Express News Service
KOCHI: Poet Balachandran Chullikkad’s ‘request’ not to include his poems in the syllabi of schools and colleges have a sparked a controversy. He was quite vocal about the ‘the failings of the education system’, lack of passionate teachers and the commercialisation of education. Express spoke to other leading writers and poets to know their stand on the issue. Here is what they said:
M K Sanu, critic
I agree with the factors Chullikkad pointed out about the flaws in our education system. It is true. The question papers are designed in such a way that a student need not understand or enjoy the ‘work’ to answer the questions. While there are teachers who are not sincere to their job, I would refrain from generalisation. There are teachers who do their job to the best of their ability and with passion. When I was a teacher, teaching was easy and fun. There was a possibility of self-expression. Kafka didn’t want his works published, but his friend who loved literature published it. We should all think about the survival and progress of literature in the long run.
P P Ramachandran, poet and Kerala Sahitya Akademi award winner
The request from Chullikkad is disappointing. He is a poet who gave new face and elements to Malayalam poetry. His poems are important for students to understand an era of poetry in Malayalam. While his disillusionment with the education system and the nepotism and commercialisation of education is understandable, it is important that the language should survive despite all that. To ensure this survival, we need good works out there, accessible to students.
What Chullikkad said about the system is true. Teachers themselves aren’t motivated to teach Malayalam. While the case is bad in every field of education, in Malayalam, it is worse because now you see the trend of students opting for Malayalam degree only when they can’t get admission to any other stream. How can you expect conviction and passion from such students? Not all students are like that, but a majority of them definitely are. I know students who can’t spell basic words right in Malayalam who are doing their MEd. I think it is high time someone reacted.
Dr Deshamangalam Ramakrishnan, poet and academician
When there are a lot of poets who wish for the ‘royalty’ for including their works in the syllabus, Balachandran Chullikkad’s decision is remarkable. His decision marks his disapproval of the current system. It is true that today teachers lack poetic sincerity and sensibility. I am not saying that all are the same, but this is a reality. How can such teachers create love for poetry in students or help them even understand it. It might have pained Chullikkad to see his poems being desec-rated. This is a decision based on humanism and is a welcome move.
Vaisakhan, writer and president,Kerala Sahitya Akademi
If we are teaching poems, Chullikkad’s poems should be a part of it. His poems are not something that can be avoided. They represent an era and a shift in Malayalam poetry. However, what he said about the education system is true. Even those who have an MA in Malayalam can’t spell words correctly, which is sad.
Spellings change the meaning of a word. If we take ‘l’ out of the world ‘public’, it would mean something else entirely. How can one justify that spellings aren’t important? I want the students to first learn letters and grammar in Malayalam before they get to poetry Balachandran Chullikkad, poet