Following the Tamil tradition of remembering with poetry and song, on Maaveerar Naal 2012, we bring you one of the most famous songs in Tamil literature – the ‘Karma poem’ from the Purananuru, the four hundred songs of war and wisdom.
Song 192 of the Purananuru,
The song of Kanniyan Poonkunran
Tinai - Poruviyal (General Heroism), Turai – Porunmolikkanci
"Every city is your city. Everyone is your kin failure and prosperity do not come to you because others
have sent them! Nor do suffering and the end of suffering.
There is nothing new in death. Thinking that living
is sweet, we do not rejoice in it. Even less do we say,
If something unwanted happens, that to live is miserable!
through the vision of those who have understood we know
that a life, with its hardship, makes its way like a raft
riding the water of a huge and powerful river roaring
without pause as it breaks against rocks because the clouds
crowded with bolts of lightening pouring down their cold
drops of the rain, and so we are not amazed
at those who are great, still less do we despise the weak!"
Extracted from the ‘An Anthology of Poems from classical Tamil: The Purananuru” by George L Hart and Hank Heifetz
The Purananuru – Four hundred songs of war and wisdom - is dated between the first century B.C.E and the fifth century C.E.
Poem 192 – known as the ‘Karma poem’ – has become one of the most famous songs in Tamil literature.
Each poem in the Purnanuru is assigned a tinai which corresponds to a ‘tract of land, time of day, situation’ and a raga in which the poem is sung. Each tinai is further subdivided into a turai (a theme or subject).