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.
Tinai: patantinai (praise or elegy as well as asking for gifts)
Don’t speak of your doubts to me, saying “Yes we may have heard of him
But we’ve never seen him at all though many years have passed.
Yes, he has the right to sit beside you as your familiar friend
Of faultless conduct, but lord! It is not possible that he will act
on that friendship now!” Oh you are full of wisdom! But he, he
has never slighted me! He is kindness itself! He is my intimate friend!
He has no use for this kind of faithless behaviour that would ruin
his renown! Whenever he offers his name he says ‘My name
is that of simple colan!” He has the right. It has been
given to him by his flawless love. And there is more! He will not
stay there, stay away from me at a time
like this ! He will be coming. Now. Keep a place free for him.
- Kopperuncolan, who was sitting facing north and starving himself to death in the rite of vatakkiruttal, tells his comrades who are also starving themselves to death in the rite of vatakkiruttal to make a place for Picirantaiyar so that he can join them.