Sunday, 15 June 2014

Multicultural Symphony (A Collection of Poems) - Review by Patricia Prime

Book Review
K. V. Dominic’s Multicultural Symphony: A Collection of Poems. New Delhi: Gnosis, 2014. Pb. 82 pp. Price: 195 Rs. / $8.
ISBN: 978-93-81030-42-4.
Patricia Prime

Multicultural Symphony is Professor K. V. Dominic’s third collection of poems after Winged Reason (2010) and Write Son, Write (2011). Written in free verse, the 47 poems in this collection are on a variety of topics ranging from multiculturalism, global warming, conservation, poverty and unemployment and there are a variety of other themes in the collection, relating to the human and natural worlds. In this volume K. V. Dominic combines some big hard truths on social, spiritual, political and environmental issues with poems that manage a celebration of passed friends while avoiding the clich├ęs of one big happy multicultural melting pot. In no way are the poems sentimental nor didactic, and never taking refuge in cynicism.
K. V. Dominic’s Multicultural Symphony is not an easy book to get a handle on as he convincingly moves from one bold issue to another innovative area. These mostly short poems are set in the Indian landscape which K. V. Dominic knows so well and is a part of, and indeed these poems seem to be themselves a part of a darkening and disintegrating landscape, a landscape in flux and peopled by those themselves in flux, marginalised, on the edge, often addressed by the poet, as we see in the lengthy opening poem, “Multicultural Harmony,” which is in six parts. This is a supremely controlled account of the way in which, with chilling inevitability, the diverse nature of human society makes bedfellows of us all:
Multiplicity and diversity
essence of universe
From atom to the heavens
multiculturalism reigns
This unity in diversity
makes beauty of universe.
The cadences of this poem only make it more poignant. The poem has a sadness to which many people will relate.
K. V. Dominic’s is a restless poetry, expressing the angst contemporary men and women experience within a context of environmental issues and subjective matters that feature strongly in his poems. Yet there is also a need to try and anchor himself, as he describes the place in which he lives:
My native State Kerala
blessed with equable climate
and alluring landscape
crowned by the Sahyas
she lies on the lap of the Arabian Sea

            (“Multicultural Kerala”)
K. V. Dominic is at home with the rhythms and diction of everyday life, as we can see in the poem “On Conservation”:
Hey poet, kindly heed to my plea
before you thrust your pen
into my bleeding heart
Though I am a passive sheet of paper
I have a soul as vibrant as yours
The need for stability in the changing world, and the unreliability of change seems to be what impels him to record these poems. “Child Labour,” for example explicates the life of a young girl forced to enter the slave labour market:
Her parents sick and poor
fail to feed their children
Crying hungry mouths
Forced the wretched parents
to sell the eldest lass
But alongside his camera’s eye, and insightful analysis, there is extreme depth of feeling, as in “Caste Lunatics”: “My country, the greatest democracy, / when will it be freed from / lunatics and religion?” Again, when describing the tragedy of a girl who ended her life in the poem “Beena’s Shattered Dreams,” we see the plight of parents forced to witness a daughter’s suicide:
            Unbearable to look at
            their darling daughter’s still body
parents fell unconscious
Beena’s corpse was brought from Mumbai
accompanied by her roommates.
“Pearl’s Harbour” is a lonesomely sad poem, and so in a different way is the poem “Dignity of Labour” where the poet’s countrymen mimic others they think are better than themselves:
Imitating the Whites
fashionable to the Blacks
particularly to my countrymen
Mimic dress, hairstyle
food, drinks and all
such sensory pleasures
In K. V. Dominic’s work he is essentially the observer of human frailty, and the feeling and nightmarish qualities with which he imbues some of these poems are part of the poetic journey he has undertaken. The visionary quality in these poems can seem astonishing in its range. The rootedness in the local landscape is no limitation at all, as its connectedness to all humanity, runs through these poems, as we see in the poem “Ananthu and the Wretched Kite,” reminding us of the cruelty waged by human beings on other creatures that are unable to protect themselves:
When will we begin to love
kites, eagles, bats, owls
as we long for parrots, cuckoos,
skylarks and nightingales?
When will we stop the massacre
of animals, birds and fish
and learn to respect
other beings and their right to live?
Sometimes the emotion becomes simpler and calmer, the poet’s feelings for the landscape break clear of the disintegration and are articulated as love, as in the poem “Mother’s Love”:
Maternal love, love sublime
Inexplicable, unfathomable
Noblest of all emotions
Visible both on human beings
and other beings
Both on domestic animals
and wild animals
But the pain is there in love, and the darkness, the overwhelming sense of despair that pervades the poems. In the poem “A Tribute to Sakuntala Devi,” who was an Indian writer and mental calculator from Bangalore popularly known as the “human computer,” the difficult final journey into the afterlife is mapped with infinite tenderness:
            Marvel to the East and the West
her loss is literally irreplaceable
Praise to the Almighty
For His revelation through a human brain!
“Where shall I Flee from this Fretful Land” is an honest, unsentimental poem, working well on many levels and eliciting a variety of emotions in the reader:
Once fertile land for free and secular thoughts
People lived in multicultural harmony
Hindus, Muslims, Christians lived as brothers and sisters
respected each other and their religious views
Now hell of intolerance and religious fundamentalism
So where shall I flee from this fretful land?
The sharp details of the poem illustrate K. V. Dominic’s respect for humanity and the natural world.
The final poem in the collection, “Protest against Sand Mafia” has a passion that is central to the poet’s life: that of pursuing, with direct knowledge, the ills of his country:
New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar
Haven of Satyagraha strikers
Thirty-one year-old Jeessra
with her three little kids
The youngest boy only two
Tented on the footpath
Staying on a cot under plastic sheet
Neither torrid heat of summer
nor freezing cold of winter
can defeat her will power
Protest against sand mafia
looting thousands of tones
from northern beaches of Kerala
Multicultural Symphony is a book one constantly wants to return to. I believe it provides greater challenges and is more rewarding than K. V. Dominic’s previous two collections. The poetry in this collection appeals to readers who do not seek voyeuristic identification or confirmation of what they already feel, but rather enlightens the reader with its messages on a variety of social ills. To all those interested in poetry that does not compartmentalize its various elements and subjects but lets them commingle and enlighten with their thoughts and beliefs, Multicultural Symphony can be wholeheartedly recommended.

