Bharathiyar Poem – Ammakannu Song

Ammakannu Song1

Lock is opened by hand – good
Mind is opened by intellect
Song is opened by melody – joyful
Home is opened by a woman(wife).

Plantain leaf2 is wiped clean by hand – mind’s
Home is wiped clean by truth
Hunting is done by arrow – love’s
Fortress is won by words.

Breath is fastened by mind – the 
Body is protected by this deed,
Rice is consumed by mouth – heart’s
Courage is consumed from mother.

1 In 1908 the occupying British government wanted to arrest Bharathiyar for editing a magazine that advocated for the freedom of his country from the British Colonials. So, he fled to Pondicherry with his family, which was a French colony at that time. During his stay in Pondicherry, there was a maid who worked at their house who sang songs while she did chores. Her name was Ammakannu. As a tribute to her service, during a difficult time in his life, he wrote this song and named it for her.  
Ammakkannu is also a term of endearment.

2 Plantain leaf has been, and, is still used as a single-use plate in many parts of India especially at large gatherings, such as weddings. A folded leaf is placed before a person, who opens it, sprinkles it with some water and wipes it clean with hand before the food is served. That is the reference made here, where as the hand cleans the leaf, truth cleans the mind.

அம்மாக்கண்ணு  பாட்டு

– சுப்ரமணிய பாரதியார்
பூட்டைத் திறப்பது கையாலே – நல்ல
மனந்தி றப்பது மதியாலே 
பாட்டை திறப்பது பண்ணாலே – இன்ப 
வீட்டைத் திறப்பது பெண்ணாலே.

ஏட்டைத் துடைப்பது கையாலே – மன 
வீட்டைத் துடைப்பது மெய்யாலே,
வேட்டை யடிப்பது வில்லாலே –  அன்புக் 
கோட்டை பிடிப்பது சொல்லாலே.

காற்றை யடைப்பது மனதாலே – இந்தக் 
காயத்தைக் காப்பது செய்கையாலே,
சோற்றைப் புசிப்பது வாயாலே – உயிர் 
துணிவு றுவது தாயாலே.

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