M 4 Propagation
Translated by H. Hridayakumari.
Daughter of eminent Malayalam poet Bodheswaran and Sanskrit scholar Karthiyayini Amma, Sugathakumari is a prominent voice in the contemporary Malayalam literature. The people of Kerala know her both as a poet and a fighter who involves in the struggles to save the environment and nature of Kerala. Her poems such as “Rathrimazha” (Rain-at-night) and “Krisha neeyenne ariyilla”(Krishna, you know me not) are very popular.
Sugathakumari belongs to the Romantic tradition of poetry which began with Kumaran Asan and flourished with Changambuzha Krisha Pillai. In the 1960s, the writers including ONV Kurup, Sugathakumari, MV Vishu Narayanan Namboothiri etc wrote poems which have romantic tendencies. Though Sugathakumari’s poems can be seen as a continuation of the Romantic Poetry, she has equally raised social issues, and mythical themes in her poetry. Major poems include Rathrimazha, Ambalamani, and Manalezhuth.
The poem Rathrimazha (from the collection Rathrimazha) has been translated to English by her own sister and literary critic H. Hridayakumari as “Rain at Night”. The poem is written in six sections, but does not have a regular stanzaic form.
The speaker in the poem identifies herself with the rain at night. The shifting moods of the persona parallel with that of the rain at night. We can see different emotional states of the woman in the poem, youth, love, melancholy, mental agony, disease, loneliness and so on. The rain has been the companion of the woman in all these different emotional stages.
The poem can be read in a feminist perspective as well. The speaker, obviously a woman, talks about her companion, the rain in the poem. (Sugathakumari, in a number of interviews, had talked about the situation of writing the poem. While sitting in a room, suddenly it rained and the author got sudden surge of emotion and started writing it.) Throughout the poem, the feelings of melancholy and loneliness predominate. Rain has been portrayed as the “…pensive daughter of the dusky night.”
The poet discusses the plight of the woman by comparing it with the rain which comes at night. By attributing her loneliness and alienation to a natural phenomenon, she is trying to find solace, at last here she has a companion to share her feelings.
Malayalam’s Ghazal - Jeet Thayil
Listen! Someone’s saying a prayer in Malayalam. He says there’s no word for ‘despair’ in Malayalam.
Sometimes at daybreak you sing a Gujarati garba. At night you open your hair in Malayalam.
To understand symmetry, understand Kerala.The longest palindrome is there, in Malayalam.
When you’ve been too long in the rooms of English,Open your windows to the fresh air of Malayalam.
Visitors are welcome in The School of Lost Tongues. Someone’s endowed a high chair in Malayalam.
I greet you my ancestors, O scholars and linguists. My father who recites Baudelaire in Malayalam.
Jeet, such drama with the scraps you know. Write a couplet, if you dare, in Malayalam.
Short Notes for 50 years of Malayalam Cinema
The state of Kerala in India has a distinct film tradition that is influenced by its socio-political history. The state was formed in 1956 by merging three territories on the basis of a common language, and it has a history of social-reform movements, nationalism, and left ideology. These issues have contributed to a film tradition that is quite different from other Indian cinemas. Kerala's audiences are cine-literate, and there are many active film societies even in the remotest areas. The patriarchal ideology is prevalent in the early landmark films of Malayalam cinema, such as "Neelakkuyil" and "Chemmeen," which focused on local culture, caste inequality, progress, and construction of a modern secular subject. Despite the patriarchal elements, these films were instrumental in constructing a dominant pattern of film narrative in Kerala. The state's unique socio-political context continues to shape its film industry, which includes arthouse directors and scores of film societies.
The plot revolves around rustic life in a small village. Neeli (Miss Kumari), a Dalit peasant girl, falls in love with Sreedharan Nair (Sathyan), a school teacher. Neeli becomes pregnant. Sreedharan Nair refuses to marry Neeli as he fears being ostracized by a conservative society. Neeli becomes an outcaste and dies in child birth. Sankaran Nair (P.Bhaskaran), the village postman, adopts the child ignoring the protests of society. Sreedharan Nair marries Nalini (Prema), a member of an aristocratic family. Neeli’s son Mohan (Master Vipin) is brought up by the postman. The film ends with Sreedharan Nair and Nalini accepting the boy as their own child.