Dr. Patricia Prime, Reputed English poet, critic, short story writer and reviewer is from Auckland, New Zealand. She has published innumerable reviews in international journals and authored several books.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Illegal Aranmula Airport Project

Illegal Aranmula Airport Project
Dr. K. V. Dominic
One of the major anxieties the people of Kerala has been going through for the past three months is the illegal airport project at Aranmula. Kerala having three international airports has no necessity of a fourth one in between Kochi and Trivandrum international airports. Aranmula is 136 kilometres from Kochi and 117 from Trivandrum. KGS group, a private real estate and construction group consisting mainly of three billionaires—Kumaran, Gigy and Shanmugham, backed by Reliance Anil Dhirubai Ambani Group and a few other billionaire real estate groups managed to get sanction for the project overcoming all obstacles from various departments through unprecedented illegal foul means. To make things worse, the government of Kerala has taken 10% shares of the company to facilitate the construction at the earliest. The project needs minimum 700 acres (they are planning in future for an airport city which requires 3000 acres) which are located in Arnamula and two other neighbouring grama panchayats. Hundreds of acres of paddy fields and wet lands are to be filled with the earth razed from four neighbouring hills. Moreover it will affect the serenity, sanctity and rich heritage of the world famous Parthasarathy temple which is only 200 metres near to the site.  In protest of this looting of the State’s sustaining bosom lands by the corporate mafia, indefinite satyagraha started at Aranmula on 10th February 2014 under Aranmula Heritage Village Action Council led by the great Malayalam poet and environmentalist,  Smt. Sugathakumari and reputed social reformer, Shri. Kummanam Rajasekharan, just opposite to the site and office of KGS international airport project. People from all categories—politicians of all parties, trade unions, writers, environmentalists, nature lovers, religious leaders and laymen, sanyasis, farmers, government servants, merchants, labourers, students and pupils, ex-service men and even soldiers are flooding in teams of a hundred and more for the satyagraha every day from different taluks and panchayats of Kerala.
A brief history of the project
A timber merchant named Abraham Kalamannil bought hundreds of acres paddy fields and wet lands of Arnamula for his own Mount Sion Group’s Aeronautical College in 2004 at a very cheap price of Rs. 100 and Rs. 200 per cent. He filled those lands with earth without getting sanction from the government departments. The government lands were also encroached by him. Kerala State Karshaka Thozhilali Union (KSKTU) staged protest against this illegal filling. Later a small plane landed there for Mount Sion Aviation Club. The local people never suspected that it was going to be an airport project because they could never think of their government’s environmental department giving sanction for it. Such is the richness, beauty and diversity of nature and environment at Aranmula, besides the rich heritage of the place with the world renowned Parthasarathy temple, Pamba river, holy groves, snake boats (palliyodangal) and their race etc. The ministry of environment and forest granted the sanction for the project with twenty conditions but has found very strangely that there are no wet lands in Aranmula. The government deliberately ignored the findings and petitions of the following groups: the great environmental scientist Prof. Madhav Gadgil, Biodiversity chairman and Salim Ali Foundation member Dr. V. S. Vijayan, renowned Malayalam poet Sugathakumari, Former Justice Shri. V. R. Krishna Iyer, nine MLAs of environmental committee, 74 MLAs of Kerala Legislative Assembly, members of various parliament committees, innumerable social workers, political leaders of all various parties and above all the entire people of Arnamula. As per government records in 2012, from Abraham Kalamannil and others, KGS Group bought 268.54 acres. At present KGS Group has 362 acres of lands of which 50 acres of paddy fields and wet lands have been filled with the earth taken from the neighbouring hills. From 1st January 2013 onwards KSKTU has been protesting against the airport under a thatched shed built on the filled land.
KGS is a private business company having its headquarters at Chennai. The company under the label ‘KGS Arnamula Airport Limited’ is trying to construct a Greenfield airport on the vast lands spreading over the grama panchayats of Mullappuzhassery, Arnamula and Kidangannoor in Kozhancherry Taluk of Pathanamthitta District. The company in its environmental studies as well as application papers submitted to the government has mentioned that it needs only 500 acres of land for the project whereas in its website the figure has gone to 700. It is very clear that an international airport with a runway 2800x45 metres, car parking area for minimum 250 cars, highways, terminal for passengers, hotels, shopping mall, apron for parking planes, fire station, electricity station, drainage, drinking water source etc. can’t be provided in 700 acres. It is to be genuinely doubted that the hidden intention the KGS group is not the airport but the deal of lands and make profit of billions.
Environmental, Social and Economic Dangers of the Airport Project
