The video of a poem recited by Arya Dayal -a student of Thalassery Brennen College- has been going viral on social media for the past few days. The said video has however now taken a detour online, with conflicting claims on its authorship.
Initially, appreciation poured in for Arya as well as for another SFI comrade Sam Mathew who claimed to have written the poem that was even published in his college magazine.
The poem ‘Sakhavu’ (Comrade) is about a college ‘tree’ that was in love with a party worker of the Students Federation of India (SFI) in the very same campus. The poem goes on to describe how the tree longs for the comrade after his arrest by the police and subsequent martyrdom.
After the initial ‘oohs ‘n aahs’, criticism slowly started trickling in with some comparing the poem to television serials with sub-standard lines. When one group opined that the poem made no sense whatsoever, another with palpable leftist leanings argued that the poem was indeed appreciable.
So we had Kerala finance minister Thomas Isaac and Tripunithura MLA M Swaraj rooting for the poem, while Congress MLA of Trithala VT Balram pooh-poohed the same with a couple of critical comments on Facebook. The media soon pitched in with discussions galore regarding its merits and demerits.
That’s when the debate surprisingly went off on a different tangent altogether and the plagiarism controversy started.
Sam had claimed to have penned the poem which was published in the college-magazine ‘Uyarppu’ (Resurrection) when he was a student at Kottyam CMS College in 2013.
Countering his claim, Pratheeksha Sivadas -a 12th standard student from Palakkad- came up with an elaborate clarification on Facebook where she assumed ownership of the poem that was written by her while she was in Standard 8.
According to her post, Pratheeksha had sent the poem for publication in the SFI student magazine after being inspired by her elder brother who is a Left comrade.
She went on to thank Sam for ensuring publicity for her poem which had once gone unnoticed. Though some of her friends did inform her about the copyright violation, Pratheeksha chose not to view it seriously, as she is convinced that truth will prevail at the end of the day.
Pratheeksha did however add that an additional four lines that were appended to her original creation were not her own. And she was also quick to warn Balram -albeit indirectly- not to try and reap political mileage out of the whole issue.