Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Pura Naanooru – 312

To give birth and nurture is my duty;
to make him wise is his father’s duty;
to forge a spear for him is blacksmith’s duty;
to impart virtue is Ruler’s duty;
to destroy enemies in battle with dazzling sword,
kill war elephants and return is youth’s duty.

ஈன்று புறந்தருதல் என் தலைக் கடனே;
சான்றோன் ஆக்குதல் தந்தைக்குக் கடனே;
வேல் வடித்துக் கொடுத்தல் கொல்லற்குக் கடனே;
நன்னடை நல்கல் வேந்தற்குக் கடனே,
ஒளிறு வாள் அருஞ் சமம் முருக்கி,
களிறு எறிந்து பெயர்தல் காளைக்குக் கடனே.

This is a stirring poem written from the point of view of a woman from a martial clan. She says, “To bring forth a son and nurture him is my duty. To teach him skills and make him knowledgeable is his father’s duty. To provide him with weapons is the blacksmith’s duty. It is the duty of our ruler to point him in the path of virtue. The bull like strong youth’s duty is to engage in war, destroy the enemies, kill their elephants and return back”.

As is clear, these poems drum up martial feelings and ignite the passion for warfare, which was a necessity in those times.

I think that this poem has shades of ‘Protagoras’, Plato’s dialogue about a debate between Protagoras and Socrates. Or may be I am reading too much into a straight forward poem.

ஈன்று – Give birth
புறம் தருதல் – bring to world (nurture)
வடித்தல் – forge
நன்னடை – நல்ல + நடை – right path / good conduct / virtue
நல்குதல் – give / grant / impart
ஒளிறுதல் – to shine brightly
வாள் – sword
அருமை – good / great
சமம் – battle
முருக்குதல் – destroy
களிறு – elephant
எறிதல் – knock down
பெயர்தல் – return
காளை – youth

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2 thoughts on “Pura Naanooru – 312

  1. Reblogged this on A Passers By and commented:
    Duties of an Youth

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  2. //கடனே//

    போர்க்கோலம் செய்து விட்டாற்கு sentimentality எல்லாம் இல்லை. You just got to step up to the plate with an uncluttered headங்க்ற மாதிரி படிக்க முடியுது.

    Due to no reasonable basis except the fact I happen to be reading it now, I was reminded of something in Santhi parvam. After winning the war, Yudishtra says he wants to leave Kingship and go to the forest as there is little merit coming from being a King.

    Bhishma says, what he wants and what was desired of him by everyone, including and especially his parents, is different. And for that reason alone he should not let go of the sceptre.

    Plug: http://dagalti.blogspot.in/2017/07/blog-post.html

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