Oodha color ribbon and its Sangam predecessor

Writing a blog after very long time. While I was still reading Sangam and post Sangam literature – had lost interest and time to write blog. But this poem made lose some sleep and write this blog – I hope you would be as interested in this poem as me.

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In the above video Hero wants to know who the heroine’s father was so that he can salute him and also wants to know who her mother was so that he can hail her mother.

An anonymous poet 1700- 2000 years ago has had similar thought process , but he goes one step further – he  hails her father and wishes her mother’s wealth/ reputation grows rapidly.

What surprises me is that our lover boys have never changed! same blood!

Narrinai 8

அல்கு படர் உழந்த அரி மதர் மழைக்கண்,
பல் பூம் பகைத் தழை நுடங்கும் அல்குல்,
திரு மணி புரையும் மேனி மடவோள்
யார் மகள்கொல்? இவள் தந்தை வாழியர்!

துயரம் உறீஇயினள் எம்மே: அகல்வயல்
அரிவனர் அரிந்தும் தருவனர்ப் பெற்றும்
தண் சேறு தாஅய், மதனுடை நோன் தாள்
கண் போல் நெய்தல் போர்வில் பூக்கும்
திண் தேர்ப் பொறையன் தொண்டி-
தன் திறம் பெறுக, இவள் ஈன்ற தாயே!

இயற்கைப் புணர்ச்சி இறுதிக்கண் தலைமகளை ஆயத்தொடும் கண்ட தலைமகன்சொல்லியது. – பெருங்குன்றூர் கிழார்
Her intensely seductive cool eyes with Red streaks spreads permanent suffering;
Her swaying waist is adorned with many flowers;
Her tender body resembles a faultless brilliant gem,
whose daughter is she? Hail her father! (/may her father prosper!)
Let her mother’s wealth (/reputation,excellence) grow

like Kings Poriyan(possessor of huge charitots)’s
capital Tondi where
eye like water lily(neithal) blooms on stem covered with cool mud
surrounded by Heap of unthreshed grain,
straw stack collected after
farmers reap the ears of paddy

for giving birth to her!
Poet: Unknown

Translation by me

அல்கு படர் உழந்த அரி மதர் மழைக்கண்,
Diminish/stay/permanent – spread – fatigue/suffer – red streaks in eyes / eyes – intense desire (seductive) – cool – eyes
பல் பூம் பகைத் தழை நுடங்கும் அல்குல்,
many – flower – contrasting – Leaf/feathers – shaking – waist
திரு மணி புரையும் மேனி மடவோள்
Brilliant – gem – resemble – body – tender girl
யார் மகள்கொல்? இவள் தந்தை வாழியர்!
whose – daughter – Damn( expletive) – her – father – may you prosper
துயரம் உறீஇயினள் எம்மே: அகல்வயல்
distress – To cause to experience – she – me – broad fields
அரிவனர் அரிந்தும் தருவனர்ப் பெற்றும்
reapers(farmers) – reaping ears of paddy – givers – accepting
தண் சேறு தாஅய், மதனுடை நோன் தாள்
cool – mud – bearing – stem
கண் போல் நெய்தல் போர்வில் பூக்கும்
eye – like – neital(water lily) – surrounded by Heap of unthreshed grain, straw stack – in – blossom
திண் தேர்ப் பொறையன் தொண்டி-
huge – chariot – Poriyan’s (king’s name) – Tondi (captial city)
தன் திறம் பெறுக, இவள் ஈன்ற தாயே
(let) her – wealth/excellence – grow – this girl – gave birth -mother

Narrinai – Central Institute of Classical Tamil

Narrinai – Narayana Swami Iyer urai

Tamil Lexicon

Red Earth and Pouring Rain – Kurunthokai 40


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This is one of my old Blogs. I have added new video clipping. Thanks to Mr.Vijayakumar for letting me know about the song.

I have posted video compilation of 5 Tamil songs(Thanks to readers) which have some similarities in the lyrics, please have a look

The first songs is ‘Narumugaye’ from Iruvar.
The second song is ‘ Sollai Povil’ from Vellai Roja
Third song is  ‘Pattam poochi’ from Chittiram Pesuthadi.
Fourth song is ‘Munbe Vaa’ from Sillunu oru Kadal.
Fifth song is ‘Oru Thanga rathathil’ from Dharma Yudham.

