Meena Kandasamy’s Ph.D. in Sociolinguistics and English Language Teaching is what initially got me interested. As jealous as I was, I google a bit and bumped into a review of Ms. Militancy. I immediately ordered it and continued reading up. I watched a few videos on her blog and read a few posts. By then Ms. Militancy arrived.
I knew very little about what to expect. So, I expected nothing. Actually, I wished it was worth the effort. (I am not a great fan of poetry. I don’t understand them much and I can hardly read every word.)
Ms. Militancy is beyond words. Actually, I can’t put into words what I feel at the end of the book. As a (assumably) feminist myself, I fight against status quo every single day. May be I thought I could call myself (little) Ms. Militancy too.
Even today, I stood up against the use of the word ‘rape’ in everyday conversation as if it were an act to be proud of. I argued my case and tried riding some sense into people before I got snapped at. “Can you take it offline?” I was asked! Well, not everybody can take it from women talking feminism and oppression!
I’m digressing. The point was…who is Meena Kandasamy writing for? Such hatred, some militancy, such rebellion and such irreverence. Every poem stands out and screams at the face of status quo. Do people really appreciate it? Does she have readers who write good things back to her?
But here’s what I think. I think every one of her poems is a gem. Grew up a tomboy defying all things femininity, I can relate to it when she says
We are not the ones you will choose for wives,
We are not the ones you will sentence for life.
As a child, I prayed to God when I heard thunder and walked around temples before my exams, I remember the story my mom told me about Lord krishna opening his mouth and showing the ‘world’ in his mouth. I understand when Meena Kandasamy says
she saw in his cloudy mouth
the truth of the three worlds –
sand everywhere, everything
turning to sand.
She goes one step further in Flesh finds a form of address. She has a beautiful rendition in Firewalkers. When I am admiring every line that she has written, when I feel she is talking my language and she understands how I feel living in this male-dominated (schizophrenic) world, she shocks me with
Since reservation in education
is a calamitous emergency,
brahwoman medicos press their point.
She shocks me with her feminism that goes beyond just female oppression. She takes me through the journey of low-caste women in a caste-ridden society. She alienates me. Strangely, I don’t get offended. I can only empathise.
Massacre of the innocents and passion become piety are certainly a wake up call. The shortest of them all untitled love is more than a gem. In my heart, I can not decide which one of Ms Militancy and The noble eight fold path that I like best. They both have so many layers of meanings that you should have gone through ‘abuse’, if I may, to know what they really mean. You must have been there done that.
We are all fortunate enough not to have been there done that. But we are all so unfortunate that we can not understand!