the third issue of which was confiscated by the police in 1974) and Samakaleena Kavita (1991-1996) devoted to poetry. He has also edited Penvazhikal, an important anthology of women’s poetry and feminist criticism in Malayalam. He worked in various colleges until his retirement in 2002 as Principal of Government Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam. He lives in Thrissur, Kerala.

Portrait of the self as a traveller in Dr.T.P.Sasikumar’s Delhi Poems –LIFE of LOVE - generate a new poetic electricity. Self is the observer and the observed in the depths of these poems. We see the self as a nonstop traveller reading the time we live in by reading the mind and life of its own and the minds and lives of others. It reads everything around, in and out. Reads the minute throb of the heart; flames of desire and instinctual drives of the body. Success, failure, fame and wounds and pains are recorded in it. The self travels through the anxieties of the cities of chaos in continents of competitions and battles; dreams to have a companion to share everything and to regain the lost treasures, for the plus and minus of love. To be loved and guided by love. Darkness of grief, grievances, relations, slogans, given ideas and concepts, Gods, crowds of nonsense, illusions of paradise on a divided earth, and so many. Self goes on reading and travelling and examining the tensions and worries within. Through a series of verbal graphics of these poems the poet exposes the complex inscape and sickly soul of our time. We get the view that every word/step is constitutive of the self. But due to certain reasons beyond perception the construction of the self ceases to win over the self demolishing trends of the new civilisation. These poems unveil a vivid view that all voyages of the self are voyages to the self via a grown up but immature universe of desire and grief. An enlightened self, the first person narrator of these poems, lives to lift them up to a quite zone of repose and purification of mind. We reach an axiom: Travel is reading and reading is travel. Both enrich the therapeutic power of a creative mind. Every reader is a reader of the self. And Dr. Dr. T.P.Sasikumar, the poet, makes it clearer through his poems in this collection that he has greater faith in care and cure of the suffering human self.

Dr. Sasikumar begins his search and narration of the journey of the self right from ‘the story of my birth’; the story of one’s own origin .The poet traces the starting point of the journey of the self in the past to his father and mother . This is a normal way of seeing the origin. No mystification. No mythification. Dr. Sasikumar observes the physiological micro drama behind every birth – the battle of sperms to win a birth. To win a life. To weave a saga. Though it may be unknown to the newborn the first realisation of the self naturally is that of a winner. It paves a positive basis for all the forthcoming waves and layers of self-awareness. That pride of the winner becomes an innate energy of self confidence which later is to be manifested behind every motivation in addressing and advancing various urges, needs, dreams, dilemmas and all such future situations. The following lines of the first poem in this collection – the race for birth- certifies this.

“I can run and win the race
With anyone in this life

As I have won the race for birth.”

we can see here the birth of consciousness and in toto the rise of the mind .A fascinating fact revealed normally in the context of birth is that the answer of one plus one is another one ; self plus self is another self . In the genetic structures of every self we see the profound inscriptions of the fabric of inherited plurality of the selves. Seeing itself in the mirrors of life and times; in the actions reactions expressions and extensions of perceptions. As the seed of a response system; of a series of complex, complicated, complaints and complacencies.

'Where are you from?’ is an ancient question. A universal one. Deep and curious. A question with mysterious dimensions of physiology, psychology, cultural heritage, history, geopositions, and cosmology. A question asked by everyone to everyone. No origin is a singular phenomenon. Every origin is like the origin of a river, a culmination of various forces inherent in various orgos. Every self is passing through ages and spaces, individual and society, contexts and situations, love and battle, truth and myth, agony and ecstasy, of witnessing, partaking, experiencing, and creating new forms of energies and histories. These are the self-evident premises of the concept of the self as a traveller in Dr. Sasikumar’s poems. We see innumerable linear and vertical movements in it.

Majority lives and die without even having a glimpse of their own-self. Without listening to it. Without caring it or loving it. Without even feeling the unbearable lightness of their being as a void in history. They haven’t yet born into an awakened human space and time though they are watching movies, wearing costly garments for celebrations in cool banquet hall evenings and flying across oceans and continents as eminent preys of the crocodile grows in their own mud of greed. Dark Ages keep a black hole like hiding place in their self blindness. Just the opposite is the bright presence of a loving self; the essence of Dr. Sasikumar’s poetry. In one of these poems he refers to the searching for a magic formula to sparkle the mirror of the mind “to reflect the truth of the world in its original immensity and magnitude.” The searcher is not a romantic. He is realistic enough to dissect, demystify, and demythify the contemporary cultural practices and faith systems. He is very sure of the impossibility of such a magical formula to attain purity or liberation. It is repeatedly asserted in these poems that there is no such a miracle cleanser of mistakes and miseries and crimes in this world of remote powers. I think this position is the milieu of Dr. Sasikumar’s poetry. It is a spiritually enlightened linguistic arena of self awareness, self confrontation, and self renovation. It reminds us the taste of an ancient eastern wisdom that the construction of an alert self constructs a bold life. Writing about the necessity of self in a selfless world is a revolutionary mission. This daring wings make his poetry frank, credible, and flying. It doesn’t crawl.

Dr.T.P.Sasikumar’s poems are creative dialogues of the poet with himself and with the world in closed contexts of acute loneliness and sharp introspection. Most of them follows certain structural aspects of lyrical or dramatic monologues incorporating soliloquies of a consistent searcher of love and meaning of life and stray conversations of women in places of worship .These poems effectively befriend the reader in her/his inner bad times of crisis . They speak in a soft and sharp curative voice of concern and compassion. They do have a therapeutic effect on the perplexed minds. Words move around in Dr. Sasikumar’s poems with a sheer clinical vigil. They convey psycho-cultural messages for seeing hearing trialing analysing and updating one’s own inner life. These are all without any hidden agenda of the megalomania of a contemporary middle class intellectual. It can lift the reader from shallow levels of greed, guilt, dust and dirt of emotional complexities. These poems are spiritually rich with empowering elements like empathy, warmth of hope ; will to listen, love, dream and live ; willingness for regular renewal of sensibility to the age we exist, and power to convince and inspire fellow beings , the depressed slow walkers .

Qualities of this brand are rare and worthy both in art and life. Art of poetry always celebrates these creative features of a poetic persona as potential makers of profound vision and linguistic agnosticism. Knowing oneself as central to all forms cognition. Knowing oneself in all its emotional and intellectual possibilities and limitations, conscious or unconscious tendencies of self, skills of self management in contexts of crisis, are worthy in transforming mind into word/action; and word/action into a bright emotional event. It can determine the tone of an expression, vigour of the lines in a poem, freedom and ease of the organic form of a poem and the velocity of the flow of the life stream in a poem, using in an intimate throb of the poetic rhythm. This happens frequently in good poetry. The worldly veins of the lines are sprouting straight from a person requesting to God for a new birth with less brain and more heart. This is to stretch-out the individual self to the entire vastness of history and creative heritage .This I feel is the innermost drive of these poems. An essential request of a scientific/ philosophic mind to be blessed with a shift to a poet’s wind like mind. It can be praana or prachanda as the situation commands.

Personal is political in the world of ideologues. Here personal is poetical. Or personal is rather ethical/ spiritual. These poems reveal the insatiable urge of a mind to embrace the beloved life-scape; and to widen the circle of arms to embrace all, the whole. It reminds us of the spiritual wish of the protagonist of a Tagore poem to stretch it’s self on the banks of the river of time like a white dhoti. I enjoyed the twenty seven lights of these twenty seven poems as the silence of the stars from twenty seven depths of our everyday the sky. These lights are gentle torches of introspection and resurrection of the self. They are speaking the language of praying candles. They have a soft melody of love as their soul.

Prof. K. G. Sasnkara Pil


  1. “I can run and win the race
    With anyone in this life
    As I have won the race for birth.”.....Great words.

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