JYOTIRMAYA THAKUR NOV 18Literature knows no frontiers and must remain common currency among people in spite of political or international upheavals. In all circumstances, and particularly in a time of war, works of art, the patrimony of humanity at large, should be left untouched by national or political passion. Writers should at all times use what influence they have in favour of good understanding and mutual respect between nations and people; they must pledge themselves to oppose any form of suppression of freedom of expression in the community and country to which they belong, as well as throughout the world wherever this is possible. The necessary advance of the world towards a more highly organized political and economic order renders a free criticism of governments, administrations and institutions imperative. And since freedom implies voluntary restraint, writers should pledge themselves to oppose such evils of a free press as mendacious publication, deliberate falsehood and distortion of facts for political and personal ends.

The human person is the only being on earth that seeks truth in knowledge. Truth-seeking then is our essence or nature as human. Only the truth satisfies and fulfils our nature; every person has sole responsibility for, and answers to, his being. Only the truth underwrites humanity’s destiny. What we call “reality” is only our human reality. We have no ready access to the consciousness of other beings in the world. All our knowing then in the sciences and humanities is a quest for truth in our experience of the world. The quest for meaning in one’s own experience is the personal aspect of the quest for the truth of things in nature and in human affairs. But what meaning dwells in our experience is only its interpretation as its truth. One’s meaning isn’t always truth: e.g even in science, a theory has a certain life-span. Thus, what we call the “universal plane” isn’t the realm of eternal verities, but rather, the site of everlasting quest. Where there are no questions, the quest ceases.

KEYWORDS: Truth, Reality, Marginalised, Creativity , Religion, Cultural Appropriation

Poetry is a calling that becomes an art, a masterpiece that takes shape once you visualize it. Each poem that you write or read changes once you have taken it in and mutates, surfacing when you need it most, like a genius. Poetry evolves in dreamscapes, crossing borders of time of waking in sleep and or vice versa into each other’s territories. A new reality emerges, an insight or epiphany and reveals itself, glowing in the dark merging with light as one. Thoughts, emotions, feelings and images take the form of words. Poems are prayers -a medium of communication of the heart and soul with the outside world. The expression of pure feelings and thoughts revealed with absolute trust, dedication, understanding and hope of a singular intent. The internal and external experiences gather into an organic whole transformed into a language of signs, symbols and words that form energy fields of intense feelings. Poetry is a way of transforming, elevating and distilling a deeply felt experience in a creative, meaningful way. It is the beginning of a lifelong state of being open to the power of poetry allowing to be transported to an elevated world of nurturing and therapy. Poet is a marginalized Individual with a path clear or so it seems with his /her infinite calling destined with a purpose and a stubborn hope to be taken seriously.


I grew up in the Indian Subcontinent in a traditional, conventional and protective environment with a religious background. When I started on my lonely voyage after convent schooling into college, I was confronted by a forest of ideas ,cultures ,beliefs ,dialects , languages, identities, philosophies, faiths ,love- hatred , fanatics, ambitions each longing to suppress each other and striving to outdo each other which made me delve inside my own heart and soul for a light revelation . This stretching out for solace in my solitude, In meditation and introspection carried me to the light of my own being. As a writer and poet I in my sojourn of the soul became free from the fetters of caste and creed breaking all overwhelming borders and barriers that blocked the flight of my free thoughts and spirit .Creativity is a burden to be released and express freely within the restraints of the rules of society imposed on human beings , specially a woman. In the end society pays the cost when people like poets , mostly women poets encounter barriers to achieving their potential due to being marginalized culturally and intellectually.

I really appreciate when readers deeply connect with the fact that writing and self-publishing make a whole load of rigour. Certainly the odds were all there to slow me, a hectic household, as a mother of two adult children and grandmother to five, it was difficult to find time and space to compile my collection! However, I pushed, I did so because I felt it was my goal with my poetry books was to help others, especially those with trials in life, to appreciate the ordinary, the everyday – family, friends, faith ,humour, Nature , virtues all those things that help me to overcome struggles, most things that are all around us, for free! I wanted to rise above the many stresses I had to deal with and give my family something positive to lift their spirits following dismal and difficult years. I wanted to encourage my grandchildren to tap into creativity and included several poems about time spent with them exploring and enjoying Nature and simple fun. I felt it was part of a new journey for me, a path where I would be both challenged and channelled.

