My mother showed me the world of reading and writing: Sugathakumari
Poet Sugathakumari has always stood up for nature conservation and the welfare of helpless women and children in the society. She opened up about her childhood, literary career and perspective about the world in an interview with Mathrubhumi. Here is an excerpt from the talk with the poet.
How do you evaluate your own poetic life and perspectives?
Poetry is breathing air for me, drinking water, food, love of my mother, mercy, blessing of this earth and many other things. I cannot define it beyond this. It was my mother who taught me first letters. She showed me the world of reading and writing.
It was your mother who led you to reading and writing. Can you share your memories about parents?
My father Bodheswaran was an old Congress man. He shared the values and ideologies of freedom struggle and knowledge about world leaders and all. My mother K V Karthyayani graduated from Madras though she belongs to a village and later retired as a teacher in Thiruvananthapuram Women's College.
My mother opened the doors to world literature for me. My father was a poet and kept reciting his own poems and also other great poems including those by Kumaran Asan and Ramayanam as well. We grew up listening to it. They taught us not to give importance to religion and caste and treat all equally. There is only one truth but we call it by different names. Mother taught me to love language. It was my parents who instilled great values in me and I bow before them.
How was your childhood experiences?
My elder sister Hridayakumari was the most studious in the house. But I was a playful girl and spent time rearing cows or doing household chores. Watching my laziness, once my uncle said 'let her study till class 10 and then we can marry her off. She can go to someone's house and live cooking and rearing cows'. My mother only laughed at this. She took interest to educate us and that's why we could reach this level.
What is your prayer for the marginalized girls in the society?
Girls should be brave and self-confident. They should have the ability to defend and fight back. Her goal is not to marry someone by paying him a lot of money. She should be able to be independent and helpful for her family and the society. I would like to give the name 'Abhimanini' (proud woman) to the ladies.
Is your lines 'Nalla Makkale Petta Vayare Thanukkoo' (only the womb that delivered good offsprings would remain cool) relevant these days?
Obviously they are more relevant now. Giving birth to vicious children is harmful for the earth. That is what is happening nowadays. All resources are being used up and pandemic outbreaks occur. Climate is changing. Half of these troubles are man-made. Humans want only bar hotels and apartments. They hate agriculture. Now we are suffering the consequences of destroying nature. The next generation will have to suffer more and I am sad about it. We have destroyed the assets we received and handed over the remnants to the children. May God save them.
To Mathrubhumi readers
My parents used to give me Mathrubhumi weekly when I was a kid. I came to know about freedom struggle and Gandhiji not only from my parents but from Mathrubhumi also. I keep that relations even now. I do not write poems in any other publications. N V Krishna Warrier had told me while leaving Mathrubhumi that 'you should give whatever you write to Mathrubhumi'. NV is my teacher. From that day to this moment, I have given my writings only to Mathrubhumi.