Dr. V. S. Vijayan, the former chairman of the Kerala Biodiversity Board as well as the member of Salim Ali Foundation Charitable Trust made a thorough survey and study of the area meant for the airport project. After four years of survey and study he submitted the report which cautioned the huge crisis and great havoc the project can cause to the environment, economy and society. For the comfortable flight of a few people 1417 hectres of paddy fields and wet lands which yield annual income of Rs. 315-440 crores are to be sacrificed. Kerala needs 45 lakh tons of rice per year whereas it produces only 6 lakh tons. The government shall never support destruction of the existing paddy fields.
212 species of plants are found in this area of which 27 are rare species found only in the Western Ghats. 110 species are herbal plants which yield great income. 88 of these herbal species are found only in wet lands. 60 species of fishes are found in this area of which 6.6% are endangered species and 5% fast ending species. 48% species get high price in markets. 10% fishes are ornamental species. 35% of the fish species migrate to the wet lands from the Pamba river taking it as hatchery. There are 160 species of birds in these areas. 8 species are migrating birds of which 2 are endangered ones.
The vast ocean of paddy fields and wet lands spread over the villages of Mullappuzhassery, Arnamula, Kidangannoor, Mezhuveli and Elanthoor is nature’s own means of averting flood in the Pamba. This Pamba and the biodiversity on either side are the rich heritage of these villages. These vast paddy fields and wet lands which save the people from the disaster of flood during monsoon in the Pamba are the chosen lands for the airport project. In September after the heavy monsoon, parent fishes along with their fry come back from the wet fields to the Pamba. The water from the wet lands and paddy fields of Mullappuzhassery, Arnamula and Kidangannoor flows to the Pamba through the tributary Valiathod (also named Kozhithod). Since the main part of this tributary was filled with earth for the airstrip, cultivation in these paddy fields has become impossible. Thus 400 acres of fertile paddy fields have been destroyed because of this airport project. Even if these wet lands and paddy fields remain neglected and uncultivated, they act as source of water in plenty in the wells, ponds and streams in Aranmula and neighbouring villages. These wet lands preserve water as an oceanic reservoir during monsoon and pumps to the Pamba when the water level goes down in summer. These wet lands if turned to dry lands for the airport project, the heavy loss of environment and biodiversity will amount to 35.48 and 47.31 crore rupees respectively. If 400 acres of wet lands and paddy fields are filled and turned dry lands it will affect 3500 acres of wetlands ultimately and the loss would be from 314 to 419 crore rupees. If the paddy fields in the proposed airport project (1457 hectres) are made cultivable, 7085 tons of paddy could be yielded and thus can earn 21 crores per annum. Paddy cultivation needs only five months and the rest of the year can be used for fish cultivation which will yield 11. 34 crores per year. The airport construction will affect 14.17 hectres of paddy cultivation which can yield 335-440 crores per year.
Nearly 1000 houses are to be evicted for the project and it will affect 3000 people. The price of land near Arnamula temple has shot up from Rs. 5000 to 5 lakhs and 10 lakhs per cent now. An ordinary man can never think of buying any strip of land for his shelter.
 Threat to INS Garuda
 The Ministry of Defence objected to KGS’s proposal in 2010 on the ground that Greenfield Airport at Aranmula would impose severe restrictions on the availability of airspace for conduct of military flying at Naval Air Station INS Garuda at Kochi. But after a few days the same ministry granted the Group permission.
Threat to Parthasarathy Temple
The Parthasarathy temple is world renowned for its unique heritage and rituals. Palliyodams (snake boats or chundan vallam) from 52 neighbouring karas (rustic parts) on the banks of the Pamba come to the temple through the Pamba with the offerings for Lord Krishna. Valla sadya (grand feast to the rowers) for several days is another beauty. The water carnivals taking place at the temple include a boat race during the Onam season. Snake boats from 39 karas take part in it. But if Pamba’s flow is obstructed by the airport project these cultural and ritual activities will disappear totally. The temple is only 200 meters near to the airport cite and the Company has recommended in the proposal to lessen the height of temple’s flagpole by six metres. As flagpole is not just a pole for the flag but the spine and spirit of the temple, the devotees will never allow it to be cut short.
Airport Company’s violations of government rules
The Airport Company of Aranmula has violated the following laws of the central and state governments:
1.     Environmental protection law
2.     Kerala land reform law
3.     Kerala land conservancy law
4.     Kerala land conservation of paddy land and wet land law
5.     Indian penal code
6.     Irrigation law
7.     Anti-corruption law
8.     Kerala land utilization order
But the Company could get clearance from all the departments through foul means. On 2 April 2013, The National Green Tribunal granted an interim stay on the project banning any construction at the site. It also stayed the Kerala Government's order to convert the 500 acres of land for industrial purpose until further orders. But the airport project was given environmental clearance by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi on 19 November 2013.

