Bharathiyar Songs



Translated by A.K. Ramanujan



Wind, come softly.
Don’t break the shutters of the windows.
Don’t scatter the papers.
Don’t throw down the books on the shelf.
There, look what you did — you threw them all down.
You tore the pages of the books.
You brought rain again.
You’re very clever at poking fun at weaklings.
Frail crumbling houses, crumbling doors, crumbling rafters,
crumbling wood, crumbling bodies, crumbling lives,
crumbling hearts —
the wind god winnows and crushes them all.
He won’t do what you tell him.
So, come, let’s build strong homes,
Let’s joint the doors firmly.
Practise to firm the body.
Make the heart steadfast.
Do this, and the wind will be friends with us.
The wind blows out weak fires.
He makes strong fires roar and flourish.
His friendship is good.
We praise him every day.


Nanda Lala

In the black feather of the crow
Nanda Lala, one sees
the dark colour of your skin,
Nanda Lala.

Whatever trees one sees,
Nanda Lala, one sees
the green of your body,
Nanda Lala.

In all the sounds one hears,
Nanda Lala, one hears
the sound of your music,
Nanda Lala.

And When one puts a finger in a flame
Nanda Lala, one feels
the thrill of your touch,
Nanda Lala.


About the Author:

Chinnaswami Subramania Bharathi, also known as Bharathiyar (11 December 1882 – 11 September 1921), was a Tamil writer, poet, journalist, Indian independence activist and a social reformer. Popularly known as “Mahakavi Bharathi”, he was a pioneer of modern Tamil poetry and is considered one of the greatest Tamil literary figures of all time. His numerous works included fiery songs kindling patriotism during the Indian Independence movement.