All the five song clearly have same thought process of some rainwater mixing with red soil. Where is this inspiration from ? Answer to this question leads us to one of the most loved poems of Tamil Literature.

This poem is from Sangam anthology Kurunthokai.I have posted two translations here. The first translation is very poetic(A.K.Ramanujan), where as Hart’s translation tries to provide the poetic structure employed by the original poet.

40. குறிஞ்சி

யாயும் ஞாயும் யார் ஆகியரோ?

எந்தையும் நுந்தையும் எம் முறைக் கேளிர்?

யானும் நீயும் எவ் வழி அறிதும்?

செம் புலப் பெயல் நீர் போல

அன்புடை நெஞ்சம் தாம் கலந்தனவே.

– செம்புலப்பெயனீரார்


Kurunthokai 40 – What He said

What could be my mother be

to yours?what kin is my father

to yours anyway?And how

did you and I meet ever?

But in love our hearts are as red

earth and pouring rain:


beyond parting.

Translated by A.K.Ramanujan


My mother and yours,

what were they to each other?

My father and yours ,

how were they kin?

I and you ,

how do we know each other?

and yet

like water that has rained on red fields,

our hearts in their love

have mixed together.

Translated by Gorge L. Hart

Poet:Sembula Peyaneerar

(The poet name means “he of water that has rained on red fields.”)

This poem and its english translation are popular around the world and are displayed in the London Tube.

The London Tube, as the underground metro train service is known, was started in 1863 and now covers 408 km. It is the lifeline of the city. When the transport authorities began paying attention to the interior of the coaches, they instituted prizes for the best advertisement posters. In 1986, encouraged by the Poetry Society, short poems of five or six lines were displayed in a special show. It proved so popular that poetry display has since become a permanent feature in the trains. (Source:HINDU article)

This poem is one of the most loved Tamil poems.And it also has a very important information few so called Tamil society protectors should take a note of.

This poem beautifully describes love as feeling which comes out naturally. One of the most important feature of this poem is that this poem stands in as typical example for ‘Iyarkai Punarchi’ poems. What does Iyarkai Punarchi mean? Iyarkai punarchi when translated to English would give you a meaning Natural Copulation.

Iyarkai Punarchi has been explained by different school of thoughts. One being a very conservative school of thought. Many Scholars like U.V.Swaminathan Iyer describe Iyarkai Punarchi has natural love making process but add an element of super natural to it by saying because they were lovers in previous birth. This school of thought accepts there is pre martial sex in this life but that because of the love the couple had as husband and wife in previous birth.

The other school of thought simply accepts Iyarkai Punarchi as Pre Martial sex when two lovers fall in love.

In this poem we clearly see two strangers who don’t know any thing about each other’s family falling in love. This shows clearly that 2000 years ago there were enough love marriages. Two strangers irrespective of their community status could fall in love and get married.  Often we also see parents opposing these marriages and the lovers elope to get married and live the life of their own. More often than not we see the family gets reunited after the couple have a baby.

We see a beautiful simile of Red earth and rain. The rain which has no relation with red soil , falls from the sky and slowly but steadily mingles with the red soil and becomes a part of it. The rain makes the dry sand into a fertile land suitable for cultivation. This is probably the greatest example in nature to explain mingling of two completely different substance to become more productive and useful product. The poet employs this simile to say that the Thalaivan was a complete stranger in the life of the Thalaivi. Yet he suddenly appeared one day and their heart mingled slowly steadily to become one soul. This process of love reaches its climax with the love making or punarchi, hence making the thalaivi fertile.


If you wondered why I have posted two translations , here is the poetic structure of original Tamil poem, it starts with ‘My’ and ‘yours’ and progresses to ‘I and you’ and ends with ‘Together’. This aspect is brilliantly brought out by George L.Hart.

என் தாய் உன் தாயை எவ்வாறு அறிவாள்?
என் தந்தைக்கும் உன் தந்தைக்கும் என்ன உறவோ ?
நானும் நீயும் ஒருவரை ஒருவர் எவ்வாறு அறிந்துகொண்டோம் ?
இருந்தும் மழை நீர் செம்மையான நிலத்துடன் கலப்பது போல
கலந்து விட்டன அன்பு கொண்ட நம் நெஞ்சங்கள்

இந்த பாடலின் சிறப்பு , என் உன் என்று தொடங்கி , நான் நீ என்று பயணித்து , நாம் என்று முடிகின்றது .


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