Ramapurathu Warrier (1703-1753)


In the court of Maharaja Martanda Varma, the maker of the former State of Travancore and his successor Kartika Tirunal Rama Varma, there flourished a number of poets distinguished in several ways. Ramapurathu Warrier, the author of Kuchela Vrittam Vanchippattu, was one of them. The Vanchipattu or Boatsong is a poetic form of folk origin. Kuchela Vrittam is the most famous boatsong in the language.

Composed entirely in the Dravidian metre natonnata, it is a popular classic that retells the story of Kuchela, the indigent devotee and one-time classmate of Sri Krishna, going to Dwaraka to pay homage to him. The poverty of the old Brahmin and his family is described with extreme authenticity. The realistic touch shown by the poet in presenting this Puranic story with a personal edge to it has gained for the work, immense popularity. In the poem, the poet specifically referes to King Martanda Varma and describes the circumstances under which he came to write the poem. Warrier makes Kuchela's wife declare: "there is no greater affliction than that of poverty". The meeting of Kuchela with Krishna is described in memorable language:


Because of either the joy of seeing the Brahmin
Or the grief at the thought of his misery
Shouri's eyes filled with tears, whatever be the cause:
Has the brave lotus-eyed one ever wept at all?

Warrier has also translated Gitagovinda into Malayalam.