By Ananya S Guha
S Chandramohan’s poems are a powerful commentary of a crises ridden society. They are protestations of a caste conscious society, of an ubiquitous poverty, of a degenerate wealthy class of people who understand only the glitzy riches of the corporate world. There are ‘leftist ‘ overtones in the poems- allusions to the middle class and the bourgieose. The poems are broad statements on the condition of a weakened and exploited humanity. Who will mourn the death of a tribal? Who will protest the rape of an innocent tribal girl?
Throughout the poems there is lamentation, not seething anger. Anger is controlled and the irony or satire has compassion in them. This is the inherent markedness of the poems. Seething compassion. That compassion is an universal force is evident in his pithy poetry. Chandramohan draws also on history and mythology to rework ‘ new ‘ sensibilities in his poetry. And what is this “‘ newness “‘? It is this damned protest against caste hegemony, social and economic exploitation and western hegemony.
Protest poetry is a genre, loosely speaking. It hits out against any form of intolerance or .hegemony. It is satirical in mode, but compassionate in voice. That is its inner logic. The poetry of the Argentinian poet, Nicholas Gullen for example uses a directness in achieving this. Chandramohan uses direct statements, in the manner of speaking to someone but hard hitting. The poems are eye openers: why for example are the North East people of the country called ‘ Chinkies’ ? What is the ‘ historical ‘ India? Where is ‘ Tribal” India? These poems are constant interrogations, because through interrogations we can achieve ‘ power ‘, through questioning, we can dismantle edifices! Chandramohan’s poems are very powerful extrapolations of such ‘ truths ‘- the India of today, shaped by India of yesterdays, where power is corrupt, where politicians and people are lacqueys of power mongers and plutocrats. And some of our ‘ leaders ‘ are replicates of the western powers.
Now, something about the language of poetry. Is it not man speaking to man as Wordsworth once said? Chandramohan addresses his fellow human beings in a conversational tone, earmarking all the need for protest, hitting out at ‘ conscience keepers ‘. Who are they, me, you? The language of poetry has been deftly reworked into a zealous weapon to fight casteism, tribal exploitation, or at least the insouciance towards them. There is no anger mind you, only a deep down lament. Taken together as a body the poems are an elegy on the ‘ death ‘ of societies, even of a Nation!
This is riveting, hard hitting poetry. It invokes history, because only the past can make the present- this crises ridden society, symbolized by Pokhran, in one of his poems. We know about Dalit poetry. Read Chandramohan’s poems to understand the revolutionary processes in poetry- both content and style!
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Chandramohan S. is an English poet based in India. His poems reflect the socio-political struggles of the marginalized , the working class and the nomadic outcasts of the world who are victimized and then forgotten as nations clash and wage relentless war. His work has been profiled in New Asia Writing, Mascara Literary Review and About place journal , Counter-Punch poetry, The Thumb Print magazine, The Sentinel, American Diversity Report, Poetry 24 online , Green Left Weekly(Australia), The Baroda Pamphlet, Art in Society, News Verse News etc.