KGS Group, which is just a land and construction mafia, could manipulate the central and State governments since the governments are immersed in corruption. It is high time we examine if the people of this country should promote such corrupt politicians and administrators in the name highest democracy in the world. Our elected representatives in the State and Central governments have no prick of conscience to betray us as well as our mother land to such billionaire corporates and mafias who suck our blood. Unless we are vigilant and resist such mass plunder through democratic agitation methods, the future of our nation will be bleak and this God’s own country will turn to devil’s own hell. We have been experiencing the torrid heat caused by the irreparable loss to the Western Ghats. Another instance of plunder by land, forest, quarry mafias supported by the government officials. If we allow these vast paddy fields and wet lands to disappear, Kerala will turn to a desert. God has created this earth not for a few rich human beings but for all human race and other non-human beings. It is our duty to see that this planet is a home for all creatures, and fighting for their right is nothing but a divine duty. Let’s strive for it.

Monday, 14 April 2014



Dr. K. V. Dominic

International Women’s Day,
Celebrations all over the world,
Meetings held,
Programmes chalked out,
Promises showered,
Fund allotted,
Celebrities honoured,
All echoes of previous years.
Problems remain the same!
Birth to death,
sexism omnipresent.
Her very birth ill omen:
only an accident.
No guilt in foeticide;
Foeticide is matricide;
No life without mother.
Sexism in childhood;
Priority to her brother,
Her food, his leftover.
Chained in kitchen,
she rarely goes out.
No toys, no plays,
always envies him.
Mum and dad love him;
She gets only reproaches;
Beat her very often.
Seldom educated;
Hence no employment
and always dependant.
No choice of her partner;
Her individuality
never honoured.
Born to be dictated;
Tyranny everywhere:
Slave to her husband,
servant to her in-laws.
Bears the burden of birth;
Lives for her children.
Dawn to dusk,
blood turns sweat.
Her love never returned.
Has no place in politics:
councils, assemblies, parliaments,
she has no voice.
Religions also dishonour her:
she has no right
to enter her Father’s abode;
no place in clergy.
She is always the Other.
Patriarchy is his product;
He dictates the world,
dictates even God
and corrupts the religion.
He writes the scriptures,
makes sexism predestinate.
Venerable is woman,
for she is your mother,
she is your sister,
she is your wife,
she is your guide,
she is your teacher,
she is your nurse,
and above all,
she is your angel.


An Airport Made of Tears*
Dr. K. V. Dominic

Proposed Aranmula International Airport
A dream project of private construction group
Intends to construct airport city in 3000 acres
Eighty percent land paddy fields and wet lands
Rice and fish can earn four hundred crores per year
Runway being constructed over tributary of Pamba
Will lead to flood in river during monsoon
Razing of four hills for filling wet lands
Leading to water shortage and loss of biodiversity
Will affect serenity and sanctity of Parthasarathy temple
Three thousand poor families to be evicted
But they are not willing to leave
their sustaining lands, jobs and houses

Fake development policy of the State
Dancing to tunes of billionaire corporate
An airport totally unnecessary
Two international airports on either side
Two hours drive will take you there
Selfish discontent inhumane millionaires
Insist on flying from the poor’s chest
Got sanction from Sate through foul means
Already filled hundreds of acres of paddy fields
Destroyed hundreds of species of fish, snakes,
amphibians, valuable plants and micro-organisms
Fled thousands of birds both air and water

Aranmula people are on indefinite satyagraha
Protest against merciless State and corporate
Young and old they clamour in unison
“We will never leave our houses and lands
Where will we go and how will we live?
We can’t leave our rich heritage village,
our Parthasarathy temple and holy groves
Let their armed force shoot us all
and construct airport over our corpses.”
Their elected government has betrayed them
The government pleads for the corporate
Ignores the pleas of opposition parties
Pooh-poohs warnings of environmentalists
Innocent villagers lulled by music of birds and hymns
Waken up again by heavenly symphony
And eased by gentle strokes of breeze in day time
are destined to bear day and night
piercing drones of planes one after other

Beware, Maoists are never born
They are made where injustice rules

*Arnamula is a Hindu heritage village in southern part of Kerala. The place is internationally known for Parthasarathy Temple, Holy Snake Boats and boat race, Aranmula Mirror and holy river Pamba. The poem was composed on 28 February 2014.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Report of the National Level Two day Literary Festival of GIEWEC in Collaboration with Department of English, School of Humanities, Pondicherry University on 20th and 21st March 2014 Dr. K. V. Dominic

Guild of Indian English Writers, Editors and Critics (GIEWEC) in collaboration with Department of English, School of Humanities, Pondicherry University conducted a two day national level literary festival at Pondicherry University on 20th and 21st March 2014. The topic for the festival was "Indian Literatures in English: New Directions, Newer Possibilities."

In the inaugural session at 10 am on 20th March Dr. S. Murali, Professor and Head of the Department of English, Pondicherry University was the president. Shri Jayanta Mahapatra and Shri Ashokamitran were the distinguished chief guests. Dr. Clement Lourdes, Associate Professor of English, Pondicherry University welcomed the guests and audience. Jayanta Mahapatra inaugurated the festival by lighting the lamp. He delivered a memorable speech on English poetry associating with his own experience in India and abroad.  Dr. S. Murali and Shri Ashokamitran spoke excellently on new directions and newer possibilities of Indian Literatures in English. Prof. T. V. Reddy, president of GIEWEC and Dr. K. V. Dominic, Secretary-cum-organizer of the festival delivered felicitation speeches. GIEWEC and Department of English then collectively honoured Jayanta Mahapatra and Ashokamitran with LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS. It was followed by GIEWEC’s LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS presented to Prof. Murali Sivaramakrishnan and Sudarshan Kcherry (Authorspress Publisher). In the book launching ceremony that followed more than two dozen new books and journals of the participants were launched. The authors include Prof. Murali Sivaramakrishnan, Prof. T. V. Reddy, Dr. K. V. Dominic, Dr. Jaydeep Sarangi, Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee, Dr. Ketaki Datta, Dr. S. Kumaran, Fr. Varghese Paul, Profs. Gopichand and Nagasuseela, Dr. Vinita Agarwal etc. Dr. K. Reshmi, Assistant Professor of English, Pondicherry University delivered vote of thanks at the end of the session.

