Thiruppavai: Justice Katju greets Tamils and all South Indians on Pongal

Thiruppavai : Justice Katju greets Tamils and all South Indians on Pongal
Thiruppavai : Justice Katju greets Tamils and all South Indians on Pongal

Thiruppavai

By Justice Markandey Katju

In Tamilnadu, from about December 15th  to January 14th is known as the month of ‘maargazhi’ ( called ‘maagh’ in north India ). It ends on Pongal day, on 14th January,  which is called makar Sankranti in north India.

I reached Chennai on 30th November 2004 to take over as Chief Justice of Madras High Court, and soon thereafter maargazhi began.

Throughout this month a song called Thiruppavai (திருப்பாவை பாடல்கள்,), a devotional song in praise of Lord Krishna, is sung very early in the morning, more often by women ( though also by some men ).

Who wrote thiruppavai lyrics?

This song was written many centuries ago ( maybe a thousand years ago ) by the poet-saint Andal, a young woman originally named Goda who lived in the town of Srivilliputhur ( which I later visited ). It is sung throughout maargazhi not only in Tamilnadu but also wherever Tamilians are found, even in America and Canada. In Toronto, which I visited recently, I found it was sung by many Srilankan Tamil ladies.

Since I became the head of the judiciary of Tamilnadu, I decided to learn something of the culture of the people of Tamilnadu. I, therefore, got a copy of Thiruppavai ( in English translation ), and read it carefully.

What struck my mind most was the accurate description of the Mathura countryside, though that was far away in north India ( about 2490 kms ) from Tamilnadu. There is accurate depiction of herds of cattle with tinkling bells, the musical sound of butter churning, conch sounds from temples, the chirping of birds, girls bathing in ponds, and other minute details of the ambience of Mathura region, which I have visited several times, and I can vouch for the accuracy of these details..

In those days there were no modern methods of transport, no aeroplanes, trains or cars, so obviously, Andal ( Goda ) could not have travelled far from Srivilliputhur. How could she describe in such detail the ambience of the Mathura region, which is 2490 kms away in north India with such accuracy? This is still a mystery to me and requires research.

I send my best wishes for a Happy Pongal to all Tamilians and other south Indians.

How to read literature -4-“Basic problems of Bhakti poetry of South India” | Pro. Jagdishwar Chaturvedi

हमें गूगल न्यूज पर फॉलो करें. ट्विटर पर फॉलो करें. वाट्सएप पर संदेश पाएं. हस्तक्षेप की आर्थिक मदद करें

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About the Author

Justice Markandey Katju
Markandey Katju is an Indian jurist and former Supreme Court judge of India who served as chairman of the Press Council of India. He is the founder and patron of the Indian Reunification Association (IRA), an organisation that advocates for the peaceful reunification of what is now Pakistan and Bangladesh with India under a secular government.

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