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An Introduction reveals Kamala Das as a poet of rebellion

An Introduction reveals Kamala Das as a poet of rebellion.” –Discuss in support of your view.

An Introduction by Kamala Das

The poem An Introduction is distinctly personal. Kamala Das is found to have used the term ‘introduction’ as the title of her poem in this specific sense. In fact, the poem is introducing the poetess herself. Srimati Das makes a presentation of her own self poetically, covering different aspects in her life. It is quite interesting to note how she has made the use of her lyrical poem, An Introduction, to exhibit her own life and mind as also her attitude and approach to the prevalent pattern of living.

The poem, An Introduction makes a formal introduction of the poetess through her own expression. She admits her indifference to politics, but acquaintance with the name of big politicians, like Jawaharlal Nehru.

She also speaks her nationality, of her birthplace, of her knowledge of three languages and particular fascination for English. She also points out how she has an intimacy with English despite the fact that it is not her mother-tongue. She also asserts that she does not accept or compromise with any objection to her love for and use of English.

All such details form definitely a relevant introduction to her own self –rather her life and career.

She also makes a reference to her marriage with a young man, unknown to her. As she grew up with a developed body, the said husband was imposed on her. He did not treat her ill, but forced her to bear his children. This forms, too, a part of her life-story, introduced by the poetess.

But more interesting is the presentation in the poetess’ introduction her on mind, sharply opposed to conventional customs and systems. She prefers to use a language that may be termed as half-English and half-Indian. To her, such a language forms the breath of her life and manifested her natural feeling and craving. In fact, the poetess here affirms her extraordinary character. This may well be taken as an introduction to her unconventional, rather rebellious attitude.

This rebellious aspect of her attitude or approach is made clearer and categorical in her presentation of her mode of dressing and style, contradictory to normal womanliness. She preferred to wear shirts and trousers and cut her hair short, despite the objections from the customary society that advised her to dress in the normal womanly way.

Indeed, the major portion of the poem introduces her sharp opposition to the traditional Indian ways of living and thinking. She did not concede to the conservative opinion about the womanly function, behavior and life-style. She even had an affair of love with a man, not her husband, with whom her relationship was intimate and profound. She found her everything in him, just as he in her. They seemed to be the proper match for each other.    

Finally, the poem is sharp revelation of herself complete, rather self-satisfied mind. She seems to care for no external opinion or judgment. She rather asserts herself as her own judge and instructor. She determines all by herself, by her own joys and sorrows, by her own pattern of eating, drinking or staying in a place. She is, as she calls herself, her own. This is a true introduction of her very approach to her life and living.

Thus, the poem, An Introduction is really an introducing account of the poetess’ rebellious spirit to assert her feminine individuality and right. She is quite straightforward and pointed in her contentions. What she establishes here is her rebellious zeal for the affirmation of her womanly authority and right as an individual being.


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