Reviews, Vol. I, Issue I
“Warscape Verses”: An Unleashing of Social, Cultural and Political Truths
According to the great English Romantic bard William Wordsworth, “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions”. Poetry has the irresistible and overwhelming power to convey notions in an unrivalled manner supplemented with stark and gritty images where its diction holds sway. Often poetry turns out to be the valorous mode for expressing gruesome contemporary realities which could make the foundations of the hegemonic forces tremble. Poet Chandramohan’s “Warscape Verses”, an anthology of short, sharp and witty poems deserves to be labelled as a humanist’s spontaneous reaction to the realities around him through a medium which he reigns supreme, poetry. “Warscape Verses” contains poems that speak a million truths about a world, torn apart by the juggernaut of Globalization and Neo-Liberalism coupled with the dominance of aristocracy where the Subalterns are relegated to the periphery. Chandramohan asks grave questions at the Sate machinery which considers capitalism as the sole panacea for all its maladies where a section of the populace still engages in the futile search to find their roots amidst the ghastly treatment meted out to them by the State in connivance with the elites. “Warscape Verses” is thus significant for its candidness along with contemporaneity and the poet remains vigilant in his representation of those who are hitherto misrepresented.
Chandramohan’s language is simple and direct and he never attempts to camouflage his strong feelings which need to be expressed at its extreme. The poem “The Rape and Murder of a Tribal Girl” is a brilliant satire on the apolitical middleclass which is controlled by the neoliberal nexus of market forces and visual media controlled by capitalists. Here, a tribal girl’s death goes unnoticed as the media have clear prejudices which always result in negligence towards the lowest strata of our casteist society. The middleclass’s hitherto unseen enthusiasm in their protest which was historic after the Delhi gang rape case and their continued silence after horrific molestations and murders of Dalit girls in other parts of the country is scorned by the poet who sides himself with the underprivileged. In the poem “Neo-Shambukas”, mythology is invoked to bring into focus the never ending saga of discrimination. Indian mythology is infamous for its partisan attitude towards the subaltern figures such as Ekalavya and Shambuka. Chandramohan quite adeptly draws parallel between the present and the yore as Dalits, and sexual minorities are yet to be recognized as part of the mainstream society. They languish at the bottom of the social ladder deprived of justice, equality and even basic amenities.
“Warscape Verses” contains poems such as “Wet Dreams of Damsels” which is a clear indicator of the poet’s unflinching stand on the issue of gender and society. A Feminist perspective is evident and in the socio-cultural milieu of India, even women need to be categorized as Subalterns when taken into consideration our society’s patriarchal value system which never treats women on par with men. The present world order, which is clearly dominated and ruled by the capitalist forces, witnesses the pathetic scenario of nature being subjugated and exploited for the proliferation of corporate enterprises. Chandramohan flays Neo-liberalism and its market driven policies which is clear act of swindling that could pave the way for the obliteration of natural resources. Poems such as “Let Them Eat Pollution”, “Fire of Global Meltdown” indicate his deep concern and anguish for the nature and mother earth. The global police, omnipotent capitalist messiah the United States is severely condemned for its atrocities that span all across the world and its global surveillance which is an intrusion into the rights of people. Chandramohan’s diction and choice of images quite magnificently creates an aura where his thoughts are conveyed to the readers with inimitable dexterity.
Marxism is a theory which has once enchanted the entire world as the ultimate saviour but lost popularity and charm as socio-political realities were much more intricate to comprehend than the Marxists had thought it to be. Poems like “Comrade: The Pentecostal Preacher”, “Are You Still Our Comrade” are sarcasm at its best as it turns out to be an indictment of Marxism. Indian Marxists failed miserably in their judgment of India’s socio-cultural nuances as class compulsions, carried over from the western theoretical doctrines clashed against India’s peculiar Caste system which added to the erosion of popular support and confidence of Indian Communist parties. Chandramohan ridicules their dogmatic rituals which deprived Indian communists of a clear understanding of Indian caste realities which proved to be a major cause for their decimation. “The umbilical cord of her brother / Twisted around her neck”, these lines send a shocking wave across the readers’ spines as the appalling reality of female infanticide is still continued unabated. The pointed finger of the poet dares the reader to look deep into his own psyche to comprehend the grim scenario we found ourselves in.
“Warscape Verses” is powerful enough to disturb the reader and bring him/her out of complacency into the stark realities of our times. Chandramohan is vociferous in his appeal to bring into focus issues which are intentionally neglected as it goes against the unholy nexus of the aristocracy and Capitalism. The poet is pithiness personified and often his style is reminiscent of the great German playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht who composed short poems which are stuffed with immense social truths and messages. Tribals, Dalits, Homosexuls continue to be the outcastes of a Democratic social setup which is sadly remains an issue unresolved. Such sections are always finding themselves at the receiving end of the neoliberal agendas which glorify the mantra of “development at any cost” a farce to the core. The poet sings their songs and invites the rest to listen to those voices and realize the ideological manipulations by the powerful sections whom the State represents. Chandramohan finds a niche well suited to him in the world of contemporary poets and his astounding quality of pronouncing the social truths loudly makes “Warscape Verses” a book to be read, dwelled upon and its themes to be disseminated.
About the Book
Title : Warscape Verses
Publisher : Authorspress ,New Delhi
Price : Rs.195/--
Reviewed by Hari Narayanan
Assistant Professor, Dept. of English, NSS College Ottapalam, Kerala