An Introduction” is Kamala Das’s most famous poem in the confessional mode. Writing to her, always served as a sort of spiritual therapy: ”If I had been a loved person, I wouldn’t have become a writer. I would have been a happy human being.”
Kamala Das begins by self-assertion: I am what I am. The poetess claims that she is not interested in politics, but claims to know the names of all in power beginning from Nehru. She seems to state that these are involuntarily ingrained in her. By challenging us that she can repeat these as easily as days of the week, or the names of months she echoes that they these politicians were caught in a repetitive cycle of time, irrespective of any individuality. They did not define time; rather time defined them.
Subsequently, she comes down to her roots. She declares that by default she is an Indian. Other considerations follow this factor. She says that she is ‘born in’ Malabar; she does not say that she belongs to Malabar. She is far from regional prejudices. She first defines herself in terms of her nationality, and second by her colour.
I am Indian, very brown, born in Malabar,
And she is very proud to exclaim that she is ‘very brown’.…