“K. V. Dominic Essential Readings” gathers for the first time the three most important works of poetry from this shining new light of contemporary Indian verse in English: “Winged Reason,” “Write Son, Write” and “Multicultural Symphony.” A fourth collection of 22 previously unpublished poems round out a complete look at the first 12 years of Dominic’s prolific and profound verse. Each poem includes unique Study Guide questions suitable for South Asian studies curricula.
Written in free verse, each of his poems makes the reader contemplate on intellectual, philosophical, spiritual, political, and social issues of the present world. Themes range from multiculturalism, environmental issues, social mafia, caste-ism, exploitation of women and children, poverty, and corruption to purely introspective matters. From the observation of neighborhood life to international events, and everyday forgotten tragedies of India, nothing escapes the grasp of Dominic’s keen sense of the fragility of life and morality in the modern world.
milky white grey hair of Himalaya.
Seventy kilometres long
and high ranging from
four thousand to six thousand metres
Twinkling by sun, moon and stars
Rarest beauty on earth for the heavens
Winter, winter, winter, forever and ever
Snowfall is thirty five feet
temperature minus fifty Celsius
Not a blade of grass grows
yet world’s highest battlefield!
Thousands of soldiers of India and Pakistan
fight with Nature to secure their frontiers
Billions are spent for their outposts
Siachen glacier feeding several rivers
irrationally axed and dug
inviting vagaries of harmless Nature
Avalanche lodged on seventh April
buried hundred and twenty four soldiers
and eleven civilians under eighty feet snow
Isn’t it high time the governments
stopped challenging benevolent Nature?
📝Q & A with K. V. Dominic
- What drew you towards writing poetry over other styles of writing?
Poetry appears to be more powerful in imparting messages and values than other genres. Since people are very busy struggling for their lives they have very little time for leisure or pastimes. Moreover visual and such multimedia attract them more than engaging in reading. Thus reading habit decreases and the only way to hold the readers to books is to express things in the briefest manner. And that exactly is what my poetry is doing.
- In the preface of Multicultural Symphony you say that “. . . the more one is intellectual and educated the more he is vicious and crooked. Illiterate, rural people are more innocent and graceful than educated urban people.”
- Are you referring to just the people of India?
In making such a statement, the people in my mind are no doubt, my own compatriots, the Indians. It’s a reality that the city dwellers, who are more educated and well off, are more malignant and vicious than the illiterate rural people.
- Or is this a bigoted opinion regarding a whole world of people that you do not know?
No, it is not a bigoted opinion regarding the entire people of the world. Still it is a general truth that education makes one capable of leading a comfortable and luxurious life. As to get this material affluence one will use his intelligence and education. One can achieve this only at the cost of exploitation. And very often illiterate, rural people are the preys to such ill treatment.
- You are a retired Associate Professor of English and also a poet. Does this not place you in with the vicious and crooked individuals?
Surely, I am one among the vicious and crooked individuals. I am trying my level best, to be honest, and fair to others. Still, I may not have that much of innocence, simplicity, compassion, love and grace of an illiterate rural man.
- Could you explain to readers why the Siachen glacier is the world's highest battlefield?
Siachen glacier is a region at the Indo-Pak borders, some 6000 metres above sea level. Since 1984 it is under the administration of India. Both India and Pakistan claim sovereignty over the entire Siachen region. The glacier's region is the highest battleground on Earth, where Pakistan and India have fought intermittently since April 1984. Apart from the Indian and Pakistani military presence, the glacier region is unpopulated. Pakistan lost 353 soldiers in various operations recorded between 2003 and 2010 near Siachen, including 140 Pakistani personnel killed in 2012 Gayari Sector avalanche. India has lost lives of a total of 869 Army personnel on the Siachen glacier due to climatic conditions and environmental and other factors till 2015. Both India and Pakistan continue to deploy thousands of troops in the vicinity of Siachen and attempts to demilitarise the region have been so far unsuccessful. Prior to 1984, neither country had any military forces in this area.
- The poem consists of combined events that started back in 1984 with an Indian military operation. Such as, it being a battlefield and the decades of the destruction of nature on the Himalaya mountain side.
- How did these events lead to the Siachen Tragedy?
- Could you explain to readers who do not know what the Siachen Tragedy is?
On 7 April 2012, an avalanche hit a Pakistani military base in Gayari Sector, near the Siachen Glacier region, trapping 140 soldiers and civilian contractors under deep snow. The incident occurred at an altitude of about 13,000 feet and 180 miles northeast of Skardu (capital of Baltistan). It was the worst avalanche that the Pakistani military has experienced in the area. At the time of the ice avalanche, the base was occupied by soldiers of the 6th Northern Light Infantry battalion, a unit "trained in mountain operations." Avalanches are uncommon in the area of Gayari; due to the low avalanche risk, Gayari was a bigger complex and housed many more soldiers than other bases in the Siachen region. The glacier avalanche broke off at an elevation of around 4560 meters above sea level in a distance of around 1300 m from the camp.
- Due to harsh weather conditions of the Himalayas 500 plus soldiers were killed throughout the decades.
- What made the avalanche on April 7th, 2012 that killed 129 Pakistani soldiers and 11 civilians more of a catastrophe?
Only a less number of soldiers of India and Pakistan were killed in the confrontation between the two countries. More were killed in the natural calamities like falling of avalanche. Siachen tragedy of April 7th, 2012 had the largest number of deaths. Hence it is called a major catastrophe.
Internationally acclaimed poet Prof. K. V. Dominic (Kerala, India) is the author of three major volumes of poetry about the natural world as well as social and political commentary: Winged Reason, Multicultural Symphony, and Write, Son, Write.