Writing has always been my passion; even if it did take a slap from people looking at my dreams from the outside to make me realize it. I am not ashamed to tell you that, as writers and poets, we are among the fortunate few who are actually doing something we love. Yes, there are struggles, both financial and personal. But we have the ability and talent to shape words into tangible expressions that can inspire, educate, and entertain. There is a real fulfilment and joy in that.

Writing a poem should not be a hobby. Should not be a way to spend their leisure time playing with words and feelings. It is essentially a cultivation of knowledge and wisdom to fulfil the ultimate universal truth in the poet’s individual personality, but not in seclusion rather in the inclusion with the society as a whole. So a poet can never live alone or remain indifferent to his time. A poet must work on to build up a human network of compassion. So the religion of poet is essentially the religion of compassion.

The irresistible force in us to stir an aura of hope and grace in ourselves’ is powerful and helps to counteract strife and sadness-divine love that immediately you connects with others, which I think is a gift. I feel this force that stirs us to give gifts is wonderful and the gifts are reciprocal. I decided that the first poetry collection would be on reality with a rhythm conveying messages of hope. The next book was on love and romance in various hues and shades. The reflections on Nature was inspired by a stretch of quiet runaway on green patches or parks where some of my grandchildren and I enjoyed the calming, hand-on the influence of Nature as we walked to and from their house. In difficult times it gave them a positive focus and sparked a big interest in the wonders of Nature.

All my poems are one sound deep from within the abyss, from the universal space like a cosmic dance, a lyrical outbreak from the womb of the Earth and the breath of the void. It is a divine gift of precious creative act from myself to the Universe in free transcendent state of being. The micro becomes the macro as all my poems are connected, just like atoms. Everything under the Sun or night inspires me, the list is endless, my love is timeless and I always feel like a part of the eternity and so are my poems of a moment, eternal. But once I have finished, just like a child grows up the poem stands on its own to survive without my interference, it breathes on its own and my job is over so I am detached but still attached as it’s creator. As a poet one should be good enough to light up new paths to go forward into the unknown. One should discover new horizons for literature. A poet is actually like a lighthouse stands firm on his truth and wisdom. If we consider all the great poets of the world, who are really ageless, who have moved so many people around the world, who have created new horizons of world literature, we would realize this truth.


The definition of marginalization is the process of making a group or class of people less important or relegated to a secondary position. The poets are also treated as insignificant or peripheral in both major frameworks; societal and spatial. Although this is predominantly a social phenomenon by which their needs or desires are ignored like women have been in certain society even now. Confronting marginalization, the poets, especially the women poets raise their voice through their poems or argue that they possess equal rights and must be respected. This prejudice generally affects the proper growth and development of the poets at large. In economic terms also as many talented poets cannot afford to self-publish and thus good literature faces paucity due to poverty. The tendency to include poets as women as a special type of human being, alongside other professional humankind who get to be regular people in the mainstream of society. This cultural appropriation has pushed the poets to ponder and make a collective effort to be heard by organising conferences, seminars and workshops. Due to the Websites and blogs which publish freely many poets are able to raise their voice for this special cause of acceptance in the mainstream of society and spatial phenomenon.

In my book ‘Feminine Portraits ” I have very sensitively brought out the obstacles a woman faces in her family but also at work and society at large. Alongside I have also defined the creativity and the invincible spirit of a woman like this Earth which enables them to unravel the unsurpassable strength dwelling within them. Emancipation of women in the righteous way is the need of the hour because over the years status of woman has seen a steep decline. Scrolling through the pages of history we see that women were treated with fairness during the Rig Vedic period. They were allowed to receive education, choose their spouses, contribute their views towards the smooth functioning of the society. Steadily with the emergence of advancement in the world, gender discrimination crept in. Half the humanity was given a back seat. Her contributions to the society at large were neglected. Despite facing a lot of injustice and discouragement in my own personal life, not only in the society, workplace but also from my own close relatives, I took up a herculean task to comprehend and write down the hurdles that the opposite gender encounters in day-to-day life.

