Bharathiyar Poems – The Victory Drum

The Victory Drum

(Original poem by Bharaithyar)

Strike the victory drum – Strike it,
Strike the victory drum.

We vanquished the ghost of trepidation –
We split the serpent of falsehood, drank away its life;
To absorb the entire celestial world like elixir,
We embrace the life of profundity.

We bathed in the light of the sun – light
The nectar, we partook in jubilation;
Deceptively, as it tread to destroy lives,
We awakened to petrify the messenger of death.

Crows and sparrows are our caste1 – elongated
Seas and mountains our assembly;
In all the directions we behold, there is only us; nothing else
Gaze more and more, it is euphoria.

Note: This is a song about humanity’s triumph over the state of constant fearfulness and ignorance, through discerning knowledge. We live in the light without hiding, which gives such confidence, that we frighten away death. Living creatures and all of earth is ours, just as we belong to them. Through this feeling of oneness, we see ourselves in everything, which builds euphoria.
This message is announced through the drum, which was a form of long distance communication in the ancient days and also for making royal proclamations.

1 – Caste: Castiesm is a social classification of people in India, according to their jobs. The origins of this classification can be found in the Hindu Scriptures called, “Vedas”.
When it began, castiesm was not based on birth. Thus, a single household could have family members belonging to different castes.
Then, the classification became discrimination. From that point onwards, caste became determined at birth. Thus, if you are born into a certain family your destiny is determined by the caste of that family.
Brahmin(scholar), Kshatriya(warrior), Vaishya(tradesman), Shudra(servants) – in that social order, Brahmins – considered the most superior, Shudras – considered the most inferior. In time, castes have splintered into numerous factions within each caste. But, the unbreakable psychological walls are still the four. This system affects socializing, marriage, education and job opportunities.
This is India’s version of racism, perpetuated through several centuries over numerous generations, and just as harmful. It is the basis for social injustice, income inequality, religious fault-lines and other corruptions which stymies the resource-rich nation into a state of perpetual dysfunction.
As with racial divisions here in US, Indian politicians exploit this factionalism to get elected into positions of power, compounding the corruption and the resulting dysfunction.
Bharathiayar, born into a Brahmin family, detested this practice. He did everything he could, to fight this scourge, like he did against other social evils. Thus, castiesm is one of the themes that run throughout his literary work.


ஜய பேரிகை கொட்டடா – கொட்டடா
ஜய பேரிகை கொட்டடா


பயமெனும் பேய்தனை யடித்தோம்-பொய்ம்மைப்
பாம்பை பிளந்துயிரை குடித்தோம்
வியனுல கனைத்தையும் அமுதென நுகரும்
வேதவாழ் வினைக்கை பிடித்தோம்.

இரவியி னொளியிடைக் குளித்தோம்-ஒளி
யின்னமு தினையுண்டு களித்தோம்
கரவினில் வந்துயிர்க் குலத்தினை யழிக்கும்
காலன் நடுநடுங்க விழித்தோம்.

காக்கை, குருவி யெங்கள் ஜாதி-நீள்
கடலு மலையுமெங்கள் கூட்டம்
நோக்குந் திசையெலாம் நாமின்றி வேறில்லை;
நோக்க நோக்கக்களி யாட்டம்.