In the plenary session that followed Dr. S. Murali chaired. The participants included Jayanta Mahapatra, Ashokamitran, Dr. K. V. Dominic and Dr. Jaydeep Sarangi, Vice President of GIEWEC. All except Dr. K. V. Dominic spoke on “Indian Literatures in English: New Directions, Newer Possibilities.” Dr. K. V. Dominic spoke on the topic “Indian Feminism in Sarojini Sahoo’s Sensible Sensualities.”

After lunch parallel sessions of paper presentations started. There were more than 80 paper presentations on poetry, fiction, plays and non-fiction in Indian Literatures in English which continued to the second day. There were nine sessions in three venues chaired by Dr. Clement Lourdes (Dept. of English, PU), Dr. H. Kalpana (Dept. of English, PU), Dr. Ujjwal Jana (Dept. of English, PU), Dr. Lakhimai Mili (Dept. of English, PU), Dr. K. Reshmi (Dept. of English, PU), Dr. Jaydeep Sarangi (GIEWEC), Dr. Ratan Bhattachrjee (GIEWEC), Dr. Ayyappa Raja (GIEWEC) and Sibasis Jana (GIEWEC). Besides there were two poetry reading sessions where 24 poets of the country including Jayanta Mahapatra read their innumerable poems. Prof. T. V. Reddy (GIEWEC), and Dr. K. V. Dominic (GIEWEC) chaired those sessions. Ashokamitran mesmerized the audience with a very touching short story. There was a panel discussion on the second day on the topic "Why I write . . . What I write . . . Well, who are my readers." The participants included Jayanta Mahapatra, Ashokamitran, Prof. Murali Sivaramakrishnan, Prof. T. V. Reddy, Aju Mukhopadhyay, Dr. K. V. Dominic and Sudarshan Kcherry. Prof. Murali Sivaramakrishnan was the moderator.

In the election to the Executive Committee of GIEWEC at 6.30 pm on 20th, the following members were elected/re-elected:
Fr. Varghese Paul was the Returning Officer.

Overall, the festival was a grand success. The credit goes to the organizers. Dr. S. Murali, the HoD of English as well as the chief organizer took the initiative several months before and got GIEWEC’s proposal sanctioned by the Vice Chancellor, Registrar and Finance Officer. He worked really hard for several days and nights and could very well coordinate his colleagues, research scholars and PG students for the great outcome. He was greatly assisted by his faculty members, particularly Dr. Clement Lourdes, Dr. K. Reshmi, Dr. Lakhimai Mili and Dr. Ujjwal Jana. Dr. K. V. Dominic in his speech during the valedictory function at 3.30 p.m. on 21st expressed GIEWEC’s deep gratitude to Pondicherry University--the Vice Chancellor, the Registrar, the Finance Officer, Dr. Murali and his faculty members as well as Research Scholars and PG students for their selfless, tremendous effort and dedication. Loyal to the sublime status of one of the best universities in India, the entire Department of English showed their mettle and the festival thus became unique and exemplary. The greatest attraction of the festival was the presence of two literary legends—Jayanta Mahapatra and Ashokamitran who deserve Nobel Prize for literature. The participants could talk to them freely, share ideas on literature and have photographs with them. A million thanks to Dr. S. Murali for bringing them to the festival. Jayanta Mahapatra was there as resident poet from 15th to 23rd of March. Certificates were distributed to the participants during the valedictory function. The festival ended with national anthem.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Ms. Rincy Mol Sebastian's Article on K. V. Dominic's Poetry

Ecological Issues Reflected in the Selected Poems of
K. V. Dominic
Rincy Mol Sebastian

