Gems of Telugu poetry – ‘ChaaTuvu’ (7/2)

Gems of Telugu poetry – ‘ChaaTuvu’ (7/2)

asadRSamuga nariviirula
masi puchchaka virigi vachchu magapaMda kriyan
gasavun meayaga boeyina
pasulun viriginavi tikka! paalun virigen.

అసదృశముగ నరివీరుల
మసి పుచ్చక విరిగి వచ్చు మగపంద క్రియన్
గసవున్ మేయగ బోయిన
పసులున్ విరిగినవి తిక్క! పాలున్ విరిగెన్.  (In Telugu font)

like a coward who ran back home rattled unable to make
the enemy bite the dust in the battle field with valor
the cattle that went to fields to graze came back home
crippled, Tikaana! and thus its milk too turned broken.

This is the remaining part in Rana Tikkana‘s story.

After having bath, going through the humiliation he was made to suffer by his wife Chanamma, he goes to have his meal. There his mother, Polamma, serves him with curds made of broken milk. Perplexed, he asks his mother the reason for serving him the spoiled curds, for which Polamma replies with the above ‘ChaaTu’ poem, making it clear to him her hate and resentment at his unmanly coward act of running back home from the battle field with defeat wrought all over his being. This enrages Rana Tikkana. He becomes fully incited and motivated, goes to battle field with all the anger generated by the humiliation suffered at home, fights with valour and loses his life in the battle field.

Generations of people in the Telugu house-hold remembered this story as an example for the exhibition of valour by these two women, Chanamma and Polamma,  a wife and a mother of this valorous warrior named Rana Tikkana and went on telling this story to their sons and grandsons with pride. In the imagination and popularly remembered stories of valorous heroes in the history of man-kind, valor remained the virtue of battle field, often beyond the state of protecting one’s life and remaining alive. The state of being alive loses its virtuousness and becomes utterly unimportant for a warrior when achieved with cowardice. This was not in any way different to Chanamma and Polamma, through being wife and mother respectively to Rana Tikkana, even when they could imagine that there was every possibility of Rana Tikkana losing his life in the battle field and as the story goes they even encouraged and incited him to go to the battle field and fight it out till the end. Though dead, Rana Tikkana remained in the memory of generations of Telugu people borned after him because of his exhibiting this valor in the battle field. It is also said that though he lost his life in the battle field, in the end, the war was in fact won in favour of his benefactor King Manumasidhdhi.


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