Break But Do Not Bend

written by Avvaiyar

Break But Do Not Bend

— Avvaiyar

Would a pillar of granite,
When it is over-burdened
bend or buckle at any point
rather than splinter and fall?
Likewise the noble ones
When their honour is confronted
would lay down their very life
and not submit to the tyrannous.

About the poet


Avvaiyar

The Avvaiyars (Tamil: ஔவையார்) "respectable women" was the title of more than one poet who was active during different periods of Tamil literature. The Avvaiyar were some of the most famous and important female poets of the Tamil canon. Abithana Chintamani states that there were three female poets titled Avvaiyar. Among them, Avvaiyar I lived during the Sangam period (c. 1st and 2nd century CE) and had cordial relation with the Tamil chieftains Paari and Athiyaman. She wrote 59 poems in the Puṟanāṉūṟu. Avvaiyar II lived during the period of Kambar and Ottakoothar during the reign of the Chola dynasty in the 13th century. She is often imagined as an old and intelligent lady by Tamil people. She wrote many...

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