"If it is true that liberal education should "liberate" by demonstrating the cultural values and norms foreign to us, by revealing the relativity of our own values, then the "discovery" and enjoyment of Tamil literature, and even its teaching should find its place in the systems of Western training and instruction in the humanities." - Kamil Zvelebil in his book, The Smile of Murugan , The Tamil literature of South India

Monday, January 2, 2017

Sweeter than muddied water

Dear friend, believe me. Muddied water in leaf covered pits is sweeter than milk mixed with the sweetest honey.

Ainkurunooru 203
annaai vaazhi vendu annai nam padappai 
thaenmayangu paalinum iniya avarnaattu
uvalai kooval keezha
maan undu enjiya kazhili neerae

This song is sung by the poet Kapilar. Its falls under the category 'annaai vaazhi paththu' meaning 'long live mother ten'. The poem depicts the word spoken by the heroine to her friend, as the foster mother also is listening. It was not uncommon to address the friend as 'mother', out of affection.

For the original song and explanation in Tamil please click this link - தேன்மயங்கு பாலினும் .

Poem Meaning: Long live mother, listen to me. The muddied water leftover by the deer underneath  leaf covered pits in his country, is sweeter than the milk mixed with honey from our garden.

Description: The heroine has come back after eloping with the hero. It was common for the eloped couple to return to their house and get married in the presence of either or both the parents and relatives. The heroine's friend asks the heroine about how she survived in the hero's place where they know the water is not good. In response, the heroine says to her friend that the muddied water leftover by the deer in the leaf covered pits in the hero's country is sweeter than the milk mixed with honey from their garden. Its was common for people to have a garden in their backyard and that was called padappai. The poem expresses the heroine's deep love for the hero, which negates the difficulties of life. She is happy to be with the hero no matter the hardships. The heroine's friend knew it very well that she asked just to let the foster mother know. The foster mother was  close by listening and she would tell the heroine's biological mother that their daughter will indeed be happy marrying the hero. This assurance is the backdrop for this drama. The poem unfolds the love in different angles - that of the mother, that of the heroine and that of the friend. The poet uses the nature so beautifully in this poem, as in other poems of Sangam Literature. It also depicts how women stood by their husbands not letting down their marital home. This virtue would be helpful for both genders today.

Words Meaning:
annaai vaazhi - long live mother, vendu annai - listen to me, nam padappai - our garden/backyard, thaen - honey, mayangu paalinum - mixed milk, iniya - sweet, avarnaattu - his country's, uvalai - dry leaves, kooval - waterpits, keezha - underneath, maan - deer, undu enjiya - leftover, kazhili - muddied, neerae- water

My English Version:
Long live mother, listen!
The muddied water leftover by the deer
Underneath the leaves in his country's pits
Is sweeter than milk mixed with our honey!


Thanks for reading and please leave your comments...