Posts filed under ‘Veena’

Epitaph on a tyrant

W H Auden

(One of my favorites, by one of my favorite poets. Some more commentary here)


Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

(Susmit reads the poem)

February 4, 2006 at 8:29 pm 1 comment


Rabindranath Tagore

(My first two lines of Bengali, ha ha ha!)


Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow
domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depths of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the
dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought
and action–
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

February 4, 2006 at 5:08 pm 3 comments

Manathil Urudhi Vendum

So BM has reluctantly given me the keys to this place and needless to say, I intend to abuse this space as much as I can. Hmm..what shall we start with now? How about my first Bharathy poem? Appa, are you reading this?

So here, listen to KJ Yesudas rendering one of Bharathy’s most famous. The music is by Illayaraja; the poem/song made its appearance in a brilliant 80s movie called Sindhu Bhairavi. Before I came across Ilayaraja’s version, I had always imagined this poem recited in a demanding Bharathy-esque manner – imagine a Sivaji Ganesan or a Kamalhassan reciting Achamillai Achamillai if you will – but Illayaraja gives it a lighter, ‘Chinna Chinna Aasai’ (Chotti Si Aasha) tone which I am not sure I particularly like.

மனதிலுறுதி வேண்டும்,
வாக்கினி லேயினிமை வேண்டும்;
நினைவு நல்லது வேண்டும்,
நெருங்கின பொருள் கைப்பட வேண்டும்;
கனவு மெய்ப்பட வேண்டும்,
கைவசமாவது விரைவில் வேண்டும்;
தனமும் இன்பமும் வேண்டும்,
தரணியிலே பெருமை வேண்டும்.
கண் திறந்திட வேண்டும்,
காரியத்தி லுறுதி வேண்டும்;
பெண் விடுதலை வேண்டும்,
பெரிய கடவுள் காக்க வேண்டும்,
மண் பயனுற வேண்டும்,
வானகமிங்கு தென்பட வேண்டும்;
உண்மை நின்றிட வேண்டும்.
ஓம் ஓம் ஓம் ஓம்.

So you think maybe I should attempt some translation now? Here’s the issue though:
A) I am really bad at this and
B) This is one of those poems that even when translated well would appear extremely simplistic in any other language than the one it was written in.
But if I have to translate it, it would go something like the following:

Let the mind be firm
Let the speech be sweet
Let the thoughts be noble
Let one attain what’s dear
Let all dreams come true
And quickly, too
Let there be wealth and happiness
And fame in this world
Let the eyes be open
Let one be determined in achieving one’s goals
Let the women attain freedom
Let God protect us all
Let the land be fertile
Let us feel the heaven here
Let the Truth prevail
Om Om Om Om

(No, no, do NOT think of Hallmark poetry. I promise I will not do any more translations.)

This poem always reminds me of Tagore’s Prayer – the difference, atleast in my mind, is that while Tagore prays, Bharathy demands. Its really “The mind must be firm” rather than “Let the mind be firm” but no, I am not going to attempt translations again. :)

January 18, 2006 at 12:47 pm 9 comments