naRRiNai 310 translated by G. Hart

Venkatraman Iyer venkatraman_iyer at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Apr 8 22:16:45 UTC 2001

It's rather common for paaNan (male) and viRali (female)
bards to act as go-betweens for the hero and make
connections with prostititutes. Hence, sangam poets
employ the paaNan or viRali musician motifs when they
sing of infidelity.

1. In Na_r_ri.nai 30, the hero returns to his first wife
after a long stay with harlots. Like the bee hops from
flower to flower.

   What Her friend told to the returning Husband

   I've seen, Cheiftain, with my own eyes,
   the scene in the street where the PaaNan walks
   with the music of his lute like the hum of bees!

2. Na_r_ri.nai 100 where the prostitute compares the
leather of the drum shaking during festive beatings with
that of the hero's tremors when his wife was told of his
disloyalty. Compare the leather cover of the drum in
Na_r. 310.

3. Na_r_r_i.nai 340. The hero is compared with the
vaa.lai fish frolicking in the paddy fields and which
gets beaten by the farmers. But it jumps on the bunds
and enjoys spending time in the vANan's village.
The symbolism is that he, guided by the pANan bard,
spends all his time and money with one prostitute,
even when solicited by other women.

4. Na_r_ri.nai 360. Female bards act as go-betweens,
their spirited dance with the leather drum playings
is used in a unique way.

   Just like the female minstrel who danced
   All night in the festival grounds
   Till the paste on the eye of the drum
   (Coats on the leather skin of the drum)
   Which is cast off, neglected
   When the festival draws to a close,
       You enjoyed the fresh appeal
       Of prostitutes last night,
       Discarding them for newer pastures now.

5. Na_r_ri.nai 380. The PaaNan bard pleads admission
to the Hero, but the First Lady rebukes the musician.
Both the messenger PaaNan and the Chief denied admission.

   We may not be liked by the Chief
   who likes to spend time with the harlots;
   Do not stand, bard, in  a reverent posture
   Strumming your lute with gold-hued strings,
   An instrument in which you are the expert!
   Take your friend, the chief of the plains
   With you, O bard, wherever he wants to go!
   Stop your singing at our door!
   For you cannot hope to achieve your ends
   By such tactics; the horses bedecked
   Are impatient with their long stay.
   Please remember in a matter so serious
   and our heart doesn't lie, your empty words
   Are not likely to make any difference.

V. Iyer

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