          Environmental studies or eco-criticism have stepped up new areas of multidisciplinary inquest and is the soul of recent trends in literary studies. The environmental issues seem to go hand in hand with literature. Literary studies, especially poems have a new attention in contemporary discussion of environmental issues.
            Environmental disturbances hang over our heads to remind us of the ecological disaster. Concern for the environmental future is moved to mainstream consciousness through the issues of global warming, deforestation, nuclear issues, pollution, ozone depletion, toxins, waste, exploitation of natural resources, etc. And these problems primarily appear as scientific problems and involve only climatologists, glaciologists rather than poets or critics. But the environmental and ecological studies have opened up in literary scenario. “While literature can reduce nature to a specific ideological or humanistic agenda, it can also represent an alternative kind of human nature relationship facilitating green consciousness and place bonding” (Speek 162).
            Dr. K. V. Dominic is always fascinated by the work of nature. His poems spread the environmental consciousness regarding the relationship between God, Man and Nature. P. C. K. Prem, reputed poet, novelist and critic, estimates Dominic’s poetry thus: “The poet avers that his areas of concern are man, nature and God and truthfully this encompasses life in entirety with no derivations” (109).
            Some of his poetic works have a special space to address the major environmental problems. He uses poems as a powerful weapon to spread the message about the environmental threat caused by man to nature. The poet reminds his childhood days when there were rains for six months and all the rivers were live and vibrant with water throughout the year. To quote from Dr. Dominic’s paper presented at SAARC Literary festival at Agra: “In summer almost all rivers are dry with little flow of water.  Greedy land mafia appropriate government forests with the help of politicians and corrupt bureaucrats and deforest thousands of acres. Similarly, sand mafia mine sands of the rivers, digging them to die” (Dominic, “Kerala: God’s Own Country”).
            The present study aims to explore the selected poems from K. V Dominic’s two poetic collections, Winged Reason (2010) and Write Son, Write (2011), which exhibits the major environmental issues.
            Prof. Dominic’s first poem “Write My Son, Write” is a message to the entire humanity. Human beings have superior thought of being the finest creation of God and they have the right to destroy animals and nature for their existence. The poet says that God loves all creatures and things in this world and man has no right to exploit both animals and nature. The poet expresses philosophical views in the last part of the poem:
                                    Enough, my son,
                                    nothing more
                                    to tell your species.
                                    If they heed
                                    they will be saved;
                                    other beings
                                    will be saved;
                                    plants will be saved
                                    and the universe
                                    as such will be saved.  
                                                               (Write Son, Write 37)
            The endless agony of God towards man, who is created by God in His own image, is best explained in the poem “I am Just a Mango Tree.” The tree stands like a ‘Himalayan Umbrella’ to give shelter for the students who are ‘Waiting for the buses.’ The tree is very proud of itself because it is the source of fruit, bed and shelter for all creatures. But all the happiness of the tree is thwarted, when it overhears conversation between a boy and a girl:
                        “Darling, where shall we wait
                         when they cut this tree?
                        “Dear, why should they cut this tree,
                         a cool shelter to countless?”
                        “They plan to build a waiting shed here.”
                                                                        (Winged Reason 41)
The tree can’t believe the words of the children so that she asks to God, her creator:
God, what do I hear? Is it true?”
‘True, my daughter, I am helpless.’
Can’t they spare me and
build it somewhere else?
Don’t I do them good as to all?
Don’t I have feeling and pains
though I endure in silence?
Haven’t I the right to live?
                                                                       (Winged Reason 41)
The heart stricken words of the tree have really opened up the cruel face of human being. She is also the creation of God, she also has feelings and she asks a painful question: “God, why is your man so selfish and cruel?”                                                                         (Winged Reason 41)
            God is totally helpless because he has created man in his own image. He hadn’t thought of this type of a creation in this world. Human beings are creating an endless agony upon their Creator, Father. The poet here generalizes the agony of God to the agony of all fathers. But how can a father kill his sons?
          The poet, like a true environmentalist feels that the nature moans only because of the brutal hands of man. Man’s cruel consumption of nature will lead to his own destiny and this is clearly expressed in the poem “Nature Weeps.” Man ill-treated mango tree, paddy fields, flowers and everything around him. Tigers started searching food in villages because “the people killed their preys” (Write Son, Write 71). Even the sun is angry towards man because of the act of cutting trees.
     The poet is very keen on expressing minute aspects of man’s cruelty towards all creatures. The sky is covered with the fumes of plastic so that the sound of the cuckoo is changed. The poet could identify the minute change in the sound of the cuckoo because cuckoo is singing for the poet himself. Now cuckoo is not waking him up in the morning because he has no trees to sit on (Write Son, Write 73). The poet brings out the consequences of man’s deeds towards snakes and the improper waste management:
                        Snakes appear on
roads and lanes:
their havens are furnaces

