Monday, May 15, 2017

Letters to Namdeo Dhasal: Taste of Protest Poetry by Chandramohan S

The book, 'Letters to Namdeo Dhasal' by Chandramohan S

Poetry moves and absolute poetry moves absolutely, if we go by Bacon’s style of saying it. What if poetry is created to fuel a movement? That should be a different kind of poetry. Poets separate themselves from the generic fields of poetic utterances in order to write ‘separate/Dalit’ poetry. In such locations poetry is a mutual process; it is created for a niche audience by (a) niche poet. Appreciation of such poetry can happen only in a zone of mutual agreement or mutual critique. Poetry written in this fashion writes off the poetry created elsewhere away from this niche. Can Dalit poetry survive on its own within and without its own genre? While the question remains so, there is an inescapability of ‘Dalitness’ in any poetry created out of a Dalit experience. That’s mostly expressed through the language of utterance. Chandramohan S is a poet who calls himself a ‘Dalit Poet’. His second collection of poems titled ‘Letters to Namdeo Dhasal’ released in Delhi stands proof to his Dalit aesthetics. Why he writes poems? Chandramohan answers: ‘I write poems-People have the right to bear arms’ (Write Poetry). Language and the caste ‘hymens’ are his major concerns as he knows language is hijacked for ideological purposes. ‘The adjectives were abandoned/suffixes and prefixes scrambled/Vowels lynched and hung upside down/epithets beheaded’ (Occupied Language). He proudly says: “This poem is not pimple free/is printed on rough paper.’ (Plus Size Poem). There is an urgency to evoke, there is an anger to protest and there is sarcasm to irritate in his poems. I wonder what makes him a poet, his Dalit experience or his poetic ability? Or are they inseparable? If so can the absence of one cancel out the other? The book is published by Desirepaths, Baroda (Venkataraman Divakar). Price: Rs.150/- A good collection of thought provoking poems.

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