Bharathiyar’s “Victory Drum”

By N. V Subbaraman from Chennai

The great national poet Mahakavi Subrahmanya Bharathiyar had unbounded patriotism, love for the languages-he was a master of eighteen languages it is said and believed- love for the people and their tradition and culture, infectious ‘optimism’ and fearlessness.

In this issue, we see his beautiful poem on “VICTORY DRUM”

Original in Tamil

 ஜய பேரிகை

ஜயபேரிகை கொட்டடா!-கொட்டடா

ஜய பேரிகை கொட்டடா!

1 பயமெனும் பேய்தனை யடித்தோம் – பொய்ம்மைப்

            பாம்பைப் பிளந்துயிரைக் குடித்தோம்;

வியனுல கனைத்தையும் அமுதென நுகரும்

            வேத வாழ்வினைக் கடைப் பிடித்தோம்      (ஜய பேரிகை)

      இரவியி நொளியிடைக் குளித்தோம் – ஒளி

    இன்னமு தினைக்கண்டு களித்தோம்;

கரவினில் வந்துயிர்க் குலத்தினை யழிக்கும்

    காலன் நடுநடுங்க விழித்தோம்         (ஜயபேரிகை)

காக்கை குருவி எங்கள் ஜாதி – நீள்

    கடலும் மலையும் எங்கள் கூட்டம்;

நோக்குந் திசையெலாம் நாமன்றி வேறில்லை

    நோக்க நோக்கக் களியாட்டம்,.      (ஜய பேரிகை)



Jaya baerigai kottadaa! – kottadaa!

Jaya baerigai kottadaa!

Bayamenum paeythanai yadiththoam – poymmaip

              Paambaip piLandhuyiraik kudiththoam;

   Viyanula ganaiththiyum amudhena nugarum

             Vaedha vaazhvinaik kaippidiththoam   (jaya baerigai)

Iraviyi noLiyidaik kuLiththoam – oLi

               Innamu dhinaikkaNdu kaLiththoam

    Karavinil vandhuyirk kulaththinai yazhikkum

                   Kaalan nadunadunga vizhiththoam   (Jaya baerigai)

Kaakkaik kuruvi engaL jaadhi – neeL

                   Kadalum malaiyum enggaL koottam;

          Noakkum thisaiyelaam naamanri vaerillai;

                   Noakka noakkak kaLiyaattam   (Jaya baerigai)




Sound the victory drum! –Sound!

Sound the victory drum!


The demon of fear we have shown its way

The snake of deceit torn to pieces

The vedic way of living –nectar of the world

We have embraced and adopted  (sound)


Delved and dived in the depth of the Sun

 Enjoyed the elixir of His Light

The Lord of death who sneaks and takes us

We simply stare and sink before him  (sound)


The crows and sparrows our kith and kin

Seas and mountains our hearth and home

We are abound everywhere around

In a pool of ecstasy we sing and dance! (Sound)


As is Bharathiyar’s wont, we see in this short poem of just fourteen lines, his boundless optimism and great fearlessness, absolute universalism and divine love for nature.


  1. O K R Sivagnanam

    One more song on fearlessness from Mahakavi Bharathiyar, and a nice translation from Shri. NVS!
    A clarion call to align with NATURE!
    A land that took VEDAS as the guiding star in the life and living of its people!
    Birds and animals though species different, are like our brothers and sisters to be embraced with lavish love and affection!
    Fear not death, but, may death fear to approach us with its characteristic death knell!
    An inspiration well thought out and delivered for the humanity!

  2. Very nice verse, thanks for the translation and transliteration

  3. N V Subbaraman

    Thanks OKRS and Madam Hema for your response.

  4. Nice translation. Specially the last stanza.

  5. Nice Translation. I like the last stanza.

  6. Thanks aplenty sir.

  7. Thupakula ramamurthi

    A very nice message from Bharatiyar. His love and /mastery for 18 languages appreciable. Giving properplace for crow also shows his broader mind. Thanks for presenting a such nice poem in English by nvs sir.

  8. Elizabeth Kurian "Mona"

    Interesting themes of yore also equally pertinent in this age. Thanks for translation.