Mice and rats multiply
and trouble human beings:
man litters food around
                                         (Write Son, Write 73)         
The poet reminds us of a major problem that is the scarcity of water, which lays the foundation of our life and “going to be more precious; than gold and diamond” (Write Son, Write 91).  “Water, Water, Everywhere . . . , a poem composed on the World Water Day is a very big question focusing towards our near future. Destruction of natural resources, increasing construction, urbanization, etc. is all the pivotal causes for the scarcity of water. Absence of rains will wipe out number of lives. The poet expresses his anguishes:
Lifespan dropped to thirty-five;
thirty five looked eighty-five.
Dehydration caused wrinkles;                                     
smooth skin turned
sore and scaly;
lovely long haired women
appeared shaved-headed ghosts.
                                                            (Write Son, Write 91-92)
Water is the panacea of our life, but we get only mineral oil packed in disposable bottles, that also is hazardous for the nature: “heaps of garbage everywhere” (Write Son, Write 92). Flowing water will become a ration and many people will suffer from kidney failure. Extreme climate change and water scarcity will be a vital source to produce a wave of next world war.  The poet writes:
                        Water stolen
                        at gun point;
                        armed forces guarded
                        water reservoirs of nations.
                                                                        (Write Son, Write 92)
Scarcity of water will leads to anxiety, depression, displeasure, aggression and aversion. The climate change will bring out the danger by restricting our access to the basic needs of our life. The future is very critical in the sense that: “Sea level rose every day; / low lands disappeared / one after another (Write Son, Write 92).
            Enormous and unlawful consumption and treatment of natural resources of man has become the real problem behind all natural calamities and scarcity of natural resources. The poet foresees the tragic situation through the poem “God is Helpless,” Even God, the sole creator of the world is helpless when man prays for his mercy to have rain and save their land. The poet gives a clear answer to the doings of man in this poem. God, the merciful Almighty asks many unanswerable questions to the mankind and the poet experiences the helplessness of God.
                        “I am helpless,
                        my beloved children.
                        I did supply
                        whatever you needed;
                        The same I gave
                        to all non-human beings;
                        I created the earth,
                        an oasis for men,
                        animals and plants;”
                                                (Write Son, Write 63)
We, human beings have put an axe on our own branches. We are responsible for cutting all the trees, emitting toxic gases to impure the sky and dig our own grave. Plant and animals can’t live because of the atrocities caused by man towards them. The poet writes:                                   
                        All complain of;
                        your cruelty and torture;
                        they have no food;
                        they have no water;
                        they have no shelter;
                        and not even air
                                                                        (Write Son, Write 64)              
All creatures are pleading to God to call man back otherwise they could not live in this earth. God is totally helpless and it is we who are answerable to all questions. “. . . only if man learns to live in harmony with nature and His creations, he has the possibility of survival; if his exploitation of humanity and nature continues, nothing can save him” (Chambial 178).
            A number of movements came into existence to protest against the environmental hazards. Writing poems is a promising mission to make some changes in the minds of the readers. So environmental crisis can be always kept alive through poems and it can be used as a vehicle for social change. Here the poet’s purpose is to convey the inner and outer connection between nature and humanity. The survival of nature and humanity are interdependent. The life of nature enables the life of human beings. Only true lovers of nature like K. V. Dominic can see the reckless exploitation of nature by man. He has opened our eyes to the environmental issues through his poems such as “I am just a Mango Tree,” “Nature Weeps,” “Water, Water Everywhere . . .” and “God is Helpless.” These poems equally manifest pedagogy of environmental alertness. The poet reminds us of our responsibilities towards nature and environment.
Works Cited
Chambial, D. C. “K. V. Dominic--A Humanitarian in Conception and Socio Consciousness: An Analytical Study of Write Son, Write. International Journal of Multicultural Literature 2.2 (July 2012): 177-182. Print.
Dominic, K. V.  Winged Reason. New Delhi: Authorspress, 2010. Print.
---. Write Son, Write. New Delhi: Gnosis, 2011. Print.
Dominic, Prof. Dr. K. V. “Kerala: God’s Own Country Turning to Devil’s Own Hell.”  SAARC Literary Festival at Grand Hotel, Agra on 11 Mar. 2013. Web. 11 Aug. 2013. Reading.
Prem, P. C. K. “K. V. Dominic’s Winged Reason: Poems of Man’s Earthly Life and Painful Realities.”  Labyrinth 2.2 (2011): 104-110. Print.
Speek, Tijo. “Environment in Literature: Lawrence Buell’s Eco-critical Perspective.” 160-171. Web. 16 Aug. 2013. <>.

Ms. Rincy Mol Sebastian is PhD Research Scholar at Calicut University, Kozhikode, Kerala, India.