Saturday, June 16, 2012

A River Comments

Rating: 3.1

In Madurai,
city of temples and poets,
who sang of cities and temples,
every summer


A. K. Ramanujan
Deepesh 12 November 2017

Thank you

2 0 Reply
Bijay Kant Dubey 02 December 2016

A River is one of those poems of A.K.Ramanujan which remind us of hashya, vyangya and vakrokti, satire, irony and doublespeak and the oblique approach as the chief forte of the poet which he handled so deftly and excelled in too as the master artist of the genre. Ramanujan as a poet is one of the satirico-ironical trend of writing and he loved to play with words and wits. An expatriate academician, he used to teach in the States and that too in the South Asian language and culture department dealing with the Dravidic languages and language patterns. A poet, translator, linguist, folklorist and a critic, Ramanujan had been not only amusing and entertaining, but critical too. To criticize and comment had been his job. Just like Birbal and Gopal Bhand he tried to regale us, but not in a laughing manner, but by being ironical and critical enough. Ashtabakra’s statements matched those of his or of Khana’s vachans. To him, poetry is in ironies, witty handlngs and intrigues. The present poem A River is not exactly a romantic picture of the river Vaikai which flows through Madurai, the temple town, but a real picture of it when it dries duing the summer. The present poem is but a Tamil poem by a Tamilian as it recreates the ancinetness of Madurai and the classical poetry written by the Sangam literary meets and confluences dating back to centuries gone by. But here classicism of the Tamil poets and texts is no the matter of discussion. Just by referring to Madurai, the temple town, he tells the tales of the Vaigai river, more specially during the floodtime when the water levels cross over the danger level and the villages get swept. But there is none to tell the pains caused by the excessive waters swirling, devouring and inundating. The poet pictures the dry bridge during the dry season with the gates visible to anyone and clogged with the straw and woman hair. One can see the bridge repaired. But the patch works carried out seem to be like the sleepy crocodiles. But during the flood time water levels rise up to and the people start talking about the waters rising, taking on the bathing ghats and the cobbled steps. The new poets too like to visualize in such a way the older ones have gone by.

7 1 Reply
Bijay Kant Dubey 01 December 2016

A River as a poem turns him into a hashya-vyankar using vakrokti as his poetical stuff; a master craftsman of the oblique approach, wit, humour and irony and he knows how to handle and improvise doublespeak, taunt and jibe to suit his creative purposes, but is ironical, crafty and coquettish too, sarcastic and sardonic..Through the river, he expresses his love of Tamil culture and tradition ad commemorates it through his verse. Under the blessing of Murugan he starts the poem referring to Madurai, the Vaigai river and its banks standing in evidence of the great Tamil literary conferences and confluences, he thinks of his stature dwarfed under the shadow of the great ancient Tamil poets. Whatever be that, A River is poem of Madurai, the temple town, the Vaigai river, the Sangam literature and the Pandya kings apart from other dynastic contributions.

3 3 Reply
Soumita Sarkar 01 January 2017

Good explanation....keep doing that.

0 1 Reply
Prem Surya Kumar 17 July 2013

Superb. A very Indian poem. The Indianness is exuding from each line, each stanza. The images are unforgetable. Very simple but powerful diction. Ramanujan at his very best.

12 0 Reply