Friday, February 26, 2010

K.G.Sankara Pillai in "Human Rights and Culture"

An English translation of a poem by Malayalam poet K. G. Sankara Pillai appears in the 39th issue of Human Rights & Culture, brought out by the Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong.

While welcoming KGS back to the pages of HR&C, the editors say: “Prof. Sankara Pillai was one of our very first contributors”.

Here is the poem:

A Preface to an Autobiography

Prof. K.G. Sankara Pillai

Where do I start?

Did history start in me, or
Did I start in history?

Who took form in whom?

Did I see the world, or
Did the world see me?

Who became the truth in whom?

How do I see?

With my memory, or
With forgetfulness

Do I make the trodden paths
Into my arteries?
Do I make the spread out land
Into my flesh?
Do I make the binding tornado
Into my breath?

With affection, or
With curses?

Do I make the hated fears
Into love?
Do I make the sown sins
Into virtue?
Do I make the proud victories
Into sacrifices?

In secret, or
In public?

Do I make the flowering trees
Into ghosts?
Do I make cracking love
Into philosophy
Do I make the whirlpools seen
Into falsehood?

In a leap, or
In a crawl,

Do I make the world behind
A forerunner?

With a bow, or
With a boot, or
With a reception,

Do I make the fallen horse
Into a victor?

With praise, or
With a curse?

Do I raise the past
Into something ugly?

K.G. Sankarapillai, is a contemporary Indian poet writing in Malayalam. He has won the National Award for Poetry in India on two occasions. More about this author may be found at

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