Friday, January 08, 2010

A Poem That Came to Mind

Today, I witnessed an instance of riding a high horse. That rekindled a verse from this 2,000-year old Tamil poem from "Purananuru" (புறநானூறு) -- especially the concluding lines. Professor George Hart and Hank Heifetz's wonderful translation of Poet Kaniyan Poongunranar's (கணியன் பூங்குன்றனார்) was available in the net over here.

While the starting lines are very famous amongst Tamils -- "Every city is your city; Everyone is your kin" (யாதும் ஊரே ; யாவரும் கேளிர்), it's a mystery to me as to why the final lines aren't.
It's neatly translated as "and so we are not amazed at those who are great and even less do we despise the weak." Try translating that from "ஆகலின், மாட்சியின் பெரியோரை வியத்தலும் இலமே; சிறியோரை இகழ்தல் அதனினும் இலமே".

I bought this tome from India (Penguin India) a few years ago. And am still amazed how such a work could have even been attempted by non-native Tamil researchers.


Vijay said...


ஆத்திசூடி கன்டின்யூ பண்ணக்கூடாதா?

devaski said...

Hello Rex,

Good Morning

My name is Devarajan G, hail from Arakkonam, India

I have gone through your Maxim of Aathichoodi here, I congrats you for the clean explanation.

I have too did some social service by publishing Aathichoodi as an iPhone and iPod Touch application distributed for free worldwide through iTunes.

I am coming across many requests from users to include meaning for 108 Maxims.

I am interested to discuss further on this subject with you, please e.mail me your contact details to

Thanking you
With Warm Regards
Devarajan G

sammiekins said...

thank u so much for ur work..i just found your blog.. and I had been looking for athichudi's translation for a while.. and your work is just great....

VISHA said...

Dear Rex,

Hope you are doing fine.

I am Visalakshi in UAE and longing to read good tamil poems with meaning.

The Aathichoodi is fantastic work and I request you to continue the great work which will help the Tamil community.



Rex Arul said...

Hello Everybody - I am in the process of continuing this. அதனால் இதனை விரும்பி கேட்டுக் கொண்டிருக்கும் நண்பர்கட்க்கு நன்றி. Currently, I am planning to help another Tamil friend, who will publish my simple translations to the "Aathichoodi" free-app for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. We are literally a couple of weeks away on this. Once that is over, I will also start blogging about each "Aathichoodi" in a much simpler language. So, please do stay tuned and thanks for your interest.

It's good to see members of diaspora interested in this ancient Sangam literature for kids.