For a Rajya Sabha MP, who also happens to be the Kerala Pravasi Federation state president, American singer Solange Knowles is an odd inspiration. But then Binoy Viswam is more than your run-of-the-mill politician. "I happened to hear the song 'Don’t Touch My Hair' by Solange and was impressed by the lyrics. I plan to translate it into Malayalam" says Viswam, whose poem 'Vereyalla Naam Palarumalla Naam' was released soon after the lockdown was declared and went viral on social media.
The MP wrote the poem while in self-isolation in March. Till date, around 20 versions of the poem have been composed by different people and sent to him. The CPI politician elaborates, "One of my friends asked me to write a song on the ongoing situation. Since I was involved with other appointments, I wrote four lines and sent them to him. He then composed, sang, and sent it back."
"I loved it and completed the next 22 lines in an hour. Unfortunately, he couldn’t compose the rest due to a family emergency. So I posted my poem in the Pravasi Federation's WhatsApp group. Many liked it and I started receiving several composed versions. I even received videos along with the compositions," he added.
Though a politician getting creative with poetry may come as a surprise, it is not an exclusive case. Remember former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee? Also, not very long ago, UDF convener and MP Benny Behanan caught everyone by surprise when he penned a poem on the coronavirus. The Chalakudy MP’s debut poem garnered a lot of appreciation. Besides, Lok Sabha MP and senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also took to Twitter to post a poem on the pandemic in Hindi.
Viswam also penned a welcome song for expats returning to their homeland in May. Titled ‘Nee Varoo Sodara’, the song begins with a salutation to the expats and their contribution in building the state. He received around 16 composed versions of the song.
"The song resonated with people very well. They are taking time off from their busy schedule and coming up with new versions,” he adds. But the MP is hesitant to call himself a proficient poet. He asserts that once his 'lyrics' are completed, the poem belongs to the people. “They own it and compose it," says the MP as he looks forward to penning another gem soon. Who will be his inspiration this time around, one wonders?