As I mentioned before creativity becomes a burden woman carry. They have to find ways and means of expressing themselves. They have to face the total extinction of their creativity as if it was solely a male prerogative. Many women have to curb their creative urge and devote themselves to household duties. They are not regarded as “autonomous beings, but defined as relative to men. Role of women in procreation is underplayed and their strength is described as domestic. This rigidity of roles is fixed in a manifestation of patriarchal values. When women question power they also question the very idea of an absolute superiority. Culture and fundamentalism rooted in the external world seek to construct femininity; virtue and morality circumscribe women’s social role, prescribe dress ethical code and control their body. To dethrone this control while keeping their femininity intact is a huge challenge before the women of today. The expressive self of women is visible and a formidable voice. Feminism therefore is a position which requires a reconstruction of what we consider values. The poems I write express no fixed notion of morality, neither of right and wrong, good and evil, but values which value emotions, relationships, which are unbiased and are rooted in a sense of respect for self as well as for others. Feminist writers have been at work in various ways in small measures, and in large measures. Their efforts aim at a hope to create harmony, not confrontation. It is time for both genders to harmonize their ways of living and thinking, so that they will never be strangers to one another again so that from a relationship there partakes of all their identities a truly cosmopolitan world and a genuinely universal literature can arise.

What is the religion of the poet? It is the realization of the unity of his being with all existence. Where the eternity touches the infinite through the poet’s mind and vision, collaborating with the words and phrases of the present. So a poet must live with his surroundings in such a manner that he can relate himself with his time and space. He can feel both the joy and pain of his fellow beings. He can apprehend the problems of the individuals in the context of the social constructions and political constraints. Only then a poet can air the voice of his time and legacy.


“When I write, I’m not a woman, I’m not a Moroccan, I’m not a Muslim, I am whatever I want.… It’s important that a Moroccan can write about a Chinese woman … because in the end we are all human beings. Melancholy has no nationality. Despair has no nationality. Love has no nationality,” Slimani explains.

What unites many of them? Perhaps the fact that “we’re hyphenated people,” Indian-born novelist and poet Jeet Thayil says.

Ah, the hyphen — how it connects and divides. This year, it was used like a sparring tool. As in the wider literary world, JLF speakers debated how much writers should be allowed to publish stories outside of their own cultural or racial identity— negatively termed “cultural appropriation.” The majority of JLF writers asserted that authors should be able to write and publish from any perspective — and I mostly agree — but others pushed back with incisive critiques that need to be heard.

Pico Iyer’s keynote speech planted the flag on one side. “The whole point of writing is to dream your way over the garden fence and into somebody other than yourself, and by doing so to see how much the other is inside yourself,” he says. Banning cultural appropriation as a literary tool, he reckons, would mean giving up on trying to understand those who are different: “It can be a very dark form of nationalism. Suddenly Shakespeare’s no longer allowed to write in the voice of Othello, or Desdemona.”

Thayil agrees, noting that cultural appropriation is exactly “what writers do.” If you write only from within your own skin, “how soon would your material be used up?” he asks. Leila Slimani, author of the Prix Goncourt–winning novel The Perfect Nanny (Lullaby in the U.K.), is a Moroccan living in France who’s “fed up” with hearing she shouldn’t write outside her own experience.

Reading an interview of novelist Susan Abulhawa put the question in a different light. As a Palestinian, Abulhawa’s view is that she’s “been robbed of home and heritage and history and food and culture.” She says Palestinians “don’t share one mind” but are united by “this wound we all share.” “When somebody whose life has not been so profoundly affected by this wound then comes and narrates from that wound, they’re colonizing a space that they have no business being in. And that becomes renewed oppression,” she argues.

From her point of view, cultural appropriation is about power. “Writing down, writing in the voice of those whose power you have taken in one way or another,” Abulhawa says, is equal to theft.

JLF authors talked about the flip side too — about what it’s like if you’re writing from inside one of those oppressed communities outside the white, male, imperialistic Western world. Either you’re pressured to write from the gaze of the empire (exoticizing or eroticizing yourself and your story) or expected to explain yourself to the empire.

Somali writer Nadifa Mohamed describes how non-Western or non-white writers are “situated as anthropologists” of their particular experience. Nigerian author Abubakar Adam Ibrahim says that when an African wants to write on a cosmopolitan theme, publishers request stories about African villages. Lebanese-American writer Rabih Alameddine, who identifies with being San Franciscan more than anything else, says it’s frightening to have to represent the Arab world.

The British Author Janet H. Swinney talks about this cultural appropriation very strongly in her interview by Selma Carvalho published in the Joao- Roque Literary Journal:-

“I do think that there are issues around who gets to have their writing recognised. Personally, I have experienced more discrimination in my life on the grounds of class than of anything else. You leave home mute, then suddenly you’re expected to talk your way into university and then into a job. You have opportunities denied because of the way you speak. Those in power consider you to be without potential. You have no contacts, no allies, no source of advice, no money and, most importantly, no self-belief. In my case, years passed and my creative writing was shelved, while I tried to earn a living.”

