Re: Re's: Transformation/mis-representation of epic symbols in poetry -- Re: satIsh cander's pancama

Ramabhadra Dokka ()
Tue, 29 Oct 1996 12:20:17 -0500 (EST)

Chandrasekhararao Kanneganti wrote :

>> Here, Here, he defies the logic...
>> 1. The poet was ONLY partially successful in portraying the responses from
>>    the oppressed sections of the society because, the right way to change
>>    such kind of attitude is by 'NOT SHOWING THE DISABILITY AGAIN and AGAIN'
>>    esp. when in reality there is no PHYSICAL disability as such.
> As I see it, I don't think the poet is saying that something is MISSING in 
> the 'pancama ' section, but they are ROBBED / DEPRIVED of the essential 
> things like education by the upper classes. He took the symbol of Ekalavya to 
> not only show that they are capable of beating the upper class guys but also 
> to show how they were CHEATED. 

I am not questioning his point, but I am saying that he took an inappropriate 
symbol to represent this. When we really talk of transformation or represen-
tation of symbols in poetry, I feel that they should bear this coherence to 
most extent if not a 1-1 correspondence through out. See, Ekalavya himself is 
NOT talking in this poem but his great grand son (the POET himself as 
aBivyakti) and also I felt that, had the poet symbolized it as "loss of 
kingdom/crown/education/amenities/status" or something like that which is 
RECOVERABLE, that would have been appropriate. Instead, he chose this "loss 
of finger" which is NOT CLEAR since it may suggest AT LEAST SYMBOLICALLY 
that ---

1. Things like LOSS OF FINGER can never change (irrecoverable)

2. Things of this sort are HERIDITARY and THEY are inflicted upon a section 
   and also per the epic in discussion

3. There is something MISSING physically in this section of the society
   which in reality IS NOT TRUE

The point is that when an analogy is chosen, the symbolic representation 
should be applicable to what the poet is saying through out that piece at 
least, for it to be called good poetry, IMHO..

>>    As long as one keeps calling this section as 'pancamam' or some thing
>>    like that and as long as people do not stop branding a section of the
>>    society, things can never change. Unfortunately this poem falls in the
> Why doesn't he gloss it over, forget that he is a panchama and say that they 
> are equal to others? Being born in that section should have taught him 
> something which we can't understand.

May be we can't understand his REAL feelings, but I can call it a good kavita 
and call him a kavi ONLY when I am able to understand what he writes and ONLY 
when he is able to EXPRESS things in a manner that is widely understood.

> Actually, you are right. This isn't a transformation but misrepresentation. 
> In bhaaratam, that is.

I'll not drag this discussion into something like the "representation of
social symbols in BAratam and other epics" and "what vyAsa and others 
actually meant by writing them"etc., but I'd just say that vyAsa would 
not have expected that his epic would be abused, mis-used and mis-interpreted 
in future, for lack of proper understanding from the audience/readers. 

> The poet tried to show what Ekalavya really symbolizes

That is what you felt, but I felt that the poet completely missed the symbolic 
representation of the Ekalavya character itself in mahA BAratam. I fear that
this kind of distorted view may even lead to more illogical inferences like 
the epics were written by a section/so called upper class of the society for 
their own benefits..:-)

>> I rALLu visirinappuDu I poet, akkaDa vyAsuNNi nindincADO (katha alA naDipi
>> ncinanduku - intaku mundu jaya praBa lAgA), A epic nE nindicADO 
> What did he try to convey here? aanaaTi EkalavyuDi baadhaa, eenaaTi 
> ammabootulu tinE vaaLLa baadhaa, dEvuDi koDukulamani cheppukuni aadhipatyam 
> chelaayinchaalanukunE vaaLLa meeda O visuroo...

akkaDitO AgitE bAgAnE unDEdi, but When the poet was ridiculing the SastrAlu, 
epics and nighanTuvulu etc.., and when he even went on to say -- mEm dEvuLLaki 
puTTa lEdu, EkalavyuDu dEvuLLaku kaakuMDaa tallikE puTTaaDu -- He is again 
logically wrong here (Per the epic, BAratam, Bagavat-amSa valla puTTina vALLu 
kUDA 'talli'ki puTTina vALLE, talli lEkunDA puTTina vALLu kAdu...) -- I felt 
that the poet was going outrageous when he reached this stage of the poem and 
was questioning the birth-issues of several sections and I feel that he even 
portrayed the "kuntemmalanu veli vEyaDam" as a custom or something which is 
widely followed in some sections. 

These are all NOTHING but conveying his message in a rather awkward and 
unprofessional and to some extent in an irresponsible way. And when one 
thinks about the epic symbols from this mis-representation point of view, 
there is every chance that this kind of --kavitvam-- is inflicting pain on 
society and propagating distorted views of epics, esp. when the epics are 
supposed to be the symbolic representation of the culture. That is why I 
said that he is "throwing stones" at the popular beliefs and epics and 
that made me compare him to others in that category. I think that answers 
your queries, Sreenivas.

> Somehow it seems to be clear to me. 
> poet tried to show what Ekalavya really symbolizes. The play with word 
> panchama, unaccounted fifth finger and equating the Ekalavyaa's finger with 
> their deprivation makes this poem a good one, if not a great one.

Well, that is your opinion but I still feel that transformation of epic 
symbols is DEFINITELY NOT belittling them and playing with the sentiments 
of the society in a POET's efforts of giving his/her piece, a different look. 

srI Ari sItArAmayya gAru commented :

>>> Just when they find words to express their resentment we say that that
>>> is not the right to way to change...

No, I did not say that this is NOT the right way to change the society or
something like that, I just evaluated this piece for its poetic content
esp. when somebody else opined that this is a master piece and I upheld
what I thought the poet was missing in that piece. I agree with his idea
but DO NOT like his symbolic mis-representation and CAN NOT BUY the idea
that it is GREAT POETRY. sAnuBUti cUpincaDAnikI, satyam mATlADaDAnikI
tEDA lEdU... All I am saying is "anyone can put his point through, but 
one need not take the path of belittling something else for that, esp.
the culture, the epics and the revered scriptures" !!

Here, since the poet chose this loss of finger as the analogy, which I feel 
did not convey the proper meaning nor did it do any justification to the 
subject and also since he went on to CASTIGATE the epics, I categorized it 
into not-so-good ordinary poetry, contrary to the opinions expressed by the 
original poster. Not that any one cares for my judgement..:-), I just wanted 
to share my opinion too.


- Ram (Ramabhadra Dokka from