Women are Cuckoos: Kalidasa and Tamil Poets agree! (Post No.3881)

Written by London Swaminathan


Date: 5 May 2017


Time uploaded in London: 14-12


Post No. 3881


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.


contact; swami_48@yahoo.com


Women are Cuckoos (Koels) say Kalidasa and other poets. Is it a compliment or a complaint? Both, I would say.

When the poets want to praise them, they say that women’s voice is like the Koel (Cuckoo). When they wanted to attack their cunningness, they say women are as cunning as a cuckoo!


There is a popular couplet in Sanskrit:

“The crow is black and the cuckoo is black. What is the difference between the two? It is when spring arrives that the crow is identified and the cuckoo is identified as cuckoo” (by their harsh and sweet voice)


kakah krsnah pikah krshnah ko bedhah pikakakayoho

vasanta kale samprapta Kakah kakah pikah pikah


Kalidasa in his most famous work, Shakuntalam says, “king Speaks,

Intuitive cunning is seen even in females

of lower creatures; what then of those

endowed with reason and understanding;

the cuckoo, as we know, has her young reared

by other birds before they take to the air”

(Shakuntalam Act 5- 22)


The voice of cuckoo is sweet but cuckoo is cunning by nature. In the Raghuvamsa (12-39), Surpanakha speaks in sweet voice as that of a cuckoo. But she is planning cunningly to capture Rama and Lakshmana by her magical wile.


in the Shakuntalam drama women are portrayed as tricky as cuckoo. Intuitive cunningness exists even in females other than humans (species of animals and birds). What then in regard to those that possess power of understanding? The female cuckoos indeed, cause their offspring to be reared by other birds, before flying in the sky (AS 5-22 and Malavikagni Mitram 3-41)


In hundreds of places, the poets described the voice of women is as sweet as a cuckoo.


In one of the verses in Niti Venba, a collection of didactic poems by an anonymous author, the poet says “a person’s nature can’t be known by his appearance but known only by his speech like we know a crow from a cuckoo from its difference in voice.”






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