KOZHIKODE: “I need £2,000 to start the visa process alone. The total expenses I need for the year-long university programme would come to Rs 29,30,442,” says Chandramohan S, a Thiruvananthapuram-based poet writing in English, knocking on every door possible to mobilise funds to attend a master’s creative writing programme with the University of East Anglia in the UK.
The 35-year-old, belonging to a scheduled caste, is the lone Indian among 15 persons selected for admission from 115 applicants across the globe. To realise his dream, he has resorted to crowdfunding on the digital platform Milaap. So far, he has received only Rs 5,000 through that route.
“The East Anglia University conducts one of the most prestigious creative writing programmes in the UK. I have received partial fellowship now, which means I am entitled to get Rs 4,11,088. Deducting that amount, I still need Rs 29.30 lakh by July 31. Among the various expenses, tuition fee alone comes to around Rs 18 lakh,” says Chandramohan.
Residing in Thiruvananthapuram, Chandramohan has many poetry accomplishments to his credit. He is the second Malayali poet after T P Rajeevan to have attended the international writing programme as a fellow at the University of Iowa in the US three years ago.
His collection Love after Babel had won the Nicholas Guillen Outstanding book award (2020) from the Caribbean Philosophical Association. Another published collection, Letters to Namdeo Dhasal (2016), was a runner-up at the M Harish Govind Memorial Prize (2017) instituted by Poetry Chain, Thiruvananthapuram. Both collections were shortlisted for the Yuva Puraskar of the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi. Besides, a poem was shortlisted for the prestigious Srinivasa Rayaparol Poetry prize.
“I write from the perspective of a Dalit poet writing in English. I intend to bring into my poems a wealth of experience from my involvement in various civil rights struggles,” he says. The poet is striving to convert the partial East Anglia fellowship to a full one.
“If I get money by other sources, like if the UEA decides to give full scholarship, the money raised through crowdfunding will be donated to the PK Rosi Foundation, TQT (a poetry collective) and to some Dalit artists who have requested financial relief publicly,” says Chandramohan.