“But I can tell you that identity politics hasn’t worked for me. I write about Scotland, but I’m not eligible for any award there because I wasn’t born there. I write about the North East of England, but I’m not eligible for any award there because I no longer live there, I write about India, but I’m not counted as an ‘Asian writer’ because I’m not brown. I’ve even had a piece of work rejected for a volume of writing about working-class life because the selectors thought the experience, I wrote about was ‘too much like fiction’. So that’s pretty much the whole of my life experience invalidated.”

These days, many people have multiple identities that are too complex to be sandwiched into a single-criterion category, and these are probably the people we need to be hearing from because they reflect how the world is changing, but that’s not reflected in current judging processes.

Not all are poets only a few are poets”

”We want … to plunge into the depths of the abyss, Hell or Heaven, what does it matter? into the depths of the Unknown to find something new!”
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet, critic. Flowers of Evil, “The Voyage,” (1859).


Poetry has no boundary and as the world is shrinking through Web, the universality of feelings, emotions and thoughts are merging. Poetry is a state of being which keeps digging till you reach the core to discover there is no core but an unending process of bleeding of the soul. The poet seeks the light of the living experience itself. To write then is to get real, to breathe life into language. And thus, finally, the poem isn’t its language, it is the living become word. The poem is to live and experience the past in the present and recreate a future based on moments. The poem is already a reading or interpretation of the poet’s experience, as lived or as imagined. It bears its meaningfulness reader to reader. Thus, the poem has a life of its own over the course of time. As we read, and imagine, drawing from our own experience of living, we are also read. Through our own reflection and introspection, the literary work communicates with and affirms our being or nature. This is how the poem humanizes us: enriches and deepens our nature as humans. “Every great work,” says Albert Camus, “makes the human face more admirable and richer, and this is its whole secret.”

The religion of every poet is to dive deep into the unknown abyss to find something new. One can say even like the scientists discovering new facts and truths. Obviously, poets and scientists are not alike. Their works are also quite different from each other, but is it not true; that both are trying to find out some truths out of the unknown? Whereas scientists are finding facts about physical life, poets try to find out the truth of spiritual life. This I think should be the ultimate goal of a poet, to find out the ultimate truth of our lives, to realize the true relation of the individual with the universe, to discover the soul of the eternal self, to find out the inherent tune of human traditions which drives the civilization.

Poetry is pure magic, it is a charismatic mirror in which you face the known and the unknown, the pleasant and the unpleasant, loved and hated, cherished and dreaded moments. A mirror that stares back at you with honesty if you dare to discover and bare your layered experiences. You will see people and places you love down the memory lane in innocence. The unforgettable moments of realisation and humiliation, of acceptance and rejection, of togetherness and isolation, of adventure and travelling in tranquillity with feelings of complete surrender. The darkness of depression and anxiety to awake in communication with the innermost being of a soul of a poet which is true nirvana, a state of being where words become self-explanatory without apologies. The beginning of a long journey of self-discovery which gives a divine visage to one’s existence and elevated purpose of a writer’s life. It is the magic of poetry which every poet wants to live with, to explore and to put an individual signature of brilliance into it.

Books For Reference purposes.

1.Galeano, The Book of Embraces, tr. Cedric Belfrage with Mark Schafer (W.W.Norton, 1992): 18.

2.From Richard Poirier’s interview of Robert Frost in Writers at Work / The Paris Review, Second Series (Viking Press, 1963; Penguin Books, 1977): 23.

3.Camus, The Rebel: an Essay on Man in Revolt (N.Y.: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1951): 271.

4. http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Camus. Camus, “Create Dangerously,” in Resistance, Rebellion, Death, op. cit.: 269.

5. Ozy Books – Daily Dose – Should Authors Write Outside Their Cultural Identity ?- Cherilyn Parsons

6.Joao-Roque Literary Journal- Interview of British Author Janet H. Swinney by Selma Carvalho.

7. Feminine Portraits – Jyotirmaya Thakur- Message of the Poet (Poetry Collection )

Jyotirmaya Thakur-poet , writer , translator ,researcher, columnist ,editor and reviewer.


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