Sangam classics


MAARGAZHI-P-PAVAI: Sirpi Balasubramaniam: Kapilan Pathippagam, 321, 3rd Main Road, Mahavir Nagar, Puduchery-605008. Rs. 125.

SIRPI BALASUBRAMANIAM, who has a strong base in traditional (Marabu) poetry, is modernistic in outlook. Bhakti is also his forte and it comes across sharply in the way he interprets Tiruppavai and Tiruvembavai; this is what the book under review is all about. Sirpi draws profusely from the writings of renowned commentators of yore such as Periavachan Pillai and, what more, highlights the places where the thoughts of Valluvar and Andal are strikingly similar. Referring to Andal’s description of her work as Sangath-thamizh-maalai, the author seeks to project a link with Sangam literature.

Of the same genre as Tiruppavai, where maidens go around waking up friends in the early hours of the day during the Tamil month of ‘Margazhi’ and entreating them to join in the nombu (sacred vow), Tiruvembavai is also framed in the form of giving a wake-up call. Whether it is giving the meaning of the words/terms or the quintessential import of the stanzas in the two poems, Sirpi is remarkably lucid and clear.

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