Bharathiraja, in a strongly-worded statement released last evening, came out in support of ‘Kavirperarasu’ Vairamuthu who drew criticism for calling Andal a ‘devadasi’ during a speech at the Srivilliputhur temple last week.
In the press release, Bharathiraja, lamenting the lack of an individual’s right to freedom of expression, went on to list Vairamuthu’s achievements as a poet, his awards, and his works – ‘Kallikaattu Ithihasam’ and ‘Karuvachi Kaaviyam’ – which he called a layman’s ‘irattai-k-kaappiyam’ [twin epics]. “How can Vairamuthu, who made Tamil accessible to the common man, be spoken of in such offensive language? An artiste can air his views or quote a reference, but that cannot be dissected and criticised word-by-word.”
Addressing H Raja in the singular (he had earlier condemned Vairamuthi on Twitter), Bharathiraja called the BJP leader’s criticism ‘inelegant’, and added that the poet had only tried to bring Andal to the masses through his essay titled ‘Tamizhai Andal’. “Understand that the ‘Tiruppavai’ [a set of 30 hymns composed by Andal] wasn’t written in Sanskrit, it was written in Tamil,” he said, adding, “Can you write like Vairamuthu? Can you compose a song to rouse the masses? Don’t try to destroy him.”
Incidentally, today is the 28th day of Margazhi in the Tamil calendar – the month during which Andal is said to have sung the 30 paasurams [hymns] – one on each day – to express her desire and love for Govinda. In the 28th hymn, Andal beseeches Govinda to forgive her for her indiscretions.
All in evocative poetry:
“கறவைகள் பின் சென்று கானம் சேர்ந்து உண்போம்
அறிவு ஒன்றும் இல்லாத ஆய்க் குலத்து உந்தன்னைப்
பிறவி பெறுந்தனைப் புண்ணியம் யாம் உடையோம்
குறை ஒன்றும் இல்லாத கோவிந்தா உந்தன்னோடு
உறவேல் நமக்கு இங்கு ஒழிக்க ஒழியாது
அறியாத பிள்ளைகளோம் அன்பினால் உந்தன்னை
சிறு பேர் அழைத்தனமும் சீறி அருளாதே
இறைவா நீ தாராய் பறையேலோர் எம்பாவாய்”