lower and higher castes | ಕೀಳು ಮೇಲಿನ ಮತಗಳು

A very old one but I love this Kannada folk song – was delighted to come across its lyrics recently. It says “kuladalli keeL yaavudho hucchappa, mathadalli mel yaavudho?” – “in caste which is inferior, mad man, in creed which is superior?”.

Chitra : Sathya Harischandra
Singer : Ghantasala
Music Director : Pendyal Nageshwara Rao
Lyrics : Hunsur Krishnamurthy

Sathya Harischandra is the movie of a king (acted by Raj Kumar) of ancient times, who was known for his honesty and unshakable principles. Destiny puts him to the ultimate test, where his unflinching choice of maintaining his integrity takes him to the depths of poverty. Eventually he is reduced from a king to becoming a keeper of a graveyard burning the corpses that arrive there – this is the context of this song.

[In fact now that I blog this, maybe I should watch the movie again sometime… I barely remember it!]

[Since only a few OSes like Linux and XP support the unicode font properly, I decided to follow Dr. Kamat’s Kannada Blog and include an image.]

kuladalli keelyaavudo
[Source of lyrics – and there are a lot of other lyrics here as well: Kannada Audio]

You can listen to the song here, search for the string “kula”, then select and play it: Sathya Harischandra on MusicIndiaOnline

Here’s the translation… (any improvements/corrections invited)

what’s low in caste, mad man, whats high in creed,
born and die, among men, whats low and whats high

by wearing a tilaka, one dosen’t get heaven, by wearing vibhuthi one dosen’t get paradise,
the sandalwood ash, is no good for the funeral pyre

for shaivites shiva is great, for vaishnavites, hari is great,
the highest, the middle and the lower class, after they’re dead they’re all reduced to ashes,

for every rhyme and reason they come up with a rule – the well read and the teachers,
in the crematorium, everything is reduced to ashes

————

See also:

Exhibition of corpses

interesting television scene

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