"An introduction" is highly anthologized poem is taken from the collection is called "Summer in Calcutta 1965" written by Kamla Das. One of our few significant poets writing in English today Kamal Das made an instant appeal with her very first collection "Summer in Calcutta 1965".
With the change in outlook and setting forth of women's liberation, many of the mordern women poets have taken recourse to frank expressions of which some stricking examples are to be found in the poetry of Kamala Das. Her frankness gives strength to her poetry. Taking her cue from the modernist movement in poetry, she belives in the sincere treatment of the material. In trying to establish intimate tone. She gives Unabashed expression to her personal themes.
Summary of the poem An Introduction
The poem "An Introduction" is written in two verse paragraph and does not follow a specific rhyme scheme. The diction of this very poem is lucid and simple. In Kamala Das's poetry it is found that prosaic flavor is an important element and this is not a conventional poetic diction.
"An Introduction" is perhaps the most famous of the poems written by Kamala Das in a self reflective and confessional tone. The poem is a strong remark on Patriarchal society prevalent today and brings to light the miseries, bondage, pain suffered by the fairer sex in such times.This is also an autobiographical poem.
The poem an introduction begins with a distaste for politics. She does not care for even politicians.
Actually she does not want to bother any hegemonic ideology of politics. She is very much disappointed with politicians. Here Kamala Das very tactfully deconstructed the names of those in power with repeating them like days of week or names of months that of the very beginning the poetess wanted to make herself free from political hegemony.
After giving her comment on politics and politicians. Next, she describes herself saying that she is an Indian born in Malabar and very brown in colour. She speaks in three languages, writes in two and dreams in one, articulating the thought that dreams have their own Universal language.
Kamala Das echoes that the medium of writing is not as significant as his comfort level that one requires. People asked her not to write in English since it is not her mother tongue. Even more criticism every time she had an encounter with a critic, friends or visiting cousins. This is happened because English was a colonial language. She emphasizes that the language she speaks becomes her own, all its imperfections and queernesses become her own. It is half - english, half - Hindi, which seems rather amusing but the point is that it is honest.
When the poet says why not leave me alone by saying this she clearly declares that she needs her own space, a very new space as an women, as a writer and as a thinker. She wants to make own identity, Own world. This is why craves liberty in language to express herself freely as language is the vehicle of expression. Thus here the politics of language is an important idea.
She also says about her association with English language with the help of images taken from nature. She says as cawing naturally comes to a crows, roaring comes naturally to a lion, english comes naturally to her. Her own Indian English poetry is her own. She says it is "the speech of the mind". This is a very authentic relationship of Kamala Das with the English language.
Then she contrasts it with the deaf and blind speech of trees in storm or of monsoon clouds or of rain or the incoherent mutterings of the blazing funeral pyre. Here she gives a number of images and they are all incoherent. The images are also taken from nature. To Kamala Das much of nature is incoherent but her language is not like that. Her language is coherent, she says,
"It is as human as I am human"
Actually it is common that who is coming through in her speech.
Deep sexuality of her life is coming through here as we know earlier that she is explicit about her sexuality. Apart from this what is very striking here is that when she asked for love, even not knowing anything else about it, her father or some Patriarchal person drew a youth of sixteen into the bedroom and close the door. So she was married to a man who was sixteen years old .
By this experience of having someone whom she did not care for, whom she could not love and whoom she even did not like and he did not love her too. He only used her body. It is true that to a Patriarchal person female body is more important than female mind.
This shrinking pitifully shows us the extend of deterioration or decline in the person Kamala Das. Then in order to avoid feeling defeated as a girl, she decided to become a boy. So she began wearing shirt and brother's trousers. She did all these in order to assault herself. She wanted to protect herself from patriarchal violence. As its reaction the picture of domestic context come up then:
So "fit in", this is the pre-fabricated structure of society. A girl or a woman must have to be fit in to this pre-fabricated structure of society. We cannot deviate from it. She has no right to do it only because she is a girl. Therefore, she must live like that. This is how men are trained in gender and women are trained intellectually, emotionally and physically.
'Categorizers' - Those who categorize. This is a formulated phrase used by Kamala Das in the poem "An Introduction". This is the way girls are stereotyped in a social system. In this system their identity has been essentialized and constructed.
In this way the body politics continue and Kamala Das represents role of gender throughout this line.
Here she has got three names. First one is Amy Powell, this a american name. Kamala Das has got this name because she Carries western culture and the first feminist writer of India. And the second one is Kamala, this is a psedo name in english. And also Madhavikutty, it is a malayalam name And her
In the last section very common thing is I .The trajectory of the poem is self -realization. Kamala Das asks each and everyone that 'who are you' and they all replied that 'it is I'. She saw that all the human being introduced themselves with the word "I".Every women and men both are replied that it is I, anywhere and everywhere the answer is I. So " I" is a common word to introduce a man or women. And the poet present to the readers the male ego of patriarchal society wheather death subdue the futility of male ego.In this world the man who is tightly packed like the sword in his sheath means the man who is tightly packed with his patriarchal ego he also said that 'it is I'.
The "I" has to be realized. Actually here individual is participating in the eternal.
In the poem Kamala Das shows that in the world there is no difference between man and women means self. There is two self one is "egotistical self" and another is "cosmological self", but in this poem kamala Das surrendered her "egoistical self" or " Finite self" By saying 'I too call myself I'.