K. Satchidanandan’s poem ‘Stammer’ (translated from ‘Vikku’ in Malayalam) presents a different perspective of stammer that is commonly considered a speech defect. The poet not only dispels the notion that it is a handicap but also shows how stammer could be perceived in both social and cultural contexts.
Notes on ‘Stammer’ by K. Satchidanandan
- Read the following lines from the poem ‘Stammer’ and answer the questions given below.
“When a whole people stammer
Stammer becomes their mother tongue
Just as it is with us now.”
- Identify the speaker of these lines.
- What attitude of the poet is revealed here?
- What does the poet mean by ‘ Stammer’ here?
- A counselling class has been arranged at your school as part of the Health Club programmes. When asked, the counsellor shared the view that stammer is a handicap like any other deformities. What are your comments? Prepare a short paragraph focusing on the poem ‘Stammer’ you have studied. (Score: 5)
- A brief bio sketch of K Satchidanandan, the famous Indian writer is given below. Now prepare four questions based on the passage, to interview him.
K Satchidanandan is an Indian poet writing in Malayalam and English. He is known as a pioneer of modern poetry in Malayalam. He is also a critic, columnist, translator and the former secretary of the Kendra Sahitya Academy. As an intellectual upholding secular democratic views, he supports causes like environment, human rights and free software. His lectures and articles on issues concerning contemporary Indian Literature are thought-provoking. He was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001.
- Following are the questions posed to K Satchidanandan, the famous Indian poet in a recently conducted interview held at Trivandrum.
- What inspired you to write the poem ‘ Stammer’?
- Do you think that the theme of the poem is still relevant?
- Why did you use plain simple language in this poem?
Imagine yourself to be in the shoes of Satchidanandan. Suppose you were to answer these questions what will you say? Prepare the responses. (Score: 3)
“Each time we stammer
we are offering a sacrifice
to the God of meanings”
- What is stammer compared to in these lines?
- How does stammer get a spiritual status through these words?
- Why does the poet think so?
“God too must have stammered
when He created man
That is why all the words of man
carry different meanings.”
- What is the reason for different meanings in the poet’s view?
- Why do words carry different meanings in the poet’s opinion?
“That is why everything he utters
from his prayers to his commands
- Who is referred to here as “he?”
- What quality does the simile attribute to stammer in these lines?
- The use of ‘silence’, ‘sacrifice’ and ‘poetry’ make Stammer a different experience. Write a paragraph on the meaning conveyed by those terms in the poem.
- A person’s stammer is different from ‘a people’s’ stammer. How does the poet tell us about it through his poem “Stammer”? Give your opinion in a paragraph.
- To listen to K. Satchidanandan is to be reminded that there are beautiful and different perspectives. Even a term such as ‘language’ gets a wider sense in his poems. Read the poem ‘The Mad’ and compare it with ‘Stammer’, focussing on their meaning, in addition to the analysis of poetic devices.