Mahakavi Bharathiyar “We Know No Duty”

By N. V Subbaraman from Chennai

Here is a  beautiful poem by Mahakavi Subhramaniya Bharathiyar, one of the greatest national, patriotic poets from Tamilnadu , who lived in the early part of twentieth century. This poem deals with the knowledge of our duty to perform. As usual his poem original in Tamil, its English transliteration and translation with comment are given hereunder.


Original in Tamil

கடமை அறியோம்!

கடமை புரிவா ரின்புருவார்

     என்னும் பண்டைக் கதை பேணோம்

கடமை யறியோம் தொழிலறியோம்;

     கட்டென் பதனை வெட்டென்போம்;

மடமை சிறுமை, துன்பம், பொய்

     வருத்தம் நோவு மற்றிவை போல்

கடமை நினைவுத் தொலைத் திங்கு

     களியுற் றென்றும் வாழ்குவமே.


Kadamai purivaa rinpuruvaar

          Ennum paNdaik kadhai paeNoam;

Kadamai yariyoam thozilaRiyoam

          Katten pathanai vettenboam;

Madamai sirumai, thunbam, poy

          Varuththam noavu matrivai poal

Kadamai ninaivun tholaith thingu

          KaLiyuR Renrum vaazguvamae.


Those who do their duty will be happy

          We accept not this old story;

We know not our duty, nor our work;

          When you say ‘bind’ we shall say ‘cut’

Ignorance, meanness, sorrows, lies

Worry, sickness and others like

We get rid of thought of duty

          And prosper well in the delight of beauty!



Bharathiyar looks with the contempt they deserve those who do not execute their duties regularly with devotion and loyalty but spend the days in just merry making and wasting time!






Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *