Alienation in A.K.Ramanujan’s Poetry – Manoj Kumar Bhagat, West Bengal

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FL13RAMANUJAM_1914765gAttipat Krishnaswamy Ramanujan occupies an important place as a poet in the platform of Indo-anglian poetry .He is regarded as one of the masters of the contemporary new poets. His themes revolve around the various predicaments he faces. Alienation is felt in close aspect as another recurring feeling in the wallow of his themes and various nuances that has been examined in his poetry, the chief alienation of his Brahminical self from a secular modern society, the linguistic alienation of a Tamil born in Kannada society. He didn’t received the scope as other European and Canadian writers were achieved to expressed themselves in their own native tongue as Ramanujan himself alienated from his own native language and expressed himself in English language. so far as Indian writing in English is concerned it remains in a perpetual state of insecurity to a more than normal degree. By writing-English, a non-native person belonging to a different geography and ethos does not and cannot become a native English. However, one may wish to attain total identification with the language, and there will be always be something that will force a separation: it may be in the form of some linguistic object or just silence.

The Alienation of a person formally trained in non-literary culture in the formative phase of his educational career, and further pushed into the literary world, the total alienation including physical arising from being an expatriate and finally the universal alienation imposed by the western dualism. Nostalgia is one of the reasons of his great tradition. Upset by the profound sense of alienation in the modern world. He makes a deep search for relationship through his poetry. He notices the inalienable connection between life and art and strives for the approximation of life into art.

Ramanujan’s alienation comes in more ways. The reason is that he is a Brahmin and naturally it follows that he should be alienated from the caste-ridden society. Next he is alienated as a result of his moving to America. Naturally he makes his presence in some of his poems. In “self-portrait” Ramanujan talks about an uncertain self alien to its own viewers.

                    I resemble everyone

                    But myself, and sometimes see

                    In shop-windows,

                   Despite the well-known laws

                   Of optics

                    The portrait of a stranger,

                    Date unknown,

                    Often signed in a corner

                   By my father.

The poem reflects a self-susceptible to influence from outside and consequently alien to its own viewer. The other alienation is felt in Ramanujan’s poem ‘convention of Despair’. Here the passive self who is constantly aware of its religions and cultural roots, totally rejected the alienation.

                           I must seek and will find

                           My particular hell only in my hindu mind:

                            Must translate and turn

                            till I blister and roast

                            for certain lives to comes,

In the poem ‘love poem for a wife I’ we witnessed the self’s attempt to seek the fulfillment. In fact the alienation keeps them apart.

                             Really what keeps us apart

                            At the end of years is unshared

                            Childhood. You cannot, for instance

                             Meet my father

Here the poet wishes to crush his sense of alienation from his wife but an emotional and cultural gap exists before him and the stress does not diffuse. The poem expresses the poet’s sense of alienation from his wife and the reason that he speaks out it is there unshared childhood. Had they passed a shared childhood they would have felt sentimentally attachment to each other and would have became happier but the lack of it writhes the heart of the poet.

                                 There are two poems on the poet’s love for his wife. But what strikes us at the very first glance is the use of ‘a wife’ instead of ‘my life’—this of use of possibly hints at the slight alienation of the two as life-partner. According to some writers his geographical alienation from his native land has been responsible to a large extent for his giving unsentimental views of things. An in-depth study of the poetical works of A.K.Ramanujan establishes him as outstanding poets. He is one of the most distinguished poets who bear the best features of his rich native culture and the detached outlook resulting from his exposure to the western environment for a considerable period of time.

 Notes and Reference.

1. A.K.Ramanujan, collected poems (Delhi: oxford university press, 1995.)

2. M.K.Bhatagnar.’The poetry of A.K.Ramanujan’ (New Delhi: Atlantic publisher 2002)

3. A.N.Dwivedi ‘The poetic art of A.K.Ramanujan (Delhi: B.R.Publisher)

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