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"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamil National ForumSelected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha >  40 years after Kaa... Kaa... Ka

Selected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha

40 years after Kaa... Kaa... Ka

15 March 1992

Readers of this column can guess correctly that I am an unabashed admirer of meaningful old Tamil movie songs. One of my favourites is now 40 years old. In that trendsetting 1952 movie Paraasakthi, Chidambaram S Jeyaraman sang, in his inimitable resonating voice, a song composed by Udumalai NarayanaKavi which extolled the virtues of being a crow. It began with the mimicking syllables.

"Kaa...Ka...Ka... Ahaaram Unna ellorum onraaha anboodu oodi vaanka enra anupava porul villanka
Kaakai Annave neengal azhagaana vaayaal pannaha paadureenga ka ka vena onraaha koodureenka."

In these commencing lines, the poet praised the exemplary habit of the crow in sharing the located food with its fellow members of the species, rather than hoarding the treasure for selfish motives. In the next lines, the poet anguished:-

"Saapaadu illamal thavikuthunlu sanam koopaadu poddu manam kumuruthunka
kaapaatra kanji thanni oorunka - enraal thaalppalai pooduranka paarunka."

It seems that the poet had predicted, more than 40 years ago, about the plight of Eelam Tamil refugees in the India ruled by a coterie headed by P.U. Narasimha Rao, who projects the pseudo-image of an old, wise, learned Brahmin.

In the continuing lines, the poet "photographed" the social scene of India, which has hardly changed during the past four decades. Finally, he elevated the crows (for their social nobility for sharing the wealth among their fellow members) rather than the "rational humans" who have been infected with "selfish virus". The poet wrote:-

"Echil ilai thanileeriyum sorrukku pichchaikkara sandal roadile ina sandai pana sandai kula sandal pap undu - eththanaiyo intha naatile pattikkaadu neenga intha pahutharivaalarai paarkaatheenkapadchamaayirunka pahirnthundu vaazhunka pazhakkaththai maatraatheenka."

Even the story-line of the movie Paraasakthi ironically highlighted the plight of a Tamil family (three brothers and a sister) who were returning from Burma as refugees. A script writer barely in his twenties, named Muthuvel Karunanidhi, penned some stirring "lines", which reverberate in the ears even now.

For instance, Mu.Ka. wrote: "Vanthaarai vazhavaikum Thamizakame! - Inru Vazhvizhandu ponaayo!". How true these lines seem now, even for the Eelam Tamil refugees!

It also seems ironic that the same Muthuvel Karunanidhi who rose in the ranks from a student activist and script writer to the Cabinet minister and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu sacrificed his leadership role at the altar of personal glory and selfish aggrandizement.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, the mere mention of the name Karunanidhi struck terror among the Sinhalese, and he could never even land in Sri Lanka. How ironic it seems now, that the same Karunanidhi had dissociated himself from the Eelam struggle led by the Tamil Tigers, because his old age makes it hard to carry the burden of Tamil liberation any longer. Even in this respect, the "Kaa...Kaa...Kaa..." song sung by his uncle Chidambaram Jayaraman is a memorable one which characterises the human foibles.


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