Friday, March 1, 2013

Gopalakrishna Adiga's "Do Something, Brother"



Gopalakrishna Adiga (1918-1992), winner of the Sahitya Akademy Award, India’s highest literary honor given to a writer, is a prolific Kannada poet. “Do Something Brother,” translated into English by the famous A.K. Ramanjan, is an ironic poem where the narrator is rooting for all human beings engaged in the act of senseless destruction of nature. The repetition of the imperative, “do,” “find,” “break,” “crush” gathers in intensity as the poem moves along and reaches the penultimate moment of “do anything,” and the ultimate, “This is natural./This is the one thing needful.” The conversational tone of the narrator only makes the devastation caused by us all the more hard-hitting. This ultimate ironic play on the destruction of nature as natural points to the human being excoriated of his/her humanity. Note Adiga’s exhaustive listing of images of the natural world to show its vulnerability to our very presence on earth! 

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