Obituary: A Critical Appreciation

Obituary is a beautiful poem by A. K. Ramanujan, a great poet in the world of Indian English literature. It is a very popular poem by him. It is the product of the poet’s memory. Here the poet remembers his father after his death. Irony plays the pivotal role in this fantastic poem.
In Obituary Ramanujan beautifully expresses the after effect of his father’s death. He tells that his father left only problems for his family behind him. The poet presents the list of those problems like dust on a table of papers, debts, daughters and a bedwetting grandson. It seems that the poet is not happy with his father’s attitude and life style.
The poet continues that his ill-tempered father left a dilapidated house for his family to live in. Then the poet presents the picture of his cremation. The remains of his father’s pyre are left for sons to pick. They have to perform the Hindu rituals. Then the poet mentions the meaninglessness of his father’s life. He achieved nothing in this world. He was helpless.
The poet ironically says that someone told him that after his father’s death only two lines were published in an inside column of a cheap Madras newspaper. The poet tries a lot to get those lines of obituary.
In short, the poet is of the view that his father’s life was meaningless. He got nothing but an obituary of two lines.


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