Kelada Manidava Emmil Melor Kizhor Illai

Subramania Bharati


Written by Subramania Bharati, a stalwart of the Independence movement in South India, this song is an impassioned plea to end caste discrimination and the subjugation of women.

In the first stanza, Bharati invokes the imagery of a cat giving birth to kittens of different colours and says one is in no way better than the other. In the second stanza, he admonishes foolish men for subjugating women and wonders why they are bent on injuring one eye, knowing full well that it will affect their vision.

This is the song I choose to go with for 2018 as we leave behind a year in which we have seen quite enough of people targeting those weaker than them, all in the name of protecting the cow, and some depressing judicial orders curtailing the rights of women.

What makes this tune all the more apt is that it was composed by Ilaiyaraaja, a Dalit.