THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Recollecting her past and the scars in her mind from her experiences yet to be healed, poet Sugathakumari said she has nothing but words of caution only even as she turns 84 on Monday. A life dedicated to poetry, environment, care and protection of the destitute, tortured women and children, Sugathakumari cautions the humankind to be more kind, considerate and respectful towards nature and fellow beings.
Speaking to Express, she points out even the wild animals will listen to the warning calls from a little bird, while man refuses to listen to the cautionary words of people like her who foresees the dangers awaiting to befall the humankind.
“What we have seen recently in the form of Ockhi was just the beginning,” she prophetically said. “Nature can retaliate with more force. We cannot withstand it. We are destined to be washed away like ants in the flood.”Referring to man’s cruel exploitation of the earth, she recollected T S Eliot’s ‘Hollow Men’: “This is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a whimper.”
She questions how a state which is unable to protect its soil, water, language and even its girl children, can take pride in its achievements.
Sugathakumari says she has been speaking about the importance of the environment for the past 42 years. “Since the current government assumed office, it has been doing away with the laws the previous LDF Government had brought to protect paddyfields and wetlands,” she said.“By reducing the distance limit of quarries to just 50 metres, it is causing a serious threat to the environment and lives of people. Munnar, Devikulam and the Western Ghats have been given on a platter for encroachers. The very same people remain a mute witness to the burning down of the Kurinji plants.”
“If the governments that have come to power from time to time had any respect for writers and environmentalists such as her, the demand to set up care homes for the destitute and the mentally challenged women, who have been thrown to the streets, will not have been delayed.”She said she proposed the government to set up care home in all districts in the state, 18 years ago. “Writers led by O N V Kurup had asked the government to mandate Malayalam as the medium of communication till Class 4. But the LDF Government has decided to allow English even in Anganwadis,” she said.
Referring to her literary life, she said it was not easy to be a writer. “A writer has to go through a lot of tension, angst, sleepless nights and tears because she writes for the like-minded souls,” she said.
“I have been left with only a few poems. When thousands of hands reach for my help, I can only hold a few of them. Thousands of trees in faraway places will remember me.” That is enough for this life, she says.