The song called ‘Tiruppavai’

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The month of Marghazhi ( in Hindi Maagh ) has begun in Tamilnadu. In this month many Tamizhans, particularly the ladies, sing a song called ‘Tiruppavai’ composed perhaps a thousand years ago by the poet saint Andal, who lived in a town called Srivilliputhur ( which I have visited ). Often this poem is sung very early in the morning ( sometimes as early as 3 a.m ), the time before dawn called the Brahmamuhurtham.When I came in November 2004 as Chief Justice of Madras High Court to Tamilnadu, the state I call my adoptive home ( because of the tremendous love and affection I received from Tamizhans who practically adopted me ), I decided to study the culture of the people there. So I studied ( in English translation ) many great works of Tamil literature e.g. Thirukkural, Silapathihaaram, poems of Subramania Bharathi, etc. And one of the literary works I read was Tiruppavai. It is a devotional poem in praise of Lord Krishna.I was struck by the fact that Andal, a young girl in Srivilliputhur in Tamilnadu, who lived in an age when there were no aeroplanes or trains, could describe the ambience of Mathura and Vrindavan, which lay far in the north, and which she could not have possibly visited, with such vivid details.

Markandey Katju

Written by Markandey Katju

Justice Markandey Katju is the former Chairman, Press Council of India. Prior to his appointment as Chairman, Press Council of India, he served as a Permanent judge at the Supreme Court of India.

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