The Writer as Insider Outsider
Insider-outsider experiences of various poets in the field of writing as an insider as well as an outsider.
K. Satchidanandnan (Malayalam), Meena Alexander (English), Subhro Bandopadhyay (Bangla), Sharmila Seyyid (Tamil), Padma Sachdev (Dogri), Ashok Vajpeyi (Hindi), Sachin Ketkar (Marathi) and (KS to moderate) .
The panel discussion was organized by ILF Samanvay, 5th edition of the Annual IHC Indian languages festival (26th -29th nov.’15). This particular discussion took place on ‘Day 2 : 27th Nov’15’ from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m at YAMUNA amphitheatre IHC.
The topic received importance on the issue of writing as an insider and as an outsider.
K. Satchidanandnan (Malayalam)
Initiating the discussion K.Sat started by giving a brief introduction on howhe came to Delhi in 1992 and never went back. Despite the cultural shock he travelled widely which he had never done before. On this note he shared with us his famous anthology – ‘Dili Dali’ and gave us the the chance to listen to his splendid poems like – ‘Home and her’ , ‘third trees’, ‘self’, ‘stammer’ and ‘Qutub Minar’. He concluded with a reference of Tagore stating that because he had stayed abroad as well his novels reflected his perspectives as an insider and an outsider both.
Meena Alexander (English)
Other notable concepts shared on the theme were that imagination, intensity and emotions are very important to be able to craft poems as an insider and outsider both. She shared with us how she turned five on the Indian Ocean and soon after wrote the poem called ‘Indian Ocean Blues’ .
Subhro Bandopadhyay (Bangla)
He shared with us a poem which could’ve belonged to an illegal immigrant in Europe. Who was someone who left his country on a fortnight’s visa and years passed by. He shared a poem with us not taken not after but from him called ‘ Jaoquim Mondal Poetry’. We also learnt about other of his poems one of them being Romania’s prostitute – Jenica.
Fundamentalism no boundaries. Sharmila Seyyid a Muslim Sri Lankan Tamil writer was harassed and threatened for daring to question the chauvinistic male hierarchy which forces her and other women to cover up and else. But since she had no weapon she could only challenge the pen. She explained how her writings were not as that of a person who cried and wept behind closed doors but it was much beyond all of that.
She concluded by reading few of her beautiful poems like – ‘I’m composing a song’ , ‘Dildo Upanishad’ , ‘ My body’.
Even though it is important to think as an insider as well as an outsider for writing poems. We have to also push boundaries and refute the irrefutable. We must therefore write to evoke a sense of parity and fair play.