So devout was Thiruppanar to Lord Ranganatha,

The Lord loved his hymns more than the chanting of His priest.

If Thiruppanar failed to sing his hymns,

Ranganatha could not sleep well.

Without singing his hymns on the Lord,

Thiruppanar failed to get sleep.

The banks of Cauvery failed never to see Thiruppanar.

Thiruppanar never failed to leave before the priest arrived.

Once Thiruppanar could not leave the place

And the priest of Ranganatha horrified to see

An untouchable who spreads ‘impurity’.

He stoned him away and went to ‘serve’ the Lord.

Blood gushed forth from the forehead of the Lord,

From the exact spot the stone hit the ‘untouchable’.

India had a tradition that speaks against caste.

But India clings still to the rot.

Divya loved Ilavarasan the male,

Ilavarasan loved Divya the female.

When an adult male and an adult female,

Are united by love and live together,

People riot, villages burn and curfew is clamped!

When people are urged to gut the huts,

Gods are burned, and they try to leave the temples;

But they are jailed in the temples and unable to leave,

As people are jailed in the cells of caste.

The hapless girl and the dejected boy

Are the victims of our ‘great’ traditions.

We killed Ilavarasan the husband and

We will torment Divya the wife.

They are our victims and we are their guardians,

They would go astray if we guided them not,

We guided the husband ‘properly’,

Now remains the wife to be guided.

Blood is on our hands; we didn’t let them live.

(The writer’s

Keywords: religiontraditionspoetry