Wind by Subramania Bharati, translated by A. K. Ramanujan

Wind’ is a powerful poem describing the power of the wind. Subramania Bharati, one of the greatest Tamil poets has written it in Tamil, and A. K. Ramanujan, a renowned Indian poet in English, translated it. The poem is written in simple verse, and it expresses the poet’s desire to befriend the wind.

The poem describes the destructive power of the natural force. It also calls for men to be strong like the wind. This poem urges men to be strong and truly abled. Besides, the poem is Bharati’s call for his men to become durable and capable of destroying what is weak. He urges his men to be like the wind in their nature.

Wind by Subramania Bharati, translated by A. K. Ramanujan

 

Summary of Wind

The poem, ‘Wind’ presents the poet’s wish to become friends with the natural element, wind. The wind is powerful and destructive, so one is unable to make friends with it. First, the poet asks the wind to be soft, but the wind does not change its nature. It is strong and it destroys all that is weak in its path. Then, the poet asks it not to damage things but the wind damages all that is not strong. So, the poet declares that anyone weak will not be able to befriend the wind.

The poet describes how the wind destroys papers, books, shutters, houses – all those that are weak. He wonders at the power of the wind. He admires its strength, and so, he wants to be one with the spirit of that natural force. Bharati realizes that the wind will not obey the frail commands of human beings, and so he changes his mind. Instead of asking it to be soft, he asks his men to be strong.

Bharati decides to strengthen the body and mind. Firstly, he asks his men to become strong. Secondly, he asks them to build strong houses and strong doors. He highlights how the wind puts out weak fires but supports strong and large fires. The poet concludes that only a strong entity can befriend the strong wind. Therefore, to be a friend of the wind, one should be strong in mind and body.

You can read the full poem Wind here.

 

Theme of the Poem: Wind

Wind’ is a poem that wonders at the power of nature. Like Shelley’s ‘Ode to the West Wind’, this poem also describes the destructive nature of wind. Firstly, the poem describes the nature and strength of the wind. Secondly, the poem urges human beings to become strong and become one with nature. The poet opines that being one with nature is good and every human being should strive towards creating a fellowship with nature. At the same time, the poem remarks on the pathetic state of human beings and their living condition. They are weak and their body and mind are weak. Even their surroundings are weak. This poem is also a call for men to be strong and truly abled.

 

Analysis of Wind

Lines 1 – 5

The wind blows strongly and causes a lot of destruction. How can we make friends with it?

Wind, come softly.

Don’t break the shutters of the windows.

Don’t scatter the papers.

Don’t throw down the books on the shelf.

The first five lines of the poem highlight the poet’s question of how to make friends with the wind. Bharati says that the wind blows strongly and it is violent in tearing apart things. He considers the task of being close to it as a challenging one. The poet requests the wind to blow gently. First, he asks it not to split the shutters. Second, he asks it not to fling the papers. Third, he wants it not to push the books down from the shelves.

 

Lines 6 – 9

There, look what you did — you threw them all down.

You tore the pages of the books.

You brought rain again.

You’re very clever at poking fun at weaklings.

In these lines of the poem, the poet expresses his dismay over the wind’s action. It does not listen to his requests, and throws the books down and tears the pages from them. The poet wonders at the power of the wind to bring rain again and again. At the same time, he observes that the force of nature is very intelligent in playing with the weaklings of the earth. The poet says that the wind does not listen to weak people, and it mocks at their inability.

 

Lines 10 – 13

Frail crumbling houses, crumbling doors, crumbling rafters,

crumbling wood, crumbling bodies, crumbling lives,

crumbling hearts —

the wind god winnows and crushes them all.

In these lines of the poem, Bharati describes the frail nature of human existence. Human beings are weak, and their possessions are also weak. Firstly, what people have built for them is weak. Secondly, what people have in them is also weak. The poet remarks that the houses, doors, roofs, wood are all weak. Besides this, the poet expresses his disappointment over the weak nature of human beings. Their bodies are weak and their lives are also weak. He says that the hearts of human beings are not strong. So, the wind which is a strong force plays with all that is weak and crushes them.

 

Lines 14 – 19

He won’t do what you tell him.

So, come, let’s build strong homes,

Let’s joint the doors firmly.

Practise to firm the body.

Make the heart steadfast.

Do this, and the wind will be friends with us.

The poem in these lines presents the poet’s strategy to befriend the wind. He says that it will not listen to people who are not strong. So, he asks his men to become strong. He urges them to, firstly, build strong houses and doors; secondly, build strong bodies and minds. The poet is confident that the wind will be ready to develop fellowship when people display both inner strength and outer strength.

 

Lines 20 – 23

The wind blows out weak fires.

He makes strong fires roar and flourish.

His friendship is good.

We praise him every day.

The concluding lines of the poem explain the behavior of the force of nature and insist on the importance of being one with nature. The poet says that the wind does not tolerate weakness, and so it destroys what is weak. He further opines that the wind likes strong entities and therefore, it supports and strengthens them. Bharati remarks that friendship with it is good, and so his men should seek it. He urges them to praise the wind and its power every day.

 

About the Author, Subramania Bharati

Subramania Bharati is a national poet of India. He wrote in Tamil, one of the ancient languages of the world. He had made an invaluable contribution to the freedom struggle of his nation. His poems had inspired thousands and thousands of Tamilians to raise against colonialism. Bharati is noted for his contribution to woman empowerment. In spirit and in temperament, Bharati was like Shelley, and many of their poems appear to be parallel constructs.

 

About the Translator, A. K. Ramanujan

The translator, A. K. Ramanujan is also a famous poet who hails from Tamil Nadu, India. He had written poems in English. ‘A River, ‘Obituary, and ‘A Prayer to Lord Murugan’ are some of his well-known works. In translating this poem, Ramanujan has truly done justice. He has captured the essence and the spirit of the poet and his words.

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