August 1, 2016

A Poem by Sunil Sharma: "Cognition: Self and the Universe"

Mumbai-based, Sunil Sharma, lives in Mumbai, India, has published three collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction, one novel and co-edited six books. He is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award for 2012. He has also had poems published in the UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree. His blog is at :


Cognition: Self and the Universe

The world around looks formidable to a child

Gargantuan, wide canvas, scary and dark---as in fairy tales read on stormy nights.

The I is a mere drop---in an ocean, blending with the infinity in a single moment.

The child remains helpless and dependent on others---family; school; neighbourhood. Myths, stories and other narratives talk of things now past, yet hovering in the present for us to grasp.

The values transmitted in a middle-class family/culture; small town with money as its god, shape up the first stirrings of the self. The notion of I being unique with dreams that set me apart.

In education and office, I developed slowly, this concept of I and others.

This mature Self mirrors the altering realities of a changing India.

From a colonized to independent nation, the self, too, undergoes many stages of transformations and transmutations

And realizes that the I is not unique entity but situated in a same conformist ideology informing other nations.

Selfhood is a product/actualization of your immediate context and choices that you tend to make as a sentient being, in a high-tech rapid environment.

While living in a developing nation facing many challenges for survival in a globalised economy, self alters. With its own elitism and divisions and politics and fundamentalism of most vicious kind, you feel at a loss for meaning/relevance of humanism.

An ugly world.

Climate change.



Bombings/ deadly unprovoked attacks on cafes and malls across the world cast in the image of a Big Macdonald.

Innocents getting mauled on sun-lit French boulevards/Mumbai streets/ Beirut malls. Nothing is sacred. Everything--- disposable, fragile.

Self becomes vulnerable and a pawn on the international chessboard played by big powers. Self is an extension of the inherited world and its dirty politics.

You cannot change the grim realities but through acts of solidarity, fight/resist such power games that tend to reduce your sense of rare I to the rest of ninety-nine percent, the heap of history, forgotten by Time and progress.


In the face of ethnic strife, Auschwitz, other contemporary hotspots in Middle East/South Asia/Africa/America

In the face of hatred---

We refuse to relinquish the philosophy of goodness/ethics/right path

Let the Renaissance/Enlightenment be our guide on difficult journeys

And stabilize our notions of justice, equity, selfhood, of self-awareness, of being a good human, in short.

We---a collection of identical selves---will not renounce nor deviate from goodness at all

Because, through small gestures, words, lyrics of hope, the tsunami of hatred can be defeated.

Self---universe---welfare of all humankind!

Self changes the world; the world, the self.

This be the universal nature/principle.

We give a bit of our good self in order to make the planet a livable and worthy space!

~Sunil Sharma

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