An ode to Kannagi
The night draped her with
the best of the black
in six yards of saree,
coiling through tiny thickets to
form a hanging forest from her hair
as mascara clouds continued to circle
as pirouetting problems
with all the darkness of gloom.
She became the afternoon sun,
carrying the fiery fire in her eyes and faith,
hurriedly rushing to the court
of Pandya king,
rupturing, ripping off her other anklet
that unfurled like petals of
a scarlet hibiscus,
to prove hers was embedded with ruby
in contrast to that of the queen’s,
enamored with the white of the pearls
to seek justice for her husband,
falsely framed for theft
and sentenced to death.
Her evidence as strong as
a powerful poem that bleeds,
gnawed the fame of the king and the queen,
capitulating their eyes to eternal sleep
from the guilt of wrong judgment.
Solely with her spark
she invaded the night’s spell dark
and succumbed to her the night
to sing hymns for her with the world.
Copyrights @Brindha Vinodh
Kannagi is often depicted as a strong
character from the Tamil epic, ‘Silapathikaram’-written by Illango adigal
dating back to the era of Sangam literature.
She is often revered for her cultural chastity
despite her husband’s unfaithfulness to
leave her for another woman only to come back to her with apologies. To rebuild their
marriage, she gives her anklet made of rubies
to him to sell and make money but he is falsely framed for theft of stealing the queen’s anklet by the merchant.
To seek justice for sentencing him to death,
she breaks her other anklet whilst the queen’s
is made of pearls. The king and the queen die
from the shame of guilt.
Below is a picture of her statue from
Marina Beach, Chennai.