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2004 54 -
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Article!

Regarding dhanya's articles on 
women who write poetry!

- Latha Ramakrishnan -

Latha RamakrishnanAs I am not a regular visitor to browsing-centres and also as most of these centres do not have tamil fonts downloaded i can type this letter  not in tamil, much as i wish to do so, but only in English. Regarding Dhanya's observations on issues pertaining to women who write poetry  she is correct in pointing out that there have been women writing in the 80s too but without trying to highlight the fact that they are women writing poetry. These women were writing on various issues  in their own way. Afterall, no one can  dictate to a poet as to what they shoud write. Whatever affects a poet he or she gives vent to it in his or her poetry. But sadly, this basic idea of poetry is overlooked and  all the limelight is focussed on only a select few women who write  poetry. And, more often than not their writings are considered above criticism and  any obervation on these writings are branded male-chauvenistic and highhanded. It is not correct to say that pop-magazines and small-magazines  are decrying them. For, it is the small-magazine circle which has always stood for them by publishing their poems and by writing about them continuously. Pop-magazines are known to decry the initiatives of small-magazines for  reasons too well known. The fact is that  the small magazines hailed these select few as the harbingers of  women-writing in tamil which is not all that true. As said earlier, women writing poetry  is not all that new.

And, mr.rajamarthandan's list, like any other list highlights some women who write poetry and half-heartedly mentions several others belonging to Tamilnadu. These things happen always. When the fact being that the writers of small-magazines strive and go on working against all odds, it is wrong to say that women writing poetry  face undue  suppression. On the other hand  as things stand today it is comparitively easier for women in this field to gain attention and recognition. More so, when, of the ten or so only four are five  are oft-quoted or highlighted. I write under the pseudonym 'rishi' and my views, being in the field can be wantonly  misinterpreted as jealousy or some such thing but i care a  damn. Certain things have to be said. Taken out of context any line can sound schoolmasterish. But as a poet committed to the cause of small magazines and poetry and one who has never tried to grab any limelight  and one who has never resorted to pronouncing sweeping statements can't mr.brammarajan write his views on  the poetry of any woman? For that matter any discerning reader has the freedom to air his or her views. That doesn't make one a fascist or  fundementalist. But that is exactly how such reviewers  are projected paired alongwith those who  decry women maliciously  and with ulterior motives.  In fact i feel that  the whole issue came to be because there were some who kept on quoting these 'select few'  hailing them as penning the ultimate poetry. So much eulogy is bound to bring in adverse comments. And, all  the adverse comments are not unethical or oppressive. It is argued that centuries after centuries women who took to writing were suppressed. May be true, but then history is twofold-the history of the past and the history of the present. The past injustices meted to women in the field of literature are 'things of the past.'. Today , being ten against hundred ( and, four or five being the select few among the ten) the survival and the limelight  are easier to reach for women than for men who write good poetry. Before concluding, it should be stated that mr.brammarajan always maintains that there is something called women-poetry and it was he who alongwith his friend Sivakumar ,translator  and co-author of meetshi, the prestigious small magazine of the yesteryears convened a two-day symposium for women in the field of literature. And, i didn't take part in it  saying that such bracketing as women-writers is unnnecessary and that it only helps to satisfy the ego of some men. And i sincerely feel that such exclusive status does help some women in gaining  attention and recognition. And this exclusive status has driven some women who are involved in creative writing to  voice those 'dry slogans such as  men are evil forces  and mothers are the saviours of the  world and that all men are aggressors  man's body is a dead thing while the woman's can create magic etc, etc- slogans that even the dry-leftists have long discarded. Today's world and its power-system exploit and oppress men also in numerous ways. I remember the words of ms.srilatha swaminathan  an activist whom i chanced to meet when i participated in an All-India Women's Conference held in Patna in the 90s( i was invited to participate as an observer and a translator) who said that this divide between men and women was used by the landlords to exploit the working class all the more. Lot more to say on this issue. Still, i stop for the  time-being.

ramakrishnanlatha@yahoo.com

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