Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Song of Freedom's minstrels

Freedom is a child who is born with every passing day. Evening makes love to the shy silent universe, filling her womb with nascent desire. As dusk falls, the universe's breasts swell with the milk of pure love as her womb grows heavy. Through the night she labours, tossing in her sleep. And just as the twinkling maids withdraw her dark veil, the dawn of freedom, that golden child pokes her head out, the gilded rays stretching and embracing the universal mother.

Freedom is a queen from the time she is born. Morning is her throne, afternoon her royal court and evening her zenana. The river is her sceptre, the breeze her royal seal, fire her army and the sky her palace. And like a true queen, freedom does speak to her people. She speaks through her musical minstrels, who convey her message to the whole universe and listen to the words of her subjects. And when she is born from her own self every night, it is these minstrels who sing songs of her incarnation. The first true poets who sang songs that sprung from their heart when they saw the abundance of joy that was given to them. The sparrows.

So what song do these minstrels sing? What message do they bring from our queen? Of hope? Of blessings, gifts? Of war, glory and fame?

Nay, they sing of truth, freedom and joy.


come thither, take your seat by the yard, the muRRam of my house and listen as dawn brings to your ear this music.

விட்டு விடுதலையாகி

விட்டு விடுதலையாகி நிற்பாய் இந்தச்
சிட்டுக் குருவியினைப் போலே

எட்டுத் திசையும் பறந்து திரிகுவை
ஏறியக் காற்றில் விரைவோடு நீந்துவை
மட்டுப் படாதெங்கும் கொட்டிக் கிடக்குமிவ்
வானொளி என்னும் மதுவின் சுவையுண்டு (விட்டு...)

பெட்டையோடின்பம் பேசிக் களிப்புற்றுப்
பீடையில்லாதோர் கூடு கட்டிக் கொண்டு
முட்டை தருங் குஞ்சைக் காத்து மகிழ்வெய்தி
முந்த உணவு கொடுத்தன்பு செய்திங்கு (விட்டு...)

முற்றத்திலேயுங் கழனி வெளியிலும்
முன்கண்ட தானியம் தன்னைக் கொணர்ந்துண்டு
மற்றப் பொழுது கதை சொல்லித் தூங்கிப் பின்
வைகறை யாகுமுன் பாடி விழிப்புற்று (விட்டு...)


vittu viduthalaiyAgi niRpAy inththac
cittuk kuruviyai pOlE

ettuth thisaiyum paRanththu thiriguvai
ERiyak kARRil viraivOdu nInththuvai
mattup padAthenggum kottik kidakkumiv
vAnoLi ennum mathuvin cuvaiyuNdu

pettaiyinOdinbam pEcik kaLipuRRup
pIdaiyilAthOr kUdu kattik koNdu
muttai tharung kunjcaik kAththu magizveythi
munththa uNavu koduththanbu seythinggu

muRRaththilEyung kazani veLiyilum
munkaNda thAniyam thannaik koNarnththuNdu
maRRap pozuthu kathai sollith thUnggi pin
vaigaRai yAgumun pAdi vizipuRRU

Meaning per word

leave (and)/become free/(shall) stand/this

eight directions/fly/and roam
climb that wind/with speed/swim
limit/not feeling/pour and lying/
light of the sky/called/nectar's taste/(shall) drink (and)

joy with the female/speak and pleasure happen
without sorrows/one/house/build (and)
egg given young/protect and attain happiness
early food give/make love here (and)

in the yard and/in the canal expanse
front see/grains/those bring and eat
other times/story speak/sleep later
dawn/before becomes/sing/awake happen (and)


The written word can more than often serve as balm to the soul. Weariness, ennui, pain, humiliation, fear - all can be soothed eased and wiped clean by a song. Even as the shadows creep in on the soul a song, a line, a single word can offer a golden ray of hope. Such a song is this.

If Bharathi had just written the first two words of this song, we couldn't have asked for more. "Leave and become free" - as simple and as profound as it gets. In all forms of bondage, it is never the chain the binds the prisoner, it is the prisoner who holds on to the chain; Like the child clinging on to the parent in fear while the entire world spreads ahead of it. All that is need is to leave, to let go of this chain that we grip so tightly with sweat in our arms.

But then, letting go is not so easy. We know what to do but not how. That is why, Barathi says, "like this sparrow". Freedom is found like that - in two lines of poetry. That's all that is there.

Further words to detail and decipher this masterpiece would only sully it. A poem may at times submit to the guiles of prose, but a song shall mate only with another song.


Stand, you will released and free
Like this sparrow here that you see

In every direction thou shall fly and drift
Climb that wind and swim it swift
This limitless nectar pours all land
This light of the skies drink it and

(Stand, you...)

Revel with the female and of joys you spake
A house without sorrows thou shall make
Guard well your young and attain joy
Feed it early and with love cloy

(Stand, you...)

In the yards in the canals of the fields
gather the grain that your sight yields
Then speak of tales and then sleep make
Then ere the dawn sing and awake

(Stand, you...)


JAB said...

When night touches the lips of the jasmine flowers
and fairies have their dances among the trees,
tell me, Mother, a sweet story;

My story is but a minstrel's song
with no ornaments,like the river at night
it moves unseen.

My mind is awake with the thought of day
and the cry of the birds in my ears.
they fly high and they fly free
maybe my mind will reach them someday.

I dream of them speaking to me
Tales of joy, tales of hope.
Tales on how to gather
love in your arms.

I dream of chirping young,
content and free, waiting
for time to let them go
in search of the breeze.

I dream of the songs
love can bring
Of harvest time and night time rain.

Hush my child and go to sleep,
for tomorrow,
we will truly live.

Pipa said...

Your appreciation section moved me. How beautiful these words are!

Thank you for doing this.

அக்னிபாரதி said...

Thanks for the comments Pipa.

Translation Agency said...

Hats off to Bharathi..