Chennai: Before I bid farewell to this world, I will scatter sulphur-like verses which will set the air with revolutionary fire someday” are the lines often repeated by Tamil poet Inkulab, who passed away on Thursday. The poet known for his Marxist Lenist leanings emerged with his song “Naanga manusangada' (We are human beings) as a voice of the oppressed classes soon after the Keezhvavenmani massacre of Dalits in the winter of 1968. His poems espousing the cause of liberation of nationalities and the proletariat were critically acclaimed, but he refused to accept any literary award. His poems have been compiled as a collection tilted “Ovvoru pullaai'.
“I do not write for aesthetics. My songs are beats of parai (a percussion instrument associated with the culture of oppressed castes) which call for protests”, Inkulab, often called with the title 'Makkal Pavalar' (People's poet) said in an interview. Inkulab, a retired professor, also a dramatist and activist, was seen in most of the public gatherings of Periyarists, Commuinists and Tamil nationalists, with a trademark jolna bag full of books hanging from his shoulders. Through his drama 'Avvai', prescribed as a text book for many colleges, he transformed the Sangam age poet's image from old, wise and celibate woman to young, sensuous and creative person.
Born in a Muslim family, he was named as Shakul Hameed by his parents, but he became a rationalist and renamed himself as Inkulab (revolution). He was a staunch supporter of the cause of Tamil Eelam and the banned LTTE. His songs on Mullivaikkal massacre titled 'Kurudhi Uduthi viduthalai' (Clad with blood comes freedom) was often quoted in the meetings of Eelam supporters.
He asserted “A poet should not be afraid to tell what he considers to be the truth. He should not retreat after seeing the consequences”. He practiced what he said and was one of few Tamil poets who was jailed often for attacking governments of the day.
‘Poet death a loss for oppressed people’:
Leaders who condoled the death of Tamil poet Inkulab, lauded him as a fighter for human rights and described his death as a great loss for the working classes and oppressed nationalities. Leader of Opposition M.K. Stalin said he worked along with Marxist scholar S.V. Rajadurai to translate 'Marx to Mao-Tse Tung' and raised his voice for the oppressed sections of people. PMK founder S.Ramadoss said Inkulab had created many young poets and writers. Though he was close to most of the political leaders, he did not seek any favour from any of them, Ramadoss noted. MDMK general secretary Vaiko recalled his poems for the liberation of Tamil Eelam and described him as the voice of the oppressed. The MDMK leader quoted Inkulab's verses on the Mullivaikkal massafre and recalled his participation in protests against the Sri Lankan military offensive in 2009.
CPM state secretary G.Ramakrishnan said "Inkulab, is a progressive poet, who did not give room for compromise in ideology and his works were related to the lives of the working class. CPI state secretary R. Mutharasan recalled how Inkulab faced the oppression of governments and his poem "Naanga manushangada' would always remain a weapon in the fight for equality.
VCK leader Thol. Thirumavalavan said though born in a Muslim family, Inkulab expressed himself as a rationalist. He was attracted by the Dravidian movement in the beginning and later moved to Marxist ideology, he recalled.