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Aadu Pambe

June 23rd, 2010 by anuradha


We'll set fire to the divisions of caste,

we'll debate philosophical questions in the market place,

we'll have dealings with despised households.

We'll go around in different paths –

Aadu pambe! aadu!


This verse is from a six hundred-line long Siddha poem, by Pambatti Cittar. 

The Tamil Siddha poems are a “grand remonstrance against almost everything that was held sacred” in their time. The Siddhas were “implacable opponents of the caste system and the gradations of orthodoxy and respectability it gave rise to.” The period of Siddha poetry stretches from 6th century onwards, with the major contribution peaking between 14 and 18th century. Pambatti Cittar's poetry has a characteristic refrain aadu pambe! aadu! (dance, snake! dance!) the snake as a metaphor for the soul seeking liberation.


Source: K, Kailaspathy in The Writings of the Tamil Siddhars. An essay in the book, The Saints, and from Dance, snake! dance!, a translation with comments of the song of Pampatti-Cittar by David C. Buck.


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