“How can it be you that don’t have any grey hair though you have lived
for many years?” You have asked the question and I will give you an answer!
My children have gone far in learning. My wife is rich in her virtue!
My servants do what I wish and my King, who shuns corruption protects us!
And in my city there are many noble men who through their deep Knowledge;
have acquired calm, have become self-controlled,
and the choices they make in their lives are built on the quality of restraint!
- When Kopperuncolan was sitting facing north and starving himself to death in the rite of vatakkiruttal, Picirantaiyar went to join him (in his fast).The good men there asked "We have heard of you for many years yet you have no grey hair." This is what he said to them.
Extracted from ‘An Anthology of Poems from classical Tamil: The Purananuru’ translated and edited by George L Hart and Hank Heifetz.
This is part of our selection from the Purananuru, chosen to represent some of the feelings of the Tamil people as, two years on, they remember the events of 2009.