Tuesday, December 11, 2012


A disturbing morning today, to have begun with!
And one of my most cherished poems came to mind.
 It was a pity that in the curriculum that was dished out at school & the university (in Kerala) I was denied the nectar of Subramania Bharatiyar’s great mind. It was Keats, Shelly, Tennyson, Wordsworth and that genre, besides the poet laureates of Malayalam, my mother tongue.
Here is one of the few gems I cherish of Bharatiyar, who like many prodigies was denied a full life’s time. He died young at 39 in 1921.

I get goose bumps when I recite these lines, but will it transfuse into the  blood in my veins? I do not know. Have I ever borne these words in my veins,did I ever try to imbibe? I guess I’m not greatly satisfied.
I have tried in the best possible way to transliterate the verses. I wonder if it justifies remotely, if it does, well I’m content.

”Achamillai, achamillai, acham enpathu illaye,
Icckathulorellam yethirthu nindra  pothilum,
Achamillai, achamillai, acham enpathu illaye,
Thuchamagi yenni  nammai thooru  cheytha pothilum,
Achamillai, achamillai, acham enpathu illaye,
Pichai vangi  unnum vazhkkai pethu vita podhilum,
Achamillai, achamillai, acham enpathu illaye,
Ichai konda porulellam izhandhu vita pothilum,
Achamillai, achamillai, acham enpathu illaye.”

“Kacchanintha kongai mathar kankal veesu pothilum ,
Achamillai, achamillai, acham enpathu illaye,
Nachchai vayile  konanthu nanbar ootu pothilum,
Achamillai, achamillai, acham enpathu illaye,
Pachai yooniyaintha  ver padaigal  vantha podhilum,
Achamillai, achamillai, acham enpathu illaye,
Uchi meethu vaan  idinthu veezkindra pothilum,
Achamillai, achamillai, acham enpathu illaye.”

Fear not oh soul. Fear not
Fear not when the world arrange against
The derisive stares and the faces cold,
Fear not oh soul. Fear not.
When fated to implore by the vagaries of life
When you’ve lose possessions cherished
Fear not oh soul. Fear not.

Fear not oh soul. Fear not
Fear not the seductress’s charms
Fear not the venom of kith and kin,
Fear not the hordes of men in arms
Fear not oh soul. Fear not.
And when the heavens above come flaming down
Fear not my soul. Fear not.


Happy Kitten said...

Just the poem I needed! Thank you Anil for posting it..a soul lifting poem!

KParthasarathi said...

A very apt post on his birthday.
He was a legend far ahead of his times.A fiery poet,a social reformer, a spiritual man, a journalist and a nationalist he led a turbulent life educating the people of India's greatness and had to live in Puducherry to avoid arrest.With all his creativity and poetic talent,he lived in penury.Fame and name came to him only posthumously.His death by the elephant of the temple at Triplicane where he lived was tragic.
His strong nationalistic fervour can be illustrated by this oneseen in these lines
ஆயிரம் உண்டிங்கு சாதி, எனில் அன்னியர் வந்து புகலென்ன நீதி!
We may have thousand sects; However, that does not justify a foreign invasion.
Such great men and women are born once in a millennium
Thank you Mr.Anil

anilkurup said...

@ Happy Kitten,

Good thanks.

@ Kparthasarathi,

It was sheer coincidence. I was not aware that today was his birthday. I fact I noticed it only when I saw The Hindu on line.

As you said it is not often that such people are in our midst.

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

The soul stirring, soul lifting power of poetry! Blessed are the ones who enlighten and enliven us even after they’re gone.

Insignia said...

Revolutionist and far ahead thinker than his time. Great man indeed!

rama said...

Wow! It was a pleasure to read his poetry after a long time. I know a few of his famous songs. Thanks for sharing it wit us.

NRIGirl said...

Fear not Anil! Everything is going to be okay!

Sukanya said...

Very good effort. Hats off to the legend Subramania Bharathi.
I feel proud of you also.

Kavita Saharia said...

Brilliant! I saw a portion of the poetry on your FB wall and wondered. Thanks for translating.

rudraprayaga said...

The poem radiates its spirit into the mind Thanks for the translation as cannot have a full idea of it. I feel the translation also is appealing.

anilkurup said...

@ Arun,@ Insignia, @ Kavita, @ Sukanya, @ Rudraparayag, @ rama, @NRIgirl

Thank you all for the comments.

Meera Sundararajan said...

Bharathiyar is one of my favorites too. I am not well versed enough in Tamil to comment on your translation though the effort in itself must be appreciated. "Fear" as a negative emotion was discussed by many poets during those days. Tagore being another one in his "Where the mind is without fear" - I think many of those sentiments would still hold true though we are technically a free country with laws that guarantee protection of our rights.

anilkurup said...

@ Meera,

I'm not well versed in Tamil either. Can read a bit and speak/understand that is all. Just attempted at the translation that was all.
Yes I remembered Tagore's lines too- in the Gitanjali.

ousu said...

"Fear Not oh soul, fear not oh soul", thanks Anil. Something I very much required this morning !

anilkurup said...

@ Ousu,
Hope you are back from hibernation.

Shilpa Garg said...

Very inspiring!

anilkurup said...

thanks SG

R.Ramakrishnan said...

A meaningful,powerful & inspiring poem from Bharathiar and an incredibly excellent translation !
BTW I have resumed blogging after some hibernation & you can see my latest on Yellowstone.

Musings said...

good to see you back.must have been lazing after the journey to YS.
thanks for the comment.

Musings said...

good to see you back.must have been lazing after the journey to YS.
thanks for the comment.

Ramya Ranganathan said...

one of the most inspiring poem from Bharathiyar. Thank you for writing this post!

Ganesh Parameswaran said...


It is great to see a Malayali show interest in Bharathiar's songs. I just wanted to make a correction to the translation -

Achamillai means "pedi illa" in Malayalam or "No fear", not "Fear not". So, basically he is saying he is not afraid even if the entire world is against him.