Poomathai Ponnamma

(Translation on request by RA)
Udalaazham portrays the life of Gulikan, a transgender from a tribal community who faces discrimination as they are reluctant to accept transgenders. This song is about a legendary character Poomathai Ponnamma who is from a socially backward community and believed to have suffered greatly under the feudal lord when she refused his advances. From what the song depicts, she is hailed as a Goddess in some communities. I read in a few places that the refrain in this song is from an original naadan paattu (folk song) about Poomathai Ponnamma. I was unable to verify this or find the original. Pushpavathy and Jyotsna has rendered this song with so much beauty and soul.

To listen to the song, click play:

Poomathai Ponnamma paattettalu, Poomathai Ponnamma paattettalu,
Karayunna kunjanmaninju urangum, Karayunna kunjanmaninju urangum
[When you hear Poomathai ponnamma sing, when you hear Poomathai ponnamma sing,
Even the crying child will sleep soon, even the crying child will sleep soon, ]
Poomathai Ponnamma paattettalu, Poomathai Ponnamma paattettalu
[When you hear Poomathai ponnamma sing, when you hear Poomathai ponnamma sing]

Koadamazhakkaaril kannu onnu ezhuthi pennu
Nalla panankula mudi maadi ketti pennu
[With the dark rain clouds, lined her eyes this girl
Tied her beautiful thick palm stalks like hair]
Maadathin chaethilu chennu angu irikkanu appam,
maanathe ambili naanichu olichu nikkum
[When she sits on her hut’s mud veranda,
even the moon in the sky hides itself in shame]
Nee…paadu Poomathai, paadu Poomathai, paadu Poomathi
[You…sing Poomathai, sing Poomathai, sing Poomathai]

Poomathai Ponnamma paattettalu, Poomathai Ponnamma paattettalu,
Karayunna kunjanmaninju urangum, Karayunna kunjanmaninju urangum
[When you hear Poomathai ponnamma sing, when you hear Poomathai ponnamma sing,
Even the crying child will sleep soon, even the crying child will sleep soon, ]
Poomathai Ponnamma paattettalu, Poomathai Ponnamma paattettalu
[When you hear Poomathai ponnamma sing, when you hear Poomathai ponnamma sing]

Punjakku koytharivaalu angu cherthu vechu
chankin thorampaattu paadi karutha pennu
[While cutting the punja rice stalks with her sickle,
that dark skinned girl rendered a song from her heart]
Kalkkanda paattinnu thaalam pidicha thambraa
pinne aa poomenikkayi kothichu thulli
[The landlord who enjoyed the beat of her song,
started eagerly longing for her body]
Thanjathil monthikka kaitha varambil undu
kalla chiri pooshi thambraan nikkanu annu
[Slyly near the pineapple hedges
he waited (for her) with a smirk]
Poothi adangaanju aa kaipaanjathu ole nere
Eetta puli aayi maari kuthari pennu
[His hands went to touch her with eagerness
She became a tigress and shook his hands off her]
Nee…vaazhu poomathai…vaazhu poomathai…vaazhu poomathai
[You…reign Poomathai…reign Poomathai…reign Poomathai]

Poomathai Ponnamma paattettalu, Poomathai Ponnamma paattettalu,
Karayunna kunjanmaninju urangum, Karayunna kunjanmaninju urangum
[When you hear Poomathai ponnamma sing, when you hear Poomathai ponnamma sing,
Even the crying child will sleep soon, even the crying child will sleep soon, ]
Pothile paampum thala madakkum, pothile paampum thala madakkum
[Even the snake in the burrow will lower its head, even the snake in the burrow will lower its head]

Ullil kali thulli poyoru naaduvaazhi
kalla kadha onnu ketti chamachu pinne
[The extremely angry landlord went
and made up a bad rumor (about her)]
Maanam pezhachol ee Poomathai ennu kandu
mukhavum mulayum ericheedaan theerppu vannu
[Thinking Poomathai as characterless (from the rumor),
a decision was taken to burn her face and breasts*]
Maada parambile chathura kinattilu
theepantham aayi thelinju ananju avalu
[In the square well in her hut’s yard
like a flame torch, she burned and extinguished]
Daivakaru aayi thaane udichu pongi
kumbittu kenore kannummalu kaakkanunde
[She raised herself from the fire as a goddess
She takes care of everyone who bowed and asked for her help]
Nee…aalu Poomathi…kaakku Poomathai…kaakku Poomathai
[You…burn Poomathai…protect us Poomathai…protect us Poomathai]

Poomathai Ponnamma paattettalu, Poomathai Ponnamma paattettalu,
Karayunna kunjanmaninju urangum, Karayunna kunjanmaninju urangum
[When you hear Poomathai ponnamma sing, when you hear Poomathai ponnamma sing,
Even the crying child will sleep soon, even the crying child will sleep soon, ]
Pothile paampum thala madakkum, pothile paampum thala madakkum
[Even the snake in the burrow will lower its head, even the snake in the burrow will lower its head]

Poomathai Ponnamma paattettalu, Poomathai Ponnamma paattettalu,
Maaranilaa mankaykku maaranindaavum, maaranilaa mankaykku maaranindaavum,
[When you hear Poomathai ponnamma sing, when you hear Poomathai ponnamma sing,
The girl without a husband will gain one, the girl without a husband will gain one]
Onakka maram potti paal eytholum, onakka maram potti paal eytholum
[Even the dried up twig will produce sap, even the dried up twig will produce sap]

Poomathai Ponnamma paattettalu, Poomathai Ponnamma paattettalu,
[When you hear Poomathai ponnamma sing, when you hear Poomathai ponnamma sing]
Poomathai Ponnamma thante daive, Poomathai Ponnamma thante daive,
Poomathai Ponnamma thante daive, Poomathai Ponnamma thante daive
[Poomathai Ponnamma is my Goddess, Poomathai Ponnamma is my Goddess]

* This is a barbaric practice which existed in feudalistic Kerala, where a woman who is found to be of bad moral character can be judged by the elders in her community to be burned as a punishment.
+ If you are interested in finding out more on legendary women in Kerala, here is an excellent research paper I found online here.

++ Image copyright to the original uploader.

One thought on “Poomathai Ponnamma

  1. One of the songs that gives you a sense of unexplained power and forces you to think of traditions and rites. It is fabulous …thank you teacher Thumbi for the amazing flowering work

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