Saturday, February 11, 2006

Fetcher Monk's Poem "My Mother Was Raped" seems to have kicked up a lot of dust in Caferati. Here's my reaction.

I think it is a starkly written poem that states emotional facts without the crutches of figures of speech, the way it would appear in some of the experimental poetry written in Malayalam.

I am not entering into an academic discussion here, but, that's not my domain. If the poet pours out his heart over an incident in his life that scarred his life for ever, it is our duty to be sympathetic towards him than be callous and accusatory towards him.

What this poem portrays is raw emotions that has emanated after much thought and deliberation, after much fidgeting over whether one should or one shouldn't. I think the poet deserves applause for coming out with an expression of his angst.

About the style, it is simple and may not be palatable to western sensibilities. But, we, on this board do not state that we are catering to western sensibilities. We are Indian writers experimenting with a style all our own.

As for being unpatriotic, can anyone who view India with rose tinted glasses (because it suits them) tell me why there has been a spate of sensational rapes and why every woman in this country lives in dread of being a victim of it? And how secure are minorities whose women have been ravaged? And this when the policing authorities have been proved to have looked the other way.

Why? Why? Why? Any answers?

Monk has written a poem with a message, a subtext of angst. He doesn't claim to be an established poet, he is merely experimenting with expression through poetry. If that is not agreeable to some, at least leave him be, and do not sprinkle salt into wounds.

3 comments:

mysticarni said...

Hi John
Having read d monk's poem, its reviews, n subsequent confirmation by the monk tat d poem was metaphorical in nature ... i do not still think tat d poem is overly graphical for a metaphorical context! I remember when i was around 14 yrs age, I read d Shri Krishna Commission report against d 1992-93 riots . I read a section of d report in the Mid-day concerning the case of a young Muslim gal who had been married early at d age of 17, n was already pregnant at age 18 . She grew up as a child among her neighbors, calling many of her male neighbors as bhaiya, mama, n chahajaan! All these men were hindus! N then during d riots ... rumor spread tat d muslim family had called for muslims to attack the neighbouring muslims ... d gal, her mother, brother n father were sitting at home unaware of d rumours ... they were dragged out 1 by 1 , the brother n father wer beheaded ... d mother stripped ... n d daughter brutally raped ... even though she was 7 months pregnant ... after d incident ... her privates wer cut off ... n she was thrown into the gutter bleeding 2 death ... by all those men whom she considered as almost her realtives n very dear friends .... i was completely rattled reading d report .... i vomitted for 2 days ... i cud not eat or sleep ... n i hated d fact tat i was still in my state of consciousness.... n unable 2 4get d contents of d report ... i don't think any kind of graphical metaphorical poem ... wil ever b vulgar enough for the vulgarity of the actual acts commited in reality ... n which fade away in oblivion with time .... all i can say is tat ... educating d children wel ... n engaging them in directin their energies towards healthier n social activities like sports for the self n social activities such as cleaning, demonstrations, social awareness groups n charity wrk ... wil help pool d youthful resource of india towards a better nation tat can serve as an example for other nations .... than let d children n youth waste away in front of 24 hour music channels ...tat give d youth an impression tat women r an available commodity tat descended earth for just 1 purpose .... lets find an aim for living ... let life not b just for persoanl goals ... but also for a greater cause ... let us have a goal tat drives us to achieve greater generic accomplishments for the living standards of our fellow people in the society ... let us leave a mark with this life tat has been given to us ... let us not live like worms tat squirm d dirt for a while, only to die, stagnate n dissolve into oblivion.
Cheers 2 d writings of John n the Monk!

John said...

My Mystic,

REally very touching! In fact, there were several such incidents reported during the riots.

Why people turn into animals even with the people they know remains a mystery.

During a similar strife in Kosovo a woman remarked, "It was my neighbor, I saw him."

Aren't neighbor supposed to help each other in times of a crisis? Do they become enemies just because some political party wants to garner more votes?

Things to ponder :)

J

mumbaiwallah said...

Hi John
The imagery in the poem was disturbing and his use of strong words only added to the shock. Poetry is a great medium to express one's feeling and Monk has used it well to vent his anguish. We all, at some point or the other, have felt this anger, frustration and utter helplessness at the way our country has been run. I don't blame our colonial legacy for the state we are in - they may have started something that we as Indians have only been happy to continue.

Look at our politicians. Is it any wonder why the rest of us turn out to be the 'leper, beggar and the addict?

Everybody I know has experienced that kind of rage, but very very few of us actually do anything about it, including writing a poem to express our feelings.

I look at things here and see the 'possibilities' back home and in my own way try to make a difference. But it's just not enough. Contrary to what I usually preach, one persons determination and desire for change is not enough to make a dent in the mess that our country is in most of the time. It's a pity. But lets not lose hope. Someday, I tell myself, we will persevere and things WILL get better. They HAVE to. They just HAVE to.

This message is almost a post, so I'll stop here :)