Discuss Obituary as a fine example of Ramanujan’s insider-outsider position within the Indian culture
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The poem Obituary is written by A.K. Ramanujan who was born in a typical Brahmin family. However his mother had to undergo surgical operation (not a normal delivery) during his birth (which is not a tradition of Brahmin family).
He went to America and found a totally new culture. He married a Syrian Christian girl which made him to see his country, his culture, his religion and his beliefs from a new perspective. Coming to the poem Obituary, we find that the poet describe an incident when his father suddenly died and the burden of whole family came on his shoulders because in Brahmin culture, a woman is not allowed to work.
The poet does not seem to be happy with it. He is not sad because he misses his father but because the death of his father has brought a lot of problems for him. After seeing the American culture, in which both women and men work and share the expenses, the poet questions the Patriarchal culture of India.
He also questions the supremacy and so-called divine nature of Brahmins by narrating that his father was an ordinary man who died because of a heart attack in the market. According to him, a person who boasts about his knowledge and power could not predict his death.
Moreover he also questions the cremation of body. For him, this practice pollutes the air and the throwing of bones in water pollutes the aquatic life. Finally he is also critical of celebrating death anniversary for peace of soul because it involves a lot of cost.
Hence, the poet depicts the poet’s insider-outsider position within Indian culture. He is insider as he was born in an Indian Brahmin family. He is outsider because he spent his time in USA which is a developed nation. Moreover he married a Syrian Christian which made him to rethink about his beliefs.